Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 27-March 5


Rene Marie sings at the Dakota, March 3
© Andrea Canter
 Homegrown and imports, new artists and veterans dot the jazz scene this week. As we again try to pull ourselves out of the deep freeze, the music at least remains hot and vibrant.

Big Gigs This Week
Javi Santiago
Friday, February 27. New York-based pianist Javier Santiago has spent the last two months on extended vacation in his home town, Minneapolis, giving us a number of opportunities to hear his ever-evolving jazz magic and new compositions. Tonight he's featured on the Jazz Central "Bridge" series with Zacc Harris (guitar), Chris Bates (bass) and long-time cohort Miguel Hurtado (drums). Javi and Miguel were already collaborating as young teens with The Eggz. Maybe we'll hear some of the new music Javi just released on his EP, Year of the Horse. Catch him now before he heads back to New York. And stay for the late night college band feature, with students from the UW-Eau Claire with Jerod Krazynski.

Mary Louise Knutson
Mary Louise Knutson does double duty tonight. She'll start off with everyone's favorite nonagenarian saxophonist Irv Williams for a couple happy hour sets at the Dakota, then head north to Fridley to accompany "Minnesota's Perpetually Outstanding Performer" Debbie Duncan at Crooners' Lounge. Great music, great food-- a great evening.

On the other end of the metro, Connie Evingson serenades at Parma 8200 with support from ever-swinging Rick Carlson. Add a canolli and it's a perfect evening.

Pat Mallinger
Saturday, February 28. The University of Minnesota hosts its annual jazz festival on the West Bank Campus, with high school ensembles performing and participating in critiques and clinics throughout the day. Evening brings performances from the U of M jazz ensembles with special guest, St Paul native saxophonist Pat Mallinger, free, in the Ted Mann Concert Hall. Pat, based in Chicago where he leads his quartet and Sabertooth, has been a nearly annual performer in the Twin Cities --at the Artists Quarter. We haven't heard Pat since the AQ closed -- let's find him a new "home"!

Zacc Harris
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog presents the Zacc Harris Group. One of many ensembles led by the tireless guitarist, the ZHG includes Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates and JT Bates-- the threesome who impressed last weekend at the Winter Jazz Festival at Studio Z. Opening will be Central Standard Time, a cross-generational band with Steve Kenny, David Roos, Sten Johnson, Charlie Lincoln and Alex Burgess. Best to arrive early, enjoy the first band and hopefully have a table for the rest of the night!

Around the corner at the Bedlam, jazzy/bluesy/soulful singer Pippi Ardennia creates her own sort of "bedlam."  This seems like a perfect match of performer and venue!

Arne Fogel
In Bloomington (Schneider Theater), prolific producer and performer Arne Fogel presents the songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David with vocalist Jennifer Eckes. Arne has a long and distinguished track record of putting together pairs of composers/musicians with pairs of vocalists  - so we can anticipate nothing but pleasures from the pairs of Bacharach and David with Fogel and Eckes. Relive the 60s (or get acquainted) with tunes that helped stoke the careers of Dionne Warwick, Gene Pitney, Herb Albert, The Carpenters and more.

Monday, March 2. Minnesota native saxophonist Bob Parsons was a long-time New Yorker, arranging for the Brecker Brothers, Herbie Hancock and others, and recording with Dave Stryker. He's been back in town since '08, performing with the Acme Jazz Company. Tonight he's the featured artist at Jazz Central, a chance to play original compositions and arrangements.

MYJB
Want to get a whiff of the future of jazz? The Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands, directed by David Mitchell, present their winter concert at Famous Dave's (Uptown). This is always a great way to spend the evening and be dazzled by big bands of talented teens.

Rene Marie
Tuesday, March 3. One of the most engaging singers in jazz today, Rene Marie returns to the Dakota for just one night. With her latest album (I Want to Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt) garnering a 2015 Grammy nomination, Marie now sports ten albums and a history of high-spirited, even controversial projects and original songs. And a voice that is always compelling.

It's first Tuesday at the Black Dog -- and co-hosts Dean Magraw and Davu Seru will create their special blend of improvisational mayhem.

Pedrito Martinez Group
Wednesday, March 4. Back by popular demand! A hit of last summer's Dakota line-up, the Pedrito Martinez Group returns with what Ben Ratliffe (New York Times) calls “complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk." The Afro-Cuban ensemble will encourage swaying and foot-tapping with their rhythmic beats and vocals. Havana native Pedrito earned his stripes early, touring with Jane Bunnett's Spirits of Havana and winning the 1999 Thelonious Monk International Percussion Competition. He's since performed or recorded with a Who's Who of Latin Jazz, including Paquito D'Rivera, Eliane Elias, Steve Turre, Gonzalo Rubacalba and more.

Thomas Nordlund and Andrew Foreman
A double header on New Music night at Jazz Central that highlights "what's new" among the younger generation of improvisers. The night leads off with Chomsky, a quartet led by bassist Andrew Foreman, with trumpeter Jake Baldwin, guitarist Thomas Nordlund, and drummer Zach Schmidt. These guys recently starred at the Aster Cafe, playing original compositions that were heady yet accessible. The second set belongs to Nordlund, a warm-up to his upcoming CD release, with Thomas on baritone guitar, a second guitar courtesy of Ben Abrahamson, Kevin Gastonguay on keyboards and Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Katia Cardenas
Thursday, March 5. Vocals, straight-up swing or way out there, everything happens tonight. Young Katia Cardenas whips up some tasty standards at Jazz Central Studios, while Travis Anderson's swinging piano trio (with Steve Pikal and Nathan Norman) treats patrons at the Dakota to a Foodie Night (no cover). In St Paul, the Thursday Night series welcomes Merciless Ghost, the inventive trio of George Cartwright, Josh Granowski and Davu Seru.

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

Friday, February 27. Todd Harper (happy hour) followed by the Chris Hagedorn Trio at the Black Dog; Patrick Harison and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); John Paulson with Swing, Inc. at Signatures (Winona)

Mike Stern
Saturday, February 28. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Pavel Jany's Talking Strings at the Loring Pasta Bar; Gary LaRue Quartet at Crooners' Lounge; Aaron Kerr's Dissonant Creatures at the Underground Music Cafe'; Minnesota State University Mankato Jazz Mavericks with special guests Mike Stern and Kenni Holmen at Halling Recital Hall (Mankato)

Sunday, March 1. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Daddy Squeeze Newton at the 331 Club (3 pm); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, March 2. Charmin Michelle and special guest Reuben Ristrom at Fireside Pizza; JT's Jazz Implosion with JT and Paul Metzger Duo at the Icehouse; BZ3 Organ Trio at The Narrows Saloon

Tuesday, March 3. Bill Simenson's Orchestra at Jazz Central; Three Loud at Cafe Maude; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, March 4. Charmin Michelle and special guest Reuben Ristrom at Fireside Pizza; Patrick Harison at Cafe Maude; Wolverines Jazz Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Maud Hixson and the Adi Yeshaya Trio at Crooners' Lounge

Thursday, March 5. Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Big Band Swing Night with the Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves

Coming Soon!
. March 6, Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw at The Nicollet
. March 6, "Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey" with Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. March 7, DD7 at the Black Dog (Opening - Charles Lincoln Group)
. March 9, David Sanchez Quartet at the Dakota
. March 10-11, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
. March 12, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. March 13, Foreign Motion at The Nicollet
. March 13, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. March 23-24, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota
. March 27, How Birds Work at The Nicollet
. March 28, Dakota Combo at the Black Dog
. March 29, Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer at the Dakota
. March 31, Eliane Elias Trio at the Dakota
. April 1, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. April 12, Anat Cohen Quartet at the Dakota
. April 16, Anthony Cox and Jeremy Walker, "Rage of Achilles" at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. April 16, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
. April 17, Ann Hampton Callaway at Orchestra Hall
. April 24, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. April 25, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob Mintzer at Hopkins l High School Auditorium
. April 25-26, Irv Williams, Legends concert at The Capri
. April 26, KBEM's Jazz Noir at the Dakota
. April 27, Omar Sosa at the Dakota
. April 29-30, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota
. May 2, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at the Walker
. May 9, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" -- afternoon workshop and evening concert at The Bedlam
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo

Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw launch Friday Night Jazz at the Nicollet on March 6

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 20-26


The Adam Meckler Orchestra leads off the Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z, February 21
© Andrea Canter
The Polar Vortex has returned! But so has the Twin Cities Jazz Vortex! This weekend marks the second annual Winter Jazz Festival sponsored by Shifting Paradigm Records and Jazz at Studio Z, along with performances from the Chris Lomheim Trio, Maryann Sullivan's Corner Jazz, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Lulu's Playground, a CD release from East Side, and more.... and then comes another week of music featuring Mr. Smooth Irv Williams, Chris Bates' (again) Red Five, Bela Fleck... That should be more than enough to melt whatever ice and snow comes our way.

Big Gigs This Week
Chris Lomheim
Friday, February 20. After a long break from recording and composing, pianist Chris Lomheim returned to the studio last spring with trio cohorts Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein to lay down tracks for Timelines, an all-originals effort that yielded a sold-out release at Studio Z and several sparkling gigs at other venues. With backing from Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy, Chris performs tonight on the Bridge Series at Jazz Central. And this is no thrown-together trio; this threesome has performed and recorded under Kennedy's leadership and will be releasing a recording (this trio's second) later this year.

Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz
At the Black Dog, Maryann Sullivan returns with her Corner Jazz (Doug Haining, Joe Strachan, Jim Chenoweth, Trevor Haining). There's no room for swing dancing but foot-tapping and swaying can not be suppressed! Corner Jazz adds a new sound tonight as young keyboard sensation Joe Strachan takes the place of the usual guitar.

East Side
At Parma 8200, Friday nights are typically reserved for vocalists, but tonight it's the Joel Shapira Trio, with Joel's guitar serving as the evening's lead voice. Guitar also is prominently featured at Hell's Kitchen, where the quartet East Side (Reynold Philipsek, Clint Hoover, Matt Senjem, Michael Bissonnette) celebrates their CD release, Astoria. It's a special treat since harmonicist Hoover moved to Pittsburgh a few years ago and his Twin Cities gigs are few and too far between. The recording features four compositions from prolific guitarist Philipsek and a pair from Hoover.

Doug Little
Doug Little's Seven Steps to Havana is one of the longest-running (or the longest running?) Cuban jazz ensembles in town. Tonight they will captivate the audience at the Dakota with their hot-from-Havana rhythms. Dancing is allowed.

Friday-Sunday, February 20-22. KBEM presents "Captured Currents", a multi-media production featuring the collaboration of stride pianist Butch Thompson, choreographer Sarah Larose-Holland, and photographer Craig Blacklock at the Lab Theater. The theme of water brings together music, photography and dance inspired by Blacklock's landscape photos.

Zacc Harris
Saturday, February 21st.  There's some good music throughout the metro today, but if you want the most bang for the buck and a true festival of jazz without running between venues in zero-degree weather, just plan on spending your afternoon and evening at Studio Z. Shifting Paradigm Records and Zacc Harris' Jazz at Studio Z have put together an amazing line-up for the second annual Winter Jazz Fest. Starting at 3 pm, you can hear (in order) the many stars of the Adam Meckler Orchestra; a reconstituted quartet of young lions, now called Endeavors; a trio of three of the region's most accomplished improvisers--Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates and JT Bates, dubbed simply Nichols/Bates/Bates; the ever-creative Atlantis Quartet (Brandon Wozniak, Zacc Harris, Chris Bates, Pete Hennig); the original harmonies and compositions of the Graydon Peterson Quartet; and a relatively new ensemble that is making its own waves, Mancrush, led by drummer Lars-Erik Larson with Harris, Wozniak and Nichols. Tickets a mere $15 for the full fest.


Dave Hagedorn (Good Vibes)
Part of its weekly Saturday Night Jazz series and just a bit over a block from Studio Z, the Black Dog hosts the "after fest" with Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio taking the stage (officially at 8:30, more likely around 9). With Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums, Good Vibes is one of the most exciting small ensembles around. The evening's opening set is performed by the new band Central Standard Time, with Steve Kenny, David Roos, Charlie Lincoln and Alden Ikeda.


Robert Everest

Another festival gets underway at International Market Square, with afternoon and evening events -- the 13th Annual Carnaval Brasileiro. Bigger than ever, this year's event covers three performance stages, hosted by acclaimed guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his 10-piece Beira Mar Brasil. Brazilian vocalist Dandara joins Everest, with more music from Brazilian percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheart, and more entertainers.

Out in the western burbs, its another Jazz at St Barney's night, this time featuring vocalist Maurice Jacox. Winner of the Minnesota Music Academy Jazz Award, City Pages Best Male Vocalist, and the Blues Society Best Blues Artist, this veteran crooner salutes Nat King Cole.

Steven Hobert

Sunday, February 22. On a rare Sunday afternoon show, two bands headed by old friends go back to back at Jazz Central. Lulu's Playground features oddball instrumentation that somehow works-- accordion, trumpet, cello and guitar (Steven Hobert, Adam Meckler, Cory Grossman and Ben Abrahamson). Lulu will be followed by the Paul Dietrich Quintet from Chicago, the common denominator here being Meckler and Dietrich who overlapped their studies at Lawrence Univeristy. Trumpeter Dietrich earned his Master's at DePaul in Chicago and is currently touring the Midwest with his ensemble.

Irv Williams
Monday, February 23. It's long overdue-- Irv Williams will take the spotlight on Featured Artist Night at Jazz Central! At 95, Irv has managed to maintain his "Mr Smooth" sound, playing weekly for happy hour at the Dakota and only an occasional gig in-between.

Veterans of another generation but still full of swing, vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira gather their "Friends" (Paul Harper, Tom Lewis, Nathan Norman) for a Foodie Night (no cover) at the Dakota. That has to be the bargain of the week. Or month.


And you can get your improv fix at the Icehouse tonight, with a double header "Implosion" that should keep you wide awake. Dubbed the Sweet Quintet party, the evening starts off (9:30 pm) with Chris Bates and his Red 5 band, with saxophonists Brandon Wozniak and Chris Thomson, trumpeter Zack Lozier, drummer JT and bassist Chris Bates performing new compositions from their first album (New Hope) and beyond. The late set belongs to young drummer Cory Healey and his Beautiful Sunshine Band-- Wozniak again on sax, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Zacc Harris on guitar and Erik Fratzke on bass.  Rest up as you want to be able to hang in for both sets!

Katia Cardenas
Tuesday, February 24. One of the new bright voices in town belongs to Katia Cardenas, who seems as comfortable with Ella as with Aretha and Carole King. She's on stage for another Dakota Foodie Night, in the fine company of Kevin Gastonguay, Andrew Foreman and Trevor Haining. Over at Cafe Maude, Rick Carlson holds his monthly piano lesson -- everything you want to know about sophisticated swing.



Andrew Walesch
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 24-25. If you have not yet checked out the new Crooners Lounge (old Shorewood space) in Fridley, this week offers a good opportunity with back-to-back gigs with pianist-vocalist Andrew Walesch-- in trio Tuesday, quartet on Wednesday. Sinatra is long gone but, with style and talent to burn, Andrew truly fits the intent of Crooners Lounge. And the menu is getting rave reviews.










Bela Fleck
Wednesday, February 25. Co-sponsored by the Dakota, O'Shaughnessy presents one of the most dynamic couples in music--banjoists Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Each is well established on banjo, and together they add vocals for a delightful evening of roots music.

We often take standing gigs for granted. Don't make that mistake regarding Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg's Monday and Wednesday night shows at Fireside Pizza. Fireside will close in a few weeks for a couple months of renovations, so make sure you get to Richfield on an upcoming Monday or Wednesday night for a good dose of swinging duo (vocal and accordion) jazz and a slice (or a whole pie) of some of the area's best thin-crust.

Thursday, February 26. The weekly improvised music series at Khyber Pass Cafe continues with a fascinating double-header. Tuba master Benjamin J. Mansavage Klein presents solo music for tuba, electronics and mechanical instruments, followed by a duo set with percussionist Nick Zielinkski.

An unusual show at the Walker Art Center, the Campbell Brothers celebrate the 50th anniversary of Coltrane's A Love Supreme. With a sound dubbed "sacred steel," brothers Chuck, Darick and Phil Campbell meld African American gospel with electric steel guitars and vocals as they revisit one of the masterpieces of jazz --or any music.

Pat Mallinger
The Underground Music Cafe is a relatively new venue in Falcon Heights. Tonight, the Fireside Jazz Quintet led by  U of M trombone prof Tom Ashworth has a very jazz-worthy guest sitting in, saxophonist Pat Mallinger. Based in Chicago, the St Paul native is in town as guest artist for the U of M Jazz Festival (Saturday, 2/28). Other familiar faces in the quintet include Gordy Johnson, Phil Hey, Phil Aaron and Brian Grivna. 

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

Friday, February 20. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, happy hour at the Black Dog; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; John Paulson with Swing, Inc. at Signatures (Winona); Pete Snell and Drew Oliver at Blackwater Bistro (Maple Plain); Steven Hobert and Firefly Forest at the 331 Club

Donny McCaslin
Saturday, February 21. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Glen David Andrews at the Dakota; UW-River Falls Jazz Ensemble with Donny McCaslin at William Abbot Concert Hall (River Fall, WI); Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network, monthly salon at Town House Bar; Pavel Janey's Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar

Sunday, February 22. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Cafe Accordion at the Como Park Conservatory; Off the Cuff featuring Adam Conrad at the Aster Cafe

Monday, February 23. Sheridan Zuther at Crooners Lounge; Denny Malmberg and Paula Lammers at Fireside Pizza; BZ3 Organ Trio at The Narrows Saloon; Jerry the Jazz Giraffe at Underground Music Cafe; College of St Benedict Jazz Ensemble, Escher Auditoriuim (St Joseph, MN)

Tuesday, February 24. Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, February 25. McNally Smith College of Music X-Tet at Jazz Central

Thursday, February 26. Swingbeat Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; Jazz Showcase with Tom Ashworth at Underground Music Cafe; Erin Livingston at Jazz Central

Coming Soon!
. February 27, Javi Santiago and Friends at Jazz Central
. February 28, U of M Jazz Festival with guest Pat Mallinger (evening concert)
. February 28, Zacc Harris Group at the Black Dog (Opening - Central Standard Time)
. February 28, Arne Fogel & Jennifer Eckes, “What The World Needs Now: The Songs of Burt Bacharach & Hal David” at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
. February 28, Minnesota State University Mankato Jazz Mavericks, with Mike Stern and Kenni Holmen in Halling Recital Hall, MSU Mankato
. March 2, Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands Winter Concert at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
. March 3, Rene Marie at the Dakota
. March 4, Pedrito Martinez Group at the Dakota
. March 5, Katia Cardenas at Jazz Central
. March 6, Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw at The Nicollet
. March 6, "Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey" with Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. March 7, DD7 at the Black Dog (Opening - Charles Lincoln Group)
. March 9, David Sanchez Quartet at the Dakota
. March 10-11, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
. March 12, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. March 13, Foreign Motion at The Nicollet
. March 13, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. March 23-24, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota
. March 27, How Birds Work at The Nicollet
. March 28, Dakota Combo at the Black Dog
. March 29, Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer at the Dakota
. March 31, Eliane Elias Trio at the Dakota
. April 1, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. April 12, Anat Cohen Quartet at the Dakota
. April 16, Anthony Cox and Jeremy Walker, "Rage of Achilles" at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. April 16, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
. April 17, Ann Hampton Callaway at Orchestra Hall
. April 24, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. April 25, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob Mintzer at Hopkins l High School Auditorium
. April 25-26, Irv Williams, Legends concert at The Capri
. April 26, KBEM's Jazz Noir at the Dakota
. April 27, Omar Sosa at the Dakota
. April 29-30, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota
. May 2, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at the Walker
. May 9, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" -- afternoon workshop and evening concert at The Bedlam
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)


Rene Marie returns to the Dakota on March 3













Friday, February 13, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 13-19


Red Planet at the James J Hill Center on February 19th
© Andrea Canter

A bunch of jazzy Valentine's Day gigs, some new and old configurations, a rare visit from one of the kings of contemporary jazz and more warm up the winter this week.

Valentine's Celebrations
Andrew Walesch
Friday, February 13. A young singer/pianist in the tradition of Sinatra, Andrew Walesch is heard around town (Parma, Crooners Lounge, Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in intimate ensembles and fronting big bands. Tonight he spins romance at Parma 8200.

Pete Whitman
Friday-Saturday, February 13-14.  Pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff  Brueske play in the elegant Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel) every Friday and Saturday night, but for Valentines' Day weekend they have a special guest, tenor saxophonist Pete Whitman to up the romance quotient. JoAnn is known for her affinity for Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, Diana Krall and more, but anything can happen when you add in sax!

Yolande Bruce
The owners of the Dakota are dropping live hints as to the next music club to occupy the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul with a series of "pop-up" events. For Valentine's Day weekend, they're showing their eclectic tastes with a jazzy Friday night gig featuring Moore by Four's Yolande Bruce on vocals with backing from drummer Bobby Commodore and friends.  Saturday night, Twin Cities native singer/songwriter Sarah Morris takes the stage. Come check it out before they close for renovations to get ready for their formal opening.

Nachito Herrera
Saturday, February 14.  One of the best known voices in the Twin Cities, Connie Evingson offers a "This Funny Thing Called Love" in the Cabaret of Camp Bar with pals Dave Karr, Adi Yeshaya, Gary Raynor and Mac Santiago. Her repertore is endless, from songbook gems to hot club swing to the Beatles and David Frishberg. At the Dakota, a truly smoldering date night awaits with our best known import from Cuba, pianist extraordinaire Nachito Herrera. Whether playing his native son or rhumba, interpretations of Ellington or Earth, Wind and Fire, or dazzling Rachmaninoff, your ears, and your feet, will never be the same. Reservations essential for either the dinner or cocktail show. 

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson
For a somewhat more snarky approach, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson present "Bad for Each Other: A Bent Valentine" for the dinner sets at the Icehouse. Maud describes it as “an alternative: a cynical and snarky celebration of a syrupy Hallmark holiday." This won't be the usual menu of songbook standards. "Think Cole Porter’s ‘Love for Sale.’ Or ‘Miss Otis Regrets.’" You will have no regrets spending your Valentines' Day evening with Maude and Rick. Unless you fail to make a reservation.

Patty Peterson, "The Girls"
The Hopkins Center for the Arts presents "This Thing Called Love." In varying combinations, these six of the most beloved voices in the Twin Cities have performed as The Girls, and tonight they are all on stage to celebrate Valentines' Day and themes of romance. Lori Dokken, Judi (Donaghy) Vinar, Patty Peterson, Debbie Duncan, Erin Schwab and Rachel Holder-Hennig bring magic to their harmonies. Courtesy appetizers before the show.

Big Gigs This Week
Irv Williams
Friday, February 13. Irv Williams plays happy hour at the Dakota every Friday but this one is special-- he's playing with piano, and the pianist is Mary Louise Knutson! It's a very rare pairing, but hard to imagine a better partner for Mr. Smooth than MLK!

Eric Gravatt
Weather Report alum drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt returns to the Bridge Series at Jazz Central with "Friends." Tonight his friends include Coltranish saxman Brandon Wozniak, wide-roaming guitarist Zacc Harris, and way-too-young-to-be-this-good bassist Charlie Lincoln, who still has a few months left of high school.

Chris Bates
And it is Friday the 13th and only appropriate that we hear from The Fall of the House of Usher at the Icehouse, which describes the band as "East, West, North African, 80s East Village, Qawwali Trance, Early 70s Psychedelic Miles, and Good Old New Orleans Vampire Funk." The ensemble features a multi-generational melange of musicians including Chris Cunningham, Chris Bates, Nathan Hanson, Greg Schutte, Cole Pulice and more.

Romero Lubambo
Less scary but surely as musical is a the three-guitar extravaganza at the Dakota, with the Assad Brothers and Romero Lubambo. Brothers Sergio and Odair Assad have helped create new interest in both Brazilian guitar and guitar duos with a repertoire that includes original music composed by Sérgio and his re-workings of folk and jazz music as well as a wide range of Latin styles, classical works, and adaptations of the likes of Gershwin and Debussy. Another Brazilian, Romero Lubambo has dazzled Twin Cities audiences recently, touring with Sharon Isbin's Guitar Passions and with Dianne Reeves as the headline act of the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Paul Harper
Saturday, February 14. If you are less inclined toward a romantic evening and instead seeking some hot modern jazz, look no farther than the Black Dog's ongoing Saturday night programming. Tonight, veteran saxophonist Paul Harper steps out from his work with the Illicit Sextet and Charmin & Shapira and Friends to lead his quartet with guitarist Mike Cramer, bassist Charlie Riddle and drummer Nathan Norman. Come early-- your best chance for a table plus the opportunity to hear the opening band, in this case Central Standard Time with young Charlie Lincoln and Alex Burgess mixing it up with "old timers" Steve Kenny and David Roos.

Laura Caviani
Sunday, February 15. How about a jazzy Mardi Gras celebration while raising funds for homeless youth? The Longfellow Jazz Sextet includes some familiar names coming together to help support the Metro Homeless Youth Program of Lutheran Social Services in this mid-afternoon gig at Christ Church Lutheran (Minneapolis) -- Laura Caviani, piano; Bill Simenson, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Pete Enblom, trombone; Bruce Heine, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and Judi Donaghy Vinar, guest vocalist.

Andrew Foreman (Chomsky)
It's always cool to hear a new ensemble. Together for just a few months, Chomsky turns up the heat at the Aster Cafe tonight. A collaborative project headed by bassist Andrew Foreman, Chomsky straddles art rock, modern jazz and indie pop through the inventions of Foreman, Thomas Nordlund (guitar, effects), Jake Baldwin (trumpet, effects), and Zach Schmidt (drums). They'll offer a mix of original works and unique covers.

Jon Wood
Monday, February 16. The "featured performer" spotlight at Jazz Central is turned on an ensemble dubbed "Iron Chops"-- with young guitarist Jon Wood and veteran saxophonist Dave Brattain. Jon's been performing all over the metro lately and organized the recent Minnesota Jazz Guitar Summit at Jazz Central.

Chris Thomson
Plan to stay out late to catch the Enormous Quartet on JT's Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse. This band does not perform nearly often enough -- with Chris Thomson on saxes, Park Evans on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and Joey Van Phillips on drums. Four guys with an "enormous" sound and equally big imaginations.

Tuesday, February 17. It's third Tuesday, and Fat Tuesday-- and it's Jack Brass Band night at the Amsterdam. An original New Orleans brass band in Minnesota? You betcha!  And if you want an even bigger band tonight, it's also Explosion Big Band night at Jazz Central. Between Minneapolis and St. Paul, that should be enough brass to send musical messages right down the Mississippi to the Delta.

David Sanborn (Facebook photo)
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 17-18. One of the living icons of contemporary jazz, multi-Grammy winning saxophonist David Sanborn has played with the Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Gil Evans, Paul Simon, James Taylor and more, and has hosted a number of television and radio shows. Recently Dave has returned more often to his jazz roots, and in 2015 will be featured on the Smooth Jazz Cruise and in performance with the great Al Jarreau. Joining Sanborn for two nights at the Dakota is long-time associate and one of Minnesota's favorite sons, Ricky Peterson.
Ricky Peterson

Noah Ophoven-Baldwin
Wednesday, February 18. It must be Young Lions Night at Jazz Central, although the calendar reads "New Music" night. Trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin leads a trio of 20-somethings, with pianist Joe Strachan and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Don't let their youth fool you-- these guys have been playing improvised music since their early teens, and lately a fair amount with each other.

Cameron Kinghorn
Thursday, February 19. Vocal night at Jazz Central features rising star Cameron Kinghorn. Cameron might be better known around town as a trumpeter--with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Black Market Brass, New Sound Underground, Jazzland Wonderband and more, but he's also building a reputation as a vocalist with jazz and R&B leanings -- heard with the new Nooky Jones.

In St. Paul's James J. Hill Center, Red Planet opens the next installment of the Realphonic Radio Hour (featuring Shannon McNally). Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein are never second bananas and always worth the ticket. Plus the setting is just plain elegant.

Dean Granros
Khyber Pass continues its Thursday series of cutting edge jazz improvisers, tonight featuring one of the masters of it all, guitarist Dean Granros. Two sets of solo improvisations!

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

Friday, February 13. Don Strong, happy hour, followed by Larry Dunsmore at Crooners' Lounge; Todd Harper, happy hour at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Classic Big Band and the Nostalgics at Bloomington KC Hall; Jason Squinobal Quartet (with Dave Hagedorn, Chris Bates and Cory Healey) at Studio Z

Saturday, February 14. Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows at Patisserie 46 (3 pm); Don Strong, happy hour at Crooners Lounge; John Paulson with Swing Inc. at Signatures (Winona); Pavel Jany's Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Maurice Jacox Trio at Normandy Kitchen; No Name Jazz at Underground Music Cafe

Sunday, February 15. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jennifer Grimm, Manitou Station

Denny Malmberb
Monday, February 16. Denny Malmberg and guest at Fireside Pizza; BZ3 Organ Trio at the Narrows Saloon

Tuesday, February 17.  Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude

Wednesday, February 18. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Jazz at the Tangiers

Thursday, February 19. Maud Hixson at Crooners Lounge; Beasley's Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; John Devine and Friends at Loring Pasta Bar

Coming Soon!
. February 20, Chris Lomheim Trio at Jazz Central
. February 20, Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 20, Pete Snell and Drew Oliver at Blackwater Bistro (Wayzata)
. February 21, Studio Z Winter Jazz Festival (Adam Meckler Orchestra, Endeavors, Atlantis Quartet, Mancrush, Nichols/Bates/Bates, Graydon Peterson Quartet)
. February 21, Glen David Andrews at the Dakota
. February 21, Good Vibes Trio at the Black Dog (Opening - Central Standard Time)
. February 21, U Wisconsin River Falls Jazz Ensemble with Donny McCaslin, William Abbot Concert Hall at UW-River Falls
. February 21, Twin Cities Cabaret Network Salon at Town House Bar
. February 22, Lulu's Playground at Jazz Central (3 pm)
. February 23, Irv Williams at Jazz Central
. February 23, Quintet Party with Red 5 and Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band at the Icehouse
. February 24, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central
. February 25, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. February 25, Leisure Valley at Cafe Maude
. February 27, Javi Santiago and Friends at Jazz Central
. February 28, U of M Jazz Festival with guest Pat Mallinger (evening concert)
. February 28, Zacc Harris Group at the Black Dog (Opening - Central Standard Time)
. February 28, Arne Fogel & Jennifer Eckes, “What The World Needs Now: The Songs of Burt Bacharach & Hal David” at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
. February 28, Minnesota State University Mankato Jazz Mavericks, with Mike Stern and Kenni Holmen in Halling Recital Hall, MSU Mankato
. March 2, Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands Winter Concert at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
. March 3, Rene Marie at the Dakota
. March 4, Pedrito Martinez Group at the Dakota
. March 5, Katia Cardenas (tribute to Ella Fitzgerald) at Jazz Central
. March 6, Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw at The Nicollet
. March 6, "Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey" with Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. March 7, DD7 at the Black Dog (Opening - Charles Lincoln Group)
. March 9, David Sanchez Quartet at the Dakota
. March 10-11, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
. March 12, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. March 13, Foreign Motion at The Nicollet
. March 13, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 13, Katia Cardenas at Mattie's on Main
. March 13, Charanga Tropicale, "Two Nights to Cuba" at the Bedlam Theater (St Paul)
. March 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 14, Charanga Tropicale "Two Nights to Cuba" at The Cedar
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. March 20, Invisible Guy (Ben Goldberg, Michale Coleman and Hamir Atwal) at the Icehouse
. March 23-24, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota
. March 27, How Birds Work at The Nicollet
. March 29, Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer at the Dakota
. March 31, Eliane Elias Trio at the Dakota
. April 1, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. April 12, Anat Cohen Quartet at the Dakota
. April 16, Anthony Cox and Jeremy Walker, "Rage of Achilles" at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. April 16, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
. April 17, Ann Hampton Callaway at Orchestra Hall
. April 24, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. April 25, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob Mintzer at Hopkins l High School Auditorium
. April 25-26, Irv Williams, Legends concert at The Capri
. April 26, KBEM's Jazz Noir at the Dakota
. April 27, Omar Sosa at the Dakota
. April 29-30, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota
. May 2, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at the Walker
. May 9, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" -- afternoon workshop and evening concert at The Bedlam
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)

Good Vibes Trio at the Black Dog, February 21-- Winter Jazz Fest After Party!