Monday, April 21, 2014

Take Five




Adam Linz and the Dakota Combo at Chippewa Middle School (Mounds View)
© Andrea Canter
Five cool things in jazz last week:

Good Vibes Trio
Good Vibes Trio CD release at the Icehouse (April 14). A week after a private gathering to preview his latest recording project, Chris Bates brought his Good Vibes Trio (with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey) into the often-raucous Icehouse for the official celebration. And what a joy to be in a venue with a room full of listeners as serious as the musicians on stage. The lighting was more punk rock but the music was post bop magic, drawn from the album as well as the out-takes, originals from band members and elegant arrangements of Mingus, Coleman, Coltrane and more. Good vibes, indeed.

Levi Schwartzberg, Dakota Combo
The Dakota Combo Annual School Tour (April 17). Every year since 2007, the all-star high school ensemble, the Dakota Combo, has taken a day to visit 2-3 metro-area schools to perform and inform. The touring day was initiated by Kelly Rossum during his tenure as Jazz Coordinator and combo director at MacPhail Center for Music. Since 2009, the Combo has been guided by Adam Linz. By all accounts, the 2014 tour was the best yet, in terms of audience and young artist enthusiasm as well as logistical comfort. Many in the three school audiences were only marginally acquainted with jazz, but asked great questions about the music, the instruments, practicing, etc. It was a good day selling jazz!

Christopher McBride
Eden Prairie High School Band Fundraiser (April 17). It takes a village.... or at least supportive parents! The jazz program, as well as the entire music department, got a boost with a day of student clinics and an evening of performance featuring the five musicians of the Christopher McBride Quintet. Sponsored by parents, the evening was a fund-raiser for the EPHS band program, and featured three student jazz ensembles as well as two sets from McBride's band. McBride (alto saxophonist) himself is a good ambassador for jazz-- his enthusiasm is contagious and his music is joyful.  Hats off to band director Mike Whipkey, parents, and student musicians.

Ragamala ensemble
Ragamala Dance and Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rehearsal for "Song of the Jasmine." The only thing more cool than rehearsal will be the performances May 15-18 at the Walker Art Center. Walker co-commissioned this collaboration between locally based Ragamala Dance and world renowned saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, now in rehearsal for the world premiere performances. Traditional South India dance melds with jazz improvisation and traditional Carnatic music. My sneak preview is high on my list of cool things-- for the year. Tickets still available.

Bobby McFerrin's spirityouall at Orchestra Hall (April 19). One-time resident Creative Director for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, McFerrin now is only rarely on stage in the Twin Cities, but whenever he's in town, it's like we've been hit with a lightning rod of invention. McFerrin has found unusual and satisfying ways to manipulate the human voice -- aptly demonstrated by his multi-voiced solo rendition of the National Anthem and his delightful duet with local protegé Judi (Donaghy) Vinar.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 18-24



 
Jose James, at The Cedar on April 21st
© Andrea Canter



So it is snowing tonight. April 16th and it is snowing. Waiting for "Up Jumped Spring"? This spring has really hung us up the most, of any I can remember in a long time. Yet I get email from a friend spending April in Paris. OK, enough of that. We are spending April in the Twin Cities, and we are quite lucky to be here where there is too much jazz to mention it all for the coming week!



Big Gigs This Week

Ramsey Lewis
Friday, April 18.  Nat King Cole gets a double dose tonight. Straighten Up and Fly Right is both the name of Cole's first hit album and the show at Orchestra Hall with NEA Master Ramsey Lewis and Grammy nominee John Pizzarelli. Pizzarelli has twice saluted Cole on recordings, and tonight's piano/guitar and vocal duo promises to be the definitive Cole tribute. Lewis is bringing along his touring cohorts (Joshua Ramos on bass and Charles Heath on drums).   

Dennis Spears
Just a block away, at the Dakota, Ginger Commodore hosts a birthday party for Dennis Spears, who has done his part to keep Nat King Cole alive through song and on stage, bringing his one-man Cole show to Kennedy Center and reprising the original at Penumbra. Ginger and Dennis are no strangers, as partners in Moore By Four and frequently appearing together at the Dakota. Good news-- there should be a set to go when the Orchestra Hall concert ends, and it is a short walk to the Dakota!



Tanner Taylor
More songs tonight - Maud Hixson returns to Parma 8200 with Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal.  And two instrumental ensembles offer some cutting edge jazz, with Counterclockwise at Jazz Central, featuring Tanner Taylor in a seldom-heard B-3 organ night with Zacc Harris and Jay Epstein (their first gig since 2009), and the Donald Washington Quartet with son Kevin on drums, across town at the Black Dog. I can not figure out how to do it all.



Cory Healey
Saturday, April 19. Jazz at Studio Z continues its third season with one of the newest members of the Twin Cities Jazz scene, drummer Cory Healey. Recently transplanted from Iowa, Healey is quickly gaining a reputation for his chops behind the trapset and his creative compositions. His "4Tet" tonight includes another young hot shot, trumpeter Jake Baldwin, along with guitarist/series curator Zacc Harris and Happy Apple's bassist, Erik Fratzke. For sure, there will be no ice left after this show. And there's a free workshop at 6 pm, with Healey sharing insights about rhythms of the traditional music of the Indian subcontinent. 

Steve Kenny
The 4Tet might end early enough to head down the block and take in most of the Steve Kenny Quartet at Sweet 317 above the Black Dog. This new salon-like space is starting to book some serious talent -- the quartet tonight features Kenny, Brandon Wozniak, Jeff Bailey and Babatunde Lea digging into Monk and more. That's pretty serious!



Fans of improvised vocal music will find plenty at Orchestra Hall tonight as Bobby McFerrin returns with his spirityouall project -- an exploration of his diverse influences delivered as only McFerrin can.  In addition to influencing just about every modern jazz vocalist, McFerrin has particularly left his imprint in Minnesota after five years as Creative Chair for the SPCO in the 90s.



Steve Tyrell
Monday, April 21. Two vocalists from different generations and different edges of the jazz idiom are in town tonight. Hometown hero and South High alum José James returns to The Cedar with his signature blend of jazz and soul, joined by young Monk Competition winner Kris Bowers on piano. At the Dakota, Steve Tyrell croons and soothes on his first of a two-night stand, elevating the Great American Songbook and more contemporary fare to the level of a Vegas night club show.



Over at Jazz Central, another Haining is in the spotlight. Tonight it's Preston's turn. The recent graduate of the University of North Texas plays bass and trumpet, meaning he should always find work. He's on trumpet tonight, with backing from brother Trevor on drums, Graydon Peterson on bass and Tanner Taylor on piano.



Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra
Tuesday, April 22. The Twin Cities is becoming a big band mecca. Part of the Tuesday night big band series, the newly formed Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra holds another "rehearsal" under the leadership of Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago. The rest of the band is a who's who, cross-generational corps of Latin-savvy artists. Over at Café Maude, swing and sway with Rick Carlson on keys.



Retro Swing Sister
Wednesday, April 23. Zeke's Unchained Animal might never be the same! Vocalist Lila Ammons brings a sophisticated approach to song that seldom is heard in a restaurant/bar setting that leans more often toward young generation pop and funk. She's on stage with her quintet and likely will sample from her outstanding CD, The Nearness of You. If you are looking for something more active-- how about swing dancing with Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at the Eagles Club in East Minneapolis? And you can just sit back and listen if you prefer, but your feet will probably insist on a few spins around the floor when this swing band takes off!



Charmin and Shapira
Thursday, April 24. Hats off to Maryann Sullivan and her expert scheduling of the Vocal Jazz nights at Jazz Central. Tonight is another exceptional choice, Charmin and Shapira. Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira have been musical partners for nearly a decade, more often performing these days in quintet format, making this intimate duo in this intimate space a real treat. Swing, samba, balladry and more.



More Jazz Every Night

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, April 18. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog (5 pm); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Kronick Quartet at Zeke's Unchained Animal
Bryan Nichols



Saturday, April 19. Ancia Saxophone Quartet at the Black Dog (2 pm); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Dave Karr and Tanner Taylor, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Ticket to Brasil at Loring Pasta Bar; Maurice Jacox Trio at Normandy Kitchen; Jana Nyberg Group at Hell's Kitchen; Twin Cities Cabaret Network monthly salon with Les Block , Heidi Ziman, Eilene Wisniewski, Rhonda Laurie, Vicky Mountain, Joey Babay and Dean Elwell at the Town House



Sunday, April 20. Easter Brunch with the Twin Cities Hot Club at the Dakota; Davu Seru Trio and Carlo Gesauldo Band at Torch House



Monday, April 21. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Fantastic Merlins at the Black Dog; Joey Van Phillips at the Icehouse; Neighborhood Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, April 22. Cafe Accordion Orchestra followed by Mike Salovich and Marcus Wise CD release, at Loring Pasta Bar



Wednesday, April 23. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Midweek Mambo with Charanga Tropicale at Loring Pasta Bar; Graydon Peterson Ghost Tour at Jazz Central; King Baron at Barbette



Thursday, April 24.  Connie and Herb at the Bean; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @Christos (Union Depot); Perius Quartet (Jeff Perry) at Hell's Kitchen



Coming Soon!

. April 25, Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200

. April 26, Miguel Zenon with the JazzMN Orchestra, Hopkins High School

. April 27, Jazz Noir with John Penny, live broadcast on KBEM from the Dakota

. April 27, Earth Day Concert, Dave Milne's One World Consort at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community

. April 27, Soul Café at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

. April 28, Joe Lovano Us Five at the Dakota

. April 28, Lars-Erik Larson and No Coast Quartet at the Icehouse

. April 29, Acme Jazz Company at Jazz Central

. April 30, Dan Musselman Quartet at the Black Dog

. May 2, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. May 2, Illicit Sextet at the Black Dog

. May 3, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" workshop and concert at Maplewood Community Center

. May 3, Paul Renz, Jazz at the Steeple Center (Rosemount)

. May 5, Peter Vircks Quartet at the Icehouse

. May 7, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge at the Dakota

. May 8, Jazz Thursdays with the Dakota Combo at Antonello Hall (MacPhail Center for Music)

. May 9, Jazz Police Youth Showcase featuring Will Kjeer's Blue Haven at Jazz Central

. May 9, Courageous Endeavors at the Icehouse

. May 10, Yohannes Tona with Geoff LeCrone and Demetrius Mabry, Jazz at Studio Z

. May 13, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

. May 15-18, Ragamala Dance Company and Rudresh Mahanthappa at the Walker

. May 19, Jean Brice Godet with the Fantastic Merlins /Atlantis Quartet at the Icehouse

. May 19-20, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota

. May 20, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Amsterdam Bar

. May 26-27, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

. May 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

. June 2, Tom Rainey and Ingrid Laubrock at the Icehouse

. June 8, Jazz in the Library, Joan Griffith at St Paul Central Library

. June 14, Next Generations, Steve Kenny Group 47 LP Release,  Jazz at Studio Z

. June 16-17, Maceo Parker at the Dakota

. June 18, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. June 18, Jazz in the Library, Bryan Nichols Quartet at St Anthony Park Library

. June 25, Jazz in the Library, Tres Mundos at Arlington Hills Library

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Branford Marsalis 6/27; Dianne Reeves 6/28; and more), Mears Park (St Paul)

. July 3-5, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano Us Five, Anat Cohen Quartet, Ingrid Jensen Nordic with Geoffrey Keezer, Jared Gold, Pedrito Martinez)

. July 7-8, Bill Frisell Quartet (Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen) at the Dakota

. July 10, All Originals Jazz series, The Illicit Sextet at Studio Z

. July 17, All Originals Jazz series, Courageous Endeavors at Studio Z

. July 24, All Originals Jazz series, Zacc Harris Group at Studio Z

. July 31, All Originals Jazz series, Red Planet at Studio Z

Dave Milne's One World Consort, Earth Day Concert at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community on April 27















Monday, April 14, 2014

Take Five: Studio Vibes, Jazzin Mandolin, 2 Drums, 7 Psalms, and Desert Island Picks


 
A Tale of Two Drummers: Matt Slocum and Phil Hey at Landmark Center

© Andrea Canter
The Star Tribune has a good idea -- every Sunday you can read about recent arts happenings from two perspectives, dubbed Pick Six. Two writers -- usually a Strib staffer and an invited guest--each select three highpoints in their arts week. Once in a while, a jazz event makes the cut. Not often enough. So I decided if the Strib can "Pick Six," surely I can "Take Five" of my favorite jazz-related events of the past week. So here's my picks:


Good Vibes Trio
  • April 6, Creation Audio "Parlor" Music, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio. In what will hopefully be the first of many such "parlor concerts," Steve Wiese opened the studio at Creation Audio to a small audience to hear a preview of the Good Vibes Trio's debut, self-titled recording. The music was actually recorded at Terrarium Studios but no matter, the studio with real sound engineers managing the acoustics was an ideal setting for such glorious music, from Mingus to Coltrane to Bates, Hagedorn and Hey.
Brad Mehldau
  • April 8, McGuire Theater (Walker Art Center), Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile. Mehldau alone or with his trio (who performed the next night) is a major force in American jazz, but who knew his most formidable partner yet would be a bluegrass mandolinist? Thile seems to have the chops to be a major force in anything he attempts, and with Mehldau he proved to be a perfect fit to the sounds of jazz, country, folk, classical and of course bluegrass, all of which melded together beautifully in this unexpected duo format. But the highlight of the evening was an even more unexpected, breathtaking vocal performance by Thile on "I Cover the Waterfront."
Matt Slocum
  • April 9-10, Landmark Center's Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, Matt Slocum and Friends. Former area resident and now acclaimed drummer Matt Slocum finished a short CD release tour back home, setting up his drumkit for two nights at Landmark Center and inviting some friends to play additional sets. I caught night two, featuring a stunning solo set from Bryan Nichols, the centerpiece trio set from Slocum (with Sam Yahel on piano and Massimo Biolcati on bass), a two-drum duo with former mentor Phil Hey, and the closing set from the Dave Karr Quartet with Hey on drums. (The Phil Hey Quartet with second drummer was featured on the previous night.) Each set had its own agenda, overlapping influences and personnel giving the full show some cohesion.  Favorite moments-- the friendly fire of the two-drum interaction; the friendly exchange between Hey and Karr in the closing quartet.
Jeremy Walker and Jason Harms
  • April 11, Bethel College Benson Great Hall, Jeremy Walker's 7 Psalms CD Release.  A year ago, Jeremy Walker premiered his concert-length suite, 7 Psalms. A few tweaks to the score and a new choir later, Walker recorded in a St. Paul church and released the result in a St Paul college hall. The texts were simply taken verbatim from seven of Jeremy's favorite psalms; the music bears the imprint of Walker's muse Duke Ellington, as well as other influences from classical and jazz idioms. Vocal soloist Jason Harms and the 17-voice 7 Psalms Chamber Choir added some soulful energy to an already-soaring score; saxman Brandon Wozniak played High Priest, honoring Coltrane.
Connie Evingson
  • April 13, Jungle Theater, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber's "Desert Island Picks."  Sharing the stage on a Prairie Home Companion cruise, Connie and Jon started listing the music they would hope to have in hand if stranded on a desert island.  Soon they had the ingredients for a Jazz at the Jungle show, adding bassist Gordy Johnson. Their choices included Peggy Lee, Lerner and Lowe, Dave Frishberg, the Beatles, and more, with special turns by both Weber and Johnson on solo vocals and a smirk-inducing "My Attorney Bernie" by Connie.




Friday, April 11, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 11-17



 
The Good Vibes Trio -- CD release April 14th at the Icehouse
© Andrea Canter

Those rumors of spring might be true! At least in the jazz neighborhood, it will be a hot weekend with enough sizzle to keep us in melt-down mode through the week! And it is an eclectic week ahead-- from CD releases from our "Minnesota Ellington" and "Magica Improvisado," an outstanding outstate gig, and an Orchestra Hall return for one of its most popular visiting bandleaders to a highly anticipated duo at the Jungle Theater and a Latin Fiesta at the Dakota, with a jazzy icing on the cake when one of the fastest rising young saxophonists heads a high school band fundraiser.  Want more? Read on.



Big Gigs This Week

Jeremy Walker
Friday, April 11. Almost exactly a year ago, pianist/composer/bandleader Jeremy Walker premiered a concert-length choral work built around the texts of "7 Psalms." In the tradition of Ellington's sacred concerts, 7 Psalms went through a few tweaks and is now ready for release on CD. Walker and his cast of jazzers and vocalists celebrate the CD with a performance at Bethel College (Benson Great Hall) -- an evening that promises to be uplifting and inspiring.



Catherine Russell
The Fairmont Opera House might seem like an unlikely venue for a gig with one of the fastest-rising vocal stars on the national scene, but that's where you have to go if you want to hear Catherine Russell, who makes swing, blues, and soul seem like one word. She's on tour celebrating Bring It Back, already on my list for top vocal recordings of 2014.



Saturday, April 12. The first and longest-running of the gypsy hot club ensembles in the Twin Cities, the Parisota Hot Club takes the stage for tonight's installment of Jazz @ St. Barneys-- alsp a long running event curated by Jeff Whitmill at St Barnabas Lutheran Church in Plymouth. There's been a revolving cast over the years of the PHC, with guitarist Robb Henry at the hub. Tonight he's joined by violinist Tom Schaefer, drummer Jay Epstein and bassist Matt Senjem, playing many Django Reinhardt standards, along with selections from 1960's movie soundtracks and pop music.



Doc Severinsen
With the re-opening of Orchestra Hall, we're getting reacquainted with old friends like Tonight Show alum Doc Severinsen, who leads the Minnesota Orchestra with his frequent guest vocalists, Vanessa Thomas and Joseph Wolverton. Doc has appeared at the Dakota with his own big band but this will be the first time he has directed the MO since his 2011 holiday gig (Jingle Bell Doc).



Connie Evingson
Sunday, April 13. Vocalist Connie Evingson heats up her Jazz at the Jungle (Theater) series with special guest, pianist Jon Weber. Sharing their "Desert Island Picks," Connie and Jon take us through a diverse songlist of their favorites from Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, Peggy Lee, Dave Frishberg, the Beatles, Jobim, Sting and more. Connie and Jon have paired up before, at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and on a European cruise for A Prairie Home Companion in 2012. They need a bassist, right? Gordy Johnson makes it a threesome.



Chris Bates
Monday, April 14. JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse tonight focuses on another Bates -- Chris celebrates the CD release of the self-titled Good Vibes Trio. One of his first projects as bandleader, Bates first presented Good Vibes at the Artists Quarter about two years ago, finding a perfect vehicle for collaboration with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey. After recording last winter, the trio previewed the music at Jazz Central, inviting area graphic artist Tim Nyberg to paint as the music inspired him, yielding a stunning and very original cover design. There may be no more sublime combination than vibes, bass and drums, whether gliding through Mingus and Coltrane or original compositions from these three jazz giants. 

Jeff Rinear
Meanwhile, at Jazz Central, the Featured Artist tonight is trombone master Jeff Rinear, whom we seldom see in a leading role. A long-time member of Pete Whitman's X-Tet, Rinear makes it a quartet with Tanner Taylor, Brian Courage and Mac Santiago.



Poncho Sanchez
Tuesday, April 15. For a good time, call Poncho (Sanchez)!  The Grammy-winning, American-born Latin percussionist covers bebop, soul, rock and funk, all with a pervasive Latin groove that has made him one of the most popular bandleaders in all of Latin jazz. The last time Poncho came to the Dakota (2012), he included some special surprise guests and closed out his sets with dancing in the aisles, so come prepared. If your tastes run more toward American big band, head over to Jazz Central tonight for one of the best in the region-- the Explosion Big Band directed by two guys who know big band-- Doug Haining and Scott Agster. The best local big band artists fill the chairs (and half the club space)!



Dan Musselman
Wednesday, April 16. A couple years ago, inventive pianist Dan Musselman released Devotion, a suite of original music inspired by Biblical texts. Tonight he presents this soul-searching music with his trio (Andrew Foreman and Zach Schmidt) at the Fridley Community Center. Hats off to the local artists who are finding more and new venues to spread jazz around! Over at Cafe Maude, the Zacc Harris Trio (with Mattt Peterson and Pete Hennig) gives you some modern jazz to consider as you enjoy improvisations from the kitchen.



Christopher McBride
Thursday, April 17. After spending the day working with students in the Eden Prairie High School jazz band, up-and-coming saxophonist Christopher McBride and his quintet will present a concert at the school to help raise funds to support the school's band program. McBride was in town two years ago with another young lion, trumpeter Marquis Hill, on the 6th Street stage of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival -- and I recall he and Marquis continued the fun later in a jam at the Artists Quarter. This is a great opportunity to not only enjoy a bright talent, but to help support jazz in our area high schools.



Lucia Newell
The Jazz Central Vocal Night continues with one of our area's top voices - Lucia Newell, in the fine company of Phil Aaron, salutes spring with songs of the season. Whenever Lucia sings, it's spring somewhere! And also continuing -- the weekly Jazz at Christo's (Union Depot) with a winning pair-- vocalist Alicia Renee and pianist Chris Lomheim. They're serenading diners every Thursday night in one of the most elegant spaces in the region.



More Jazz Every Night!

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, April 11. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Phil Aaron and Chris Bates, dinner sets at the Icehouse; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Charmin Michelle at Parma 8200; Stockton Helbing Quartet at Jazz Central; Eastside at Hell's Kitchen



Saturday, April 12. St. Olaf Jazz Ensemble at Orchestra Hall (2 pm); Phil Aaron and Chris Bates, dinner sets, followed by Foreign Motion (Cory Wong) at the Icehouse; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck at Parma 8200; Nick Haas Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen



Sunday, April 13. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Fuzzy Math at the Black Dog (2 pm); Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Southside Big Band at Edinborough Indoor Park



Monday, April 14. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Tim Sparks at Loring Pasta Bar; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown); JVP Trio (Joey Van Phillips, Zacc Harris and Graydon Peterson) at Barbette



Tuesday, April 15. Cafe Accordion Orchestra at Loring Pasta Bar; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude



Wednesday, April 16. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Pete Whitman Presents at Jazz Central; Orquestra Aragon at the Dakota



Thursday, April 17. Orquestra Aragon at the Dakota



Coming Soon!

. April 18, Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli at Orchestra Hall

. April 18, Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears at the Dakota

. April 19, Bobby McFerrin at Orchestra Hall

. April 19, Cory Healy 4-Tet, Jazz at Studio Z

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. April 21-22, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota

. April 24, Charmin & Shapira at Jazz Central

. April 25, Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200

. April 26, Miguel Zenon with the JazzMN Orchestra, Hopkins High School

. April 27, Jazz Noir with John Penny, live broadcast on KBEM from the Dakota

. April 27, Earth Day Concert, Dave Milne's One World Consort at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community

. April 28, Joe Lovano Us Five at the Dakota

. April 30, Dan Musselman Quartet at the Black Dog

. May 3, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" workshop and concert at Maplewood Community Center

. May 7, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge at the Dakota

. May 8, Jazz Thursdays with the Dakota Combo at Antonello Hall (MacPhail Center for Music)

. May 9, Jazz Police Youth Showcase featuring Will Kjeer's Blue Haven at Jazz Central

. May 9, Courageous Endeavors at the Icehouse

. May 10, Yohannes Tona with Geoff LeCrone and Demetrius Mabry, Jazz at Studio Z

. May 13, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

. May 15-17, Ragamala Dance Company and Rudresh Mahanthappa at the Walker

. May 19-20, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota

. May 20, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Amsterdam Bar

. May 26-27, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

. May 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

. June 8, Jazz in the Library, Joan Griffith at St Paul Central Library

. June 14, Next Generations, Jazz at Studio Z

. June 16-17, Maceo Parker at the Dakota

. June 18, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. June 18, Jazz in the Library, Bryan Nichols Quartet at St Anthony Park Library

. June 25, Jazz in the Library, Tres Mundos at Arlington Hills Library

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Branford Marsalis 6/27; Dianne Reeves 6/28; and more), Mears Park (St Paul)

. July 3-5, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano Us Five, Anat Cohen Quartet, Ingrid Jensen Nordic with Geoffrey Keezer, Jared Gold, Pedrito Martinez)

. July 7-8, Bill Frisell Quartet (Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen) at the Dakota

. July 10, All Originals Jazz series, The Illicit Sextet at Studio Z

. July 17, All Originals Jazz series, Courageous Endeavors at Studio Z

. July 24, All Originals Jazz series, Zacc Harris Group at Studio Z

. July 31, All Originals Jazz series, Red Planet at Studio Z

 
John Pizzarelli - Coming to Orchestra Hall with Ramsey Lewis, April 18th

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 4-10



Delfeayo Marsalis, at the Dakota on April 10
© Andrea Canter



I am writing under a Winter storm warning. They are not even calling it a Spring storm warning. Driving might be dicey to start out the weekend, but don't be deterred from your focus on great jazz -- there is plenty this weekend, worth a slow drive, and by Sunday it should be back to normal, right? Good thing as great music jams up the calendar midweek and beyond with two-night extravaganzas with Brad Mehldau overlapping some creative programming with visiting native son Matt Slocum, who overlaps trombone favorite Delfeayo Marsalis at the Dakota. Earlier we have a couple nights focused on young talents, the opening of a new PipJazz Season, back-to-back "bop and bossa" with Charmin & Shapira, and a public workshop and gig with a Latin percussion expert. That's just the headlines.



Big Gigs This Week

Patrick Adkins
Friday, April 4.  Challenging driving will be rewarded! At Jazz Central, it's the Jazz Police Youth Showcase night with a quartet headed by accomplished pianist Patrick Adkins, soon to graduate from Edina High School and head east. Dubbed Sound Skirmish, his quartet also includes vibes master Levi Schwartzberg, bassist Drew Stinson (both from Southwest) and drummer Ben Ehrlich (Wayzata).  

Steve Kenny
 Across the river, and also boasting some young talents, Steve Kenny's Group 47 takes the stage at the Black Dog, previewing music from their forthcoming Straight to Vinyl LP release. Steve is a virtuosic trumpeter -- or rather, flumpeter, playing a hybrid trumpet/flugelhorn, while leading a band of significantly younger lions, with 17 year old Will Kjeer on keys, barely older Thomas Strommen (sax) and Alex Burgess (drums), and a still youngish Adam Tucker on bass. If there is any ice left on the streets, Group 47 will melt it quickly. And if you are in reach of Parma 8200 in Bloomington, a night with beloved crooner Arne Fogel, pasta and cannoli might be what the weatherman ordered.

Friday-Saturday, April 4-5. It's the annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival, and probably not the first one to have snow in the forecast. But it will be hot at Memorial High School Auditorium with Byron Stripling and Wycliffe Gordon as headliners, along with a lot of clinics, student ensembles and more.



The Dakota Combo
Saturday, April 5. Continuing the Young Lions theme of the weekend, singer Pippi Ardennia opens her fourth season with the renamed PipJazz Live concert series featuring the Dakota Combo at the Capri Theater. This septet of high school jazzers is always dazzling, from their arrangements of such heavy modernists as Ornette Coleman and Charles Mingus to their own inventive compositions. Pippi again assembles a terrific house band (tonight with Peter Schimke, Jay Young and Glenn Swanson) and some additional young "artists in residence" -- pianists Will Kjeer and Jordan Anderson, vocalist Maggie Kjeer, saxophonist Ebony Rainwater, and house arranger and songwriter Jo Schad. Note new time (7 pm) as well as the new night and new venues (alternating with the Maplewood Community Center's theater).



Lila Ammons
Another vocalist known most for her boogie woogie chops initiates a new project as Lila Ammons "Presents Voices of Influence, Bessie Smith to Sarah Vaughan" with pianist Ted Godbout and special guest, boogie woogie partner, Austrian pianist Axel Zwingenberger, in the intimate space of Honey.



Charmin & Shapira
Saturday-Sunday, April 5-6.  Vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira have been pleasing wide-ranging audiences for about a decade, recently adding "Friends" as a quintet covering "Bop and Bossa." They bring this repertoire to an intimate concert setting at the Black Box Theater of the Bloomington Center for the Arts with back-to-back shows Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. Charmin and Shapira add Paul Harper on sax, Tom Lewis on bass and Nathan Norman on drums for two high-energy shows.



Tyler Anderson
Monday, April 7. Jazz Central Studios present a special opportunity tonight with a 7 pm workshop featuring Puerto Rican percussionist Efrain Toro, whose resumé includes Stan Getz, George Benson, Placido Domingo, Los Lobos, and Kiss! Toro's master class (open to the public) "focuses on rhythm in ways that are uniquely scientific and soulful with information that is truly enlightening for all musicians." After the workshop, Toro will perform a set. But stick around, this is a double-header. At 9:30 pm, the stage is turned over to another young lion, saxophonist Tyler Anderson, soon to go on the road with Delfeayo Marsalis. (Note the Toro workshop fee is $15 and limited to the first 50 or so who can fit into the room!)



Tuesday, April 8. The monthly edition of A Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog finds the ace guitarist/educator presenting ensembles from McNally Smith College of Music. Meanwhile, big band fans will enjoy the monthly gig at Jazz Central with the long-running, star-studded Cedar Avenue Big Band.


Brad Mehldau
Tuesday-Wednesday, April 8-9. Each year, Walker Art Center brings a few highly selective jazz events to the McGuire Theater. This week it's "Intuitive Expressions: A Brad Mehldau Celebration," two amazing nights with the introspective pianist in two very different collaborations. Tuesday night features an exclusive U.S. engagement of Mehldau’s duo with mandolinist/singer Chris Thile (Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek). "Thile is known as one of the most exciting forces working not only in progressive bluegrass but also across the broader folk-pop music realm." The next night, Mehldau takes the stage with his acclaimed Trio (with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, performing "stripped down, emotionally direct ballads with densely packed, abstract compositions." 


Matt Slocum
Wednesday-Thursday, April 9-10. Heading out on tour to celebrate his latest recording, Black Elk's Dream, area native drummer Matt Slocum will spend two nights in the Weyerhaeuser Auditorium of Landmark Center with an array of cohorts from near and far. Wednesday, his trio (with pianist Sam Yahel and bassist Massimo Biolcati) starts off, followed by one of the metro's finest ensembles, the Phil Hey Quartet. On Thursday, pianist Bryan Nichols leads off solo, followed by Slocum's trio and ending the night with the Dave Karr Quartet. There are rumors of a drum battle between Slocum and Hey, the latter also turning up with Karr.  Either night, there's a lot of music for $15!

Thursday, April 10. A Twin Cities favorite returns: Trombonist, record producer and NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis is back at the Dakota with his quintet. And joining him tonight and on his Midwest tour will be area native saxophonist Tyler Anderson, hot off a year of studies with Delfeayo's older brother Branford. 


Jana Nyberg
Usually on the bandstand with her quintet (Jana Nyberg Group) or soloing with husband Adam Meckler's Orchestra, tonight at Jazz Central, vocalist/flautist Jana Nyberg presents her music in a more intimate context as part of Jazz Vocal Night.

Need more brass in your life? How about a shot of New Orleans? Jack Brass Band fills the bill tonight at the Amsterdam Bar. Stick around for the late set with the McNasty Band from McNally Smith.


More Jazz Every Night!

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, April 4.  Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; St Mary's University Jazz Ensemble, Page Theater (SMU, Winona); Daniel Zamzow/Andrew Foreman Trio at Sweet 317 (St Paul);  Tim Patrick and His Blue-eyed Band at the Eagles' Club



Saturday, April 5. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Patty Peterson and Friends (with Jason DeLaire) at School II; Pigs' Eye Jass Band at the Eagles' Club; David Martin, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Maurice Jacox with Bobby E and Tom Wells at Harriet Brewing
Patty Peterson



Sunday, April 6. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social



Monday, April 7. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Southside Aces at Famous Dave's (Uptown); JT's Jazz Implosion (Dave Karr, Adam Linz, JT Bates) at the Icehouse; The Neighborhood Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, April 8. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Nova Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Café



Wednesday, April 9. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Fall of the House of Usher at Jazz Central



Thursday, April 10. Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim at Christo's (Union Depot); Jazz It Up  with Steve Cole, Joan Griffith at James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall (University of St Thomas, St Paul); Connie and Herb at The Bean (Andover); Minnesota Jazz Orchestra at Wabasha Street Caves; Roseville Big Band at Central Park Amphitheater (Woodbury)



Coming Soon!

. April 11, Catherine Russell at the Fairmont Opera House (Fairmont, MN)

. April 11, Jeremy Walker, CD Release (7 Psalms) at Bethel College

. April 12, Doc Severinsen and the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall

. April 13, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber, Jazz at the Jungle (Theater)

. April 14, Good Vibes Trio, CD Release at the Icehouse

. April 15, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota

. April 16, New Composer Ruckus Night at Studio Z

. April 17, Christopher McBride Quintet, fundraiser at Eden Prairie High School

. April 17, Lucia Newell and Phil Aaron at Jazz Central

. April 18, Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli at Orchestra Hall

. April 18, Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears at the Dakota

. April 19, Bobby McFerrin at Orchestra Hall

. April 19, Cory Healy 4-Tet, Jazz at Studio Z

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. April 21-22, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota

. April 24, Charmin & Shapira at Jazz Central

. April 25, Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200

. April 26, Miguel Zenon with the JazzMN Orchestra, Hopkins High School

. April 27, Jazz Noir with John Penny, live broadcast on KBEM from the Dakota

. April 27, Earth Day Concert, Dave Milne's One World Consort at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community

. April 28, Joe Lovano Us Five at the Dakota

. May 3, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" workshop and concert at Maplewood Community Center

. May 7, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge at the Dakota

. May 8, Jazz Thursdays with the Dakota Combo at Antonello Hall (MacPhail Center for Music)

. May 9, Jazz Police Youth Showcase featuring Will Kjeer's Blue Haven at Jazz Central

. May 10, Yohannes Tona with Geoff LeCrone and Demetrius Mabry, Jazz at Studio Z

. May 13, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

. May 15-17, Ragamala Dance Company and Rudresh Mahanthappa at the Walker

. May 19-20, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota

. May 20, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Amsterdam Bar

. May 26-27, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

. May 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota
. June 14, Jazz at Studio Z Next Gen Showcase (3 bands) featuring LP release for Steve Kenny's Group 47

. June 16-17, Maceo Parker at the Dakota

. June 18, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Branford Marsalis 6/27; Dianne Reeves 6/28; and more), Mears Park (St Paul)

. July 3-5, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano Us Five, Anat Cohen Quartet, Ingrid Jensen Nordic with Geoffrey Keezer, Jared Gold, Pedrito Martinez)

. July 7-8, Bill Frisell Quartet (Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen) at the Dakota

Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, CD Release at the Icehouse on April 14th!