Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 12-18


Bill Carrothers, in the Dunsmore Room solo on February 16

© Andrea Canter
We have a rather dramatic weekend on the jazz scene, with more than the usual number of theater-based shows, concerts, and of course Valentine's Day special gigs. And the coming week brings back hometown hero Bill Carrothers (solo piano!) among other delights.

Maud Hixson
Friday, February 12. It's not yet Valentine's Day but why wait? Make it a romantic evening at Parma 8200, where vocalist Maud Hixson always offers something new, and tonight has support from Laura Caviani and Gordy Johnson, while it's more of a swing party at Crooners Lounge, where Happy Hour features Denny Malmberg (accordion) and Paula Lammers (vocals), followed by vocalist Judi Vinar carrying on with the Wolverines Trio (Rick Carlson, Keith Boyles, Jendeen Forberg).

Gary Schulte
Swing is also in fashion at Hell's Kitchen, where Axis Mundi lives up to its name with global music infused with traditional jazz. The band of veterans includes guitarist Glen Helgeson, "fiddle god" Gary Schulte, bassist Cody McKinny, drummer Dave Stanoch, and percussion master Michael Bissonnette.

Charmin & Shapira
At Vieux Carré, Charmin and Shapira and Friends --vocalist Charmin Michelle, guitarist Joel Shapira and their usual stalwart cast--follow the early set from pianist Jeremy Walker, two good reasons to come to downtown St. Paul tonight.

Bill Stieger, No Room for Squares
Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (aka The Nicollet) brings back a bebop favorite, No Room for Squares. Led by drummer Bill Stieger, the Squares include veteran boppers Jimmie Wallace on sax, Jon Pemberton on trumpet, Mikkel Romstad on piano, and Adam Tucker on bass.  Check out the renovations of late-- a bigger stage, improved furnishings, new menu. Same great music.

Masters night at Jazz Central Studios features one of our true keyboard masters, Peter Schimke, leading a trio that should make the basement rafters shake with delight. The late set features "College Night" with Peter Shu and his students from North Central University.

Debbie Duncan
And it is the start of a Debbie Duncan weekend as Minnesota's "Perpetually Outstanding Performer" lives up to her title, starting tonight on the Eight O'Clock Jump series at Walker West Music Academy. It's a small concert setting, perfect for enjoying one of the best voices in the region, along with her talented band--pianist Adi Yeshaya, bassist Jay Young and drummer Mac Santiago.

JoAnn Funk
Friday-Saturday, February 12-13. Featuring popular songbird Ginger Commodore, the Chanhassan Dinner Theater brings us Night Full of Wonder, a tribute to Stevie Wonder. Ginger is joined by pals Geoff Jones, Chreese Jones, Yolande Bruce, Bobby Commodore, Deevo, Daryl Boudreaux, Lee Blaske, Kenni Holmen, and a few surprise guests.  And as they do every weekend through the winter, JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske soothe hearts and souls in the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel, with tunes from decades of great songwriters from Gershwin and Berlin to Blossom Dearie to Norah Jones.

James Buckley
Every weekend is also a time for some innovative music to accompany the dinner hours at the Icehouse. This weekend, bassist (and curator) James Buckley is on stage, Friday with inventive pianist Bryan Nichols, and Saturday with string magician Tim Sparks on guitar. This is not your mother's dinner music!

Saturday, February 13.  If you find yourself in south Minneapolis this afternoon, drop into Cub Foods (Nicollet and 60th) for a real treat with no calories-- Paula Lammers, Reuben Ristrom and Ray Siegl will inject some old-fashioned swing into your afternoon.

An unusual (and extra long) Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog brings jazz improvisation and poetry together as Jazz Word Jazz.  Things kick off at 5 pm with LOTRM (Steven Dwyer, Robert Branch, Will Jensen) followed by MILTD41 (Chris Bates, Will Jenson, Steve Kenny, Nathan Hanson, Greg Schutte); the opening music is then followed by three sets of poetry from Richard Broderick, Amy Nash and Jim Larson, with a closing late set of music. Think of it as a poetry sandwich.

Badi Assad
For some family fun as well as amazing music, check out Carnival Brasileiro at International Market Square, the annual gathering of all things Brazilian -- lots of great music from local ensembles, food, dance, and special guest star, Brazil's eclectic musician Badi Assad.  She's been here before, at the Dakota (where she will appear again tomorrow), wowing audiences with a hard-to-define blend of voice, guitar, mouth percussion, and body movements, not exactly dance, not exactly anything else. Thanks to festival curator Robert Everest for brining Rio to the Minni-Apple every year.

Dennis Spears
Debbie Duncan, again, tonight teams up with equally outstanding Dennis Spears for an unforgettable night of song and sass at the Dakota. This is surely one of the most dynamic pairings in area vocal jazz.

Maud Hixson & Arne Fogel
Saturday-Sunday, February 13-14. First staged in Bloomington in 2011 and reprised at Chanhassan in 2014, The Crosby-Clooney Story returns this weekend at the Capri Theater. Produced by Arne Fogel who teams up with Maud Hixson, the show brings the partnership of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney to life with great songs and commentary. The singers are backed by the Wolverines Trio to ensure every song does justice to Rosie and Bing.

Charles Lazarus
Sunday, February 14. So here it is again, Valentine's Day, and there seems to be no end to jazzy options for every budget. Start the holiday with a swing brunch at the Aster Cafe, courtesy of Patty and the Buttons, then move on to the matinee at Orchestra Hall (if you can score a ticket!) when the Minnesota Orchestra joins forces with Charles Lazarus and his jazz ensemble, augmented by singers Tonia Hughes and Carin Vagle, taking us on a ride through the great songs of the Big Band era. (Officially this concert is sold out, but check with the Box Office--there are always some tickets turned back.)

This matinee is also sold out but you can still get tickets for the evening performance of Connie Evingson's "This Funny Thing Called Love," a special Jazz at the Jungle (Theater) production with Connie's usual cohorts--pianist Jon Weber, saxophonist Dave Karr, and bassist Gordy Johnson. Songs of love, romance, and wit from the likes of Cole Porter, The Beatles, Dave Frishberg and more.

Debbie Duncan manages a double-header at Crooners Lounge, starting with an intimate duo set in the Dunsmore Room with pianist Adi Yeshaya (officially sold out), followed by a far less sedate night in the Lounge with her larger ensemble and a dance floor. No cover for either show tonight, no minimum, but plenty of choices from the bar and kitchen. No reservation in the lounge-- but come early!

DanceTime! Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra
For even more dance time, ballroom dancers will enjoy a special night at Cinema Ballroom with Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra, complete with free dance lessons ahead of the main event.

Jana Nyberg Group
Vieux Carré is not generally open on Sundays, but tonight is an exception, and exceptional. Enjoy a three-course dinner served with the dazzling music of the Jana Nyberg Group, covering jazz, blues, pop and original Jana tunes. And Parma 8200 does not typically present music on Sundays, but tonight is special-- a special dinner and music from the local king of solo piano, Chris Lomheim.

And fresh off her performance at Carnival Brasilieros (see Saturday above), Badi Assad comes to the Dakota, first for a dinner show (5 courses!) and later in the evening for a cocktail show. You need reservations, of course.

Lucia Sarmiento
Monday, February 15. Featured artist tonight at Jazz Central is a force to be reckoned with despite her relative youth. The Monk Saxophone Competition had Melissa Aldana a couple years back, but we have Lucia Sarmiento, and she could be headed on a similar trajectory. A native of Peru, Lucia is currently studying jazz saxophone at McNally Smith, but her talents are hardly as "student" -- she's been leading her own ensembles around town and at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival for the past couple years, impressing wherever she lands.  Open jam follows, as always on Mondays.




It's the monthly installment of the Cherry Spoon Collective at the Black Dog --
a multi-generational, multi-instrumental group of 15+ improvising local musician/composers who perform with such ensembles as Zeitgeist, Jelloslave, Orange Mighty Trio, Coloring Time, etc. Project leaders include members Michelle Kinney (cello), Nick Guadette (bass) and Patrick O’Keefe (sax).

Maryann Sullivan and Doug Haining
In the lounge at Crooners, enjoy the monthly swingfest with the Twin Cities 7, led by Doug Haining and featuring spouse Maryann Sullivan on vocals.

JT's Jazz Implosion offers a late night double at the Icehouse: First set: Witch Hunt: A Tribute to Wayne Shorter, with Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Michael Shulte, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Adam Harder Nussbaum, drums playing -- in full-- Speak No Evil. Second set: Deveraux/Bates Duo: Nelson Devereaux, sax; JT Bates, drums. What the heck follows Speak No Evil?

Bill Carrothers
Tuesday, February 16. Bill Carrothers first came to Crooners Lounge last fall, playing in the lounge which was not quite the listening setting we had hoped. Then the Dunsmore Room at Crooners opened in December with the Dave King Trio, featuring Bill on piano. Now he's back for his first solo gig with the Bosendorfer, and you can be sure this will be an intimate listening experience. Owner Mary T is not shy about reminding patrons that "this is a listening room." Make a reservation, come for dinner and listening... or take your conversation to the bar.

Big Band Night at Jazz Central brings the monthly gig of the Explosion Big Band, a high-energy group of local heavyweights led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster. At Vieux Carré, Chris Lomheim's solo piano warms the stage for the Paul Renz Trio

Davell Crawford*
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 16-17. Back by popular demand! Last month, New Orleans' pride of piano jazz, Davell Crawford, played two nights at the Dakota in honor of his mentor, the late Allen Toussaint. Apparently he raised the roof so high that he just had to be booked again, as soon as possible. If you missed him last month, better call now for your reservation before you're shut out again! It's the delayed encore!

King Fletcher Wood
Wednesday, February 17. On "new music" night at Jazz Central, hear King Fletcher Woods, the trio of saxman Jeff King, bassist Charles Fletcher, and drummer Eron Woods, offering new compositions.

Thursday, February 18. One more gig this week from Debbie Duncan-- tonight at Crooners in the lounge with her quartet. Tonight is a special program paying tribute to the late Natalie Cole. Crooners is fast becoming Debbie's second home!

Kevin Gastonguay, Grain
At the Dakota, Nachito Herrera plays a rare weeknight gig, warming the winter night with his fiery romps through Cuban traditions, while a different sort of firestorm is on stage at Vieux Carré, where JT Bates' organ trio, Grain, features Kevin Gastonguay on the B-3.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive jazz calendar can be found at KBEM, with more listings at Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, and of course, here on the Lead Sheet. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts; you can find promos of area jazz on the Jazz Police website and Facebook page. The live edition of The Lead Sheet can be heard at 4:40 pm on Thursdays on KBEM, rebroadcast at 8:20 am on Fridays (note later time), and recent broadcasts archived at KBEM on Demand. Special guest on February 18 will be Maryann Sullivan, half of the swinging duo Retro Swing Sister (with Rhonda Laurie), talking about their show on the Jazz @ St. Barney's concert schedule. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to KBEM (kbar264@aol.com) and print calendars.

Coming Soon!

Bill Frisell, at the Dakota February 20
. February 19, Bruce Henry at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, Graydon Peterson Quartet at Jazz Central
. February 19, JazzINK Youth Showcase with combos from Southwest High School, Paul Harper's Bardo Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 20, Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at Jazz @ St Barneys
. February 20, Bill Frisell "When You Wish Upon a Star" ensemble at the Dakota
. February 20, Solomon Parham/Steve Kenny band, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 20, Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network Salon at Town House Bar
. February 21, St. Olaf College Jazz Ensemble, fundraiser for Cuba tour at Crooners Lounge
. February 21, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Gwen Matthews, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 22, Dave Karr at Jazz Central
. February 22, Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn at the Icehouse
February 23, Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 23, Connie Evingson at Vieux Carré
. February 24, Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. February 24, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) soloists, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center at Macalester College
. February 25, Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa at Walker Art Center
. February 25, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. February 25, Jazz in the Target Atrium, Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols at Orchestra Hall
. February 25, KBEM Jazz 88 Restaurant Tour at Parma 8200 featuring Benny Weinbeck
. February 26, Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge
. February 26, Davu Seru Group, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 26, Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble with Bria Skonberg, Foss Center, Augsburg College
. February 27, Shifting Paradigm's Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z, featuring Red Planet, Bryan Nichols Solo, Adam Meckler Quintet, JT Bates Solo, and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales
. February 27, Falls Five/Eric Gravatt & Source Code, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 28, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Judi Vinar, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 29, "In the Crook," Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears, Dunsmore Room at Crooner's Lounge
. March 1, Tommy O'Donnell Tribute to Erroll Garner, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 2-3, Brian Blade Fellowship at the Dakota
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 5, Larry McDonough Quartet, Jazz @St Barneys (St Barnabas Church)
. March 6, Andrew Walesch, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 7, Lisa Fischer at the Dakota
. March 7, Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. March 8, Butch Thompson and Pat Donahue, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 11, Stokely Williams at Walker West Music Academy
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 19, Zakir Hussain at Pantages Theater
. March 21, Patty Peterson Presents Tribute to Jeanne Arland Peterson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margo, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 27, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Maria Jette, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 29, Billy Peterson and special guest, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 10-11, David Sanborn at the Dakota
. April 12, Andres Prado with Mississippi, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 15, Atlantis Quartet at Walker West Music Academy
. April 18, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at the Guthrie Theater
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 25, Nancy Harms with Jeremy Siskind, CD Release, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 26, John Raymond Quartet, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 5, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival


Hear the Lead Sheet live on Thursdays at 4:40 pm or again Fridays at 8:20 am, 
Jazz 88.5 FM, KBEM



Sco-Lo: Past Present -- and Future?


Scofield-Lovano Quartet at the Dakota

© Andrea Canter
Scofield and Lovano in Detroit
I now heard, live, two slightly different iterations of John Scofield's revived quartet with Joe Lovano, bringing their 1990s collaboration into the the 20-teens. At the Detroit Jazz Festival, Kobie Watkins sat in the drum chair in place of Bill Stewart, with bassist Ben Street reprising his earlier role. The band played in the huge Carhartt Amphitheater on the festival's Sunday night, and the crowd spilled onto the adjacent walkways, hillside and into the central space of Hart Plaza. It was perfect, high-energy post bop that was well suited to an outdoor arena, and even from the highest levels of seating, one could feel the strength of collaboration and enjoy particularly Lovano's "dance" with his instrument and his pal John Scofield. Shortly thereafter, the quartet released Past Present on Impulse,  now nominated for two Grammys (Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Best Improvised Solo), with Larry Grenadier on bass and original quartet drummer Bill Stewart.

Scofield and Lovano at the Dakota
Now I have had the indoor, more intimate experience of the quartet at the Dakota Jazz Club, here February 8-9 with Lewis Nash at the drumset. In some ways it is a very different experience to witness small ensemble jazz in a room of 200 versus an outdoor arena of 5000+, but the energy flows like lava nevertheless. Certainly the sound is more pleasing inside the Dakota and the distractions less apparent, although for an outdoor festival setting, Detroit always produces quite decent sound, and the majority in the crowd, especially for evening headliners, are attentive and usually actively enthralled. That's not always the case at the Dakota despite the often pricey tickets. But Sco-Lo and friends have a way of commanding attention regardless of the volume of the tune-- they pull you in at the first phrase, be it a all out shout from the full quartet or a dazzling preface from Lovano's sax.

Lewis Nash
I admit the pump was primed from the start, as Facebook was filled with praise for the quartet's first night, with more than one "best show I ever saw" comment. That sort of reaction can work against a band on the second night as setting an impossible standard. I won't say it was "the best show I ever saw" as such hyperbole always backfires and frankly my memory is too short these days. Just last week, the Dakota (again) brought in the remarkable Charles Lloyd and Friends quartet with Bill Frisell. Like Scofield and Lovano, Lloyd and Frisell fit together as if born of the same musical womb; unlike Scofield and Lovano, their partnership was only a couple years in the making.  I thought that was the best show I had seen locally in years. The music from Scofield/Lovano is as different from Lloyd and Frisell as Bach is different from Debussy. I'm happy we have both.

Ben Street
On February 9, the band played music from the recording -- "Slinky" and of course "Past Present," along with Lovano's "Cymbalism" and other originals, by and large tunes that focused on the powerful improvisation talents of all four artists and the exceptional energy of their collaboration. The friendly dueling between Scofield and Lovano, ax to ax, was pure joy for the ears and the eyes -- you could see the musical fireworks as well as hear them throughout. That this was not the same group as on the recording was irrelevant. Ben Street is a long-time associate of Scofield and played with the original cast early in his career; Lewis Nash is one of the most praised drummers on the scene today and no one's "sub." I'll say the same for the younger Kobie Watkins who endeared himself to the multitudes in Detroit last fall. Scofield and Lovano don't choose their sidemen lightly.

Past Present may stand firmly as documentation of the Scofield-Lovano reunion. But perhaps their next recording will consider the varying combinations of bass and drums as I suspect each configuration brings out the best in a different way. That's what jazz is.

Quartet at the Dakota





Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, February 5-11

John Scofield and Joe Lovano, at the Dakota February 8-9

© Andrea Canter

Winter Jazz Fest might be over, but it is obviously still winter, and hot jazz will keep us in a festive mood in the coming week. Masters reign across the metro this weekend, while stellar visitors and Mardi Gras celebrations highlight the week ahead.

Steven Hobert
Friday, February 5. An ensemble of area heavyweights makes its debut on the Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (aka The Nicollet) series. The Steven Hobert Quartet features an exciting group of Twin Cities musicians, with leader Hobert (piano) joined by wide-ranging bassist Yohannes Tona, nationally touring violinist Kip Jones, and up-and-coming drum sensation Arthur "LA" Buckner. This is perhaps one of the most eclectic quartets to ever perform on this jazz series!

Eric Gravatt
Jazz Central Studios hosts its Masters Series every Friday night, and no one better fits that description than Eric Kamau Gravatt. The former Weather Report drummer was already a legend in the 70s and has enjoyed a resurgence of his career over the past decade, particularly as leader of Source Code. He'll bring the band with four other local favorites-- Chris Thomson, Solomon Parham, Dean Magraw and Ron Evaniuk.

Dinner sets tonight at the Icehouse featured one of their favorite duos, guitarist Jacob Hanson and bassist James Buckley, while Todd Harper's Piano Fridays features sax innovator Nathan Hanson at the Black Dog.

Thomas Bruce
Although he came to his music career relatively late, Thomas Bruce was a quick study and is now a veteran vocalist with a bent toward Chet Baker. He's in the spotlight tonight at Parma 8200.

Start celebrating Mardi Gras a little early at Vieux Carré with the Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band. Enjoy a Sarzac before you start a second line march!

JoAnn Funk
Friday-Saturday, February 5-6. Hot off a Sunday night edition of Jazz in the Lobby Bar, pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff Brueske keep the music flowing at the Saint Paul Hotel.

Saturday, February 6. Looking for some family fun with Mardi Gras flavor? The Jack Brass Band starts celebrating early this afternoon at Como Dockside. Expect some tunes from their new CD, For Your Soul.

Dean Sorenson
Long-time jazz educator, head of Jazz Studies at the University of Minnesota, renowned arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra and more, Dean Sorenson is also an accomplished trombonist and bandleader who is not heard on the bandstand often enough. His Dean Sorenson Sextet (with Steve Kenny, David Milne, Chris Lomheim, Tom Lewis, Phil Hey) returns to the scene of their August CD release on the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series. Come early and enjoy an opening set with the Nick Syman Quartet.

Saturday night regulars include the Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200 and the Talking Strings at the Loring Pasta Bar. Dinner sets tonight at the Icehouse feature accordionist extraordinaire, Patrick Harison.

And more New Orleans grooves with the Pigs Eye Jass Band's Mardi Gras Party at the Eagles' Aerie Club, where dancing isn't just allowed, it's expected. And tonight, there will also be beads and a Second Line parade through the hall.

Dean Magraw
Anyone living in southeast Minnesota or heading that way, guitarist Dean Magraw and long-time cohort, fiddler and mandolinist Peter Ostroushko will be at the Oak Center General Store in Lake City tonight -- a string extravaganza!

And Hell is the destination for a night with Arne Fogel and the Wolverines-- Hell's Kitchen, that is! Even Satan would love this show.

Sunday, February 7. Patty and the Buttons (aka Patrick Harison and friends) hold their usual brunch party at the Aster, while guitar guru Zacc Harris and his trio take their weekly spot in a tight corner of the Riverview Wine Bar.

Dan Chouinard's "Birthday Club" in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners features the multiple talents of singer/actor Dane Stauffer, an alum of Childrens' Theater and NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.

Irv Williams
Monday, February 8. No one belongs in the Spotlight Artist slot at Jazz Central more than 96-year-old sax legend Irv Williams. With pals Steve Blons, Billy Peterson and Dave Graf, this is likely to be the most mellow show you'll hear in this room! 

Big band fans will enjoy the monthly installment of the Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge; the band should be warmed up from last weekend's opening gig at the Winter Jazz Festival.

Lovers of the local avant garde scene have options East and West tonight: Sax magician George Cartwright leads an ensemble at the Black Dog with Bill Horvitz on guitar and vocals, Doan Brian Roessler on bass, and Davu Seru on drums. 

And late night improvisation prevails at the Icehouse for JT's Jazz Implosion, featuring Six Families, three sets: 1) Michelle Kinney's Too Choose (Kinney, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Joe Peterson and Davu Seru); 2) Rice with Mark Engelmann and Toby Ramaswamy; and 3) Adam Zahller's Rillwands.
Scofield-Lovano Quartet
Monday-Tuesday, February 8-9. Just last week, the audience at the Dakota witnessed what has to be one of the most telepathic, sublime collaborations in modern jazz with Charles Lloyd and Bill Frisell, along with Lloyd's frequent partners, Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland. With the stage still smoldering from that  2 1/2 hour set, another, longer-standing partnership lands at the Dakota for two nights -- the John Scofield-Joe Lovano Quartet with ace cohorts Ben Street and Lewis Nash. The Scofield-Lovano pairing dates back to the early 90s, reuniting in 2008 after a 20-year gap, and now touring together again.They released Past Present last fall with Bill Stewart at the drumset.

A rare Monday night brings Mardi Gras to Vieux Carré with an equally rare national show from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and the DDBB is back on Tuesday night for an even bigger celebration. These popular brass experts guarantee evenings of fun-- if you move fast to reserve your seats, another rarity at VC-- reservations! (Tuesday night sold out!)

Reuben Ristrom
Tuesday, February 9. Second Tuesday means the Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central, while Fat Tuesday puts Reuben Ristrom and Friends in the party-friendly lounge at Crooners in lieu of the usual instrumental jazz night in the Dunsmore Room.

And the Nova Jazz Orchestra holds its monthly bash at the Minnesota Music Cafe -- part of the club's Mardi Gras Night, with vocalist Tony DeMarco. More Mardi Gras madness at the Amsterdam Bar with the best of NOLA in the Twin Cities -- Jack Brass Band.

Wednesday, February 10.  It's the second of three installments of a new Chris Bates project at Jazz Central, working through new music with young talents, Ted Olsen on bass and Matt Buckner on drums.

Mary Louise Knutson
At Vieux Carré, pianist Mary Louise Knutson goes solo, just back from a winter tour with Doc Severinsen; she's followed by the eclectic magic of New Shoes-- the same ensemble that performed on Prairie Home Companion as Guy's All Star Shoe Band (Gary Raynor, Richard Kreihn, Joe Savage and Peter Johnson).

Gary Burton, Mack Av Superband
Thursday, February 11. Just how many jazz stars can you put on the Dakota stage in one band? The Mack Avenue Superband is an assemblage of the Detroit record label's top recording artists. In addition to performing together at every Detroit Jazz Festival, the band records a new album every year. This will be the Superband's debut performance in the Twin Cities. Led by acclaimed bassist Christian McBride and his trio (Christian Sands on piano and Carl Allen on drums), the Superband also includes vibes giant Gary Burton, trumpet king Sean Jones, and sax/flute titan Tia Fuller.

Adam Meckler Orchestra
At Vieux Carré, it's local superstars-- guitarist Joel Shapira opening for the young and restless Adam Meckler Orchestra, while the tiny music space at Khyber Pass will be filled with sound experiments from Adam Linz' Le Percheron, featuring vibes prodigy Levi Schwartzberg and young drum master Cory Healey.

Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central brings in a singer with a most appropriate (and real!) name -- Melody Mendis. A veteran of jazz and cabaret, Melody teams up with Tim Graham, Tom Lewis and Jon de Vaal for this 60s-themed show of jazz and light pop tunes.

More vocal jazz -- Lila Ammons is back at the Bad Waitress with a quartet featuring Peter Schimke on piano.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive jazz calendar can be found at KBEM, with more listings at Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, and of course, here on the Lead Sheet. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts; you can find promos of area jazz on the Jazz Police website and Facebook page. The live edition of The Lead Sheet can be heard at 4:40 pm on Thursdays on KBEM, rebroadcast at 8:20 am on Fridays (note later time), and recent broadcasts archived at KBEM on Demand. Special guest on February 11 will be vibes master Dave Hagedorn, head of jazz ensembles at St. Olaf College, who will share news and a preview of the college jazz band's upcoming tour to Cuba. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars!

Coming Soon!
. February 12, Judi Vinar and the Wolverines at Crooners Lounge
. February 12, No Room for Squares, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 12-14, "Night of Wonder": Tribute to Stevie Wonder, Ginger Commodore and friends at Chanhassen Dinner Theater
. February 13, Butch Thompson master class and performance at MacPhail Center for Music, Antonello Hall
. February 13, Debbie Duncan and Dennis Spears at the Dakota
. February 13-14, Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson, "Crosby-Clooney Story" at the Capri Theater
. February 13, Carnival Brasileros at International Market Square
. February 13, MacPhail Spotlight Series, "Brazil" (Antonello Hall)
. February 13, Jazz Word Jazz Night, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 14, Charles Lazarus at Orchestra Hall
. February 14, Badi Assad, Valentine's Day Dinner/Cocktail shows at the Dakota
. February 14, Debbie Duncan, "Songs in the Key of Love" Valentine's Day show in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, followed by Debbie in the Lounge
. February 14, Jazz at the Jungle, Connie Evingson with Jon Weber, Gordy Johnson and Dave Karr at the Jungle Theater (2 shows)
. February 15, Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil performed by Jake Baldwin, Michael Shults, Ted Godbout, Chris Bates and Adam Nussbaum at the Icehouse
. February 15, Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 with Maryann Sullivan at Crooners Lounge
. February 16, Bill Carrothers, solo piano in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 16-17, Davell Crawford Tribute to Allen Toussaint (Encore) at the Dakota
. February 18, Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, Bruce Henry at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, Graydon Peterson Quartet at Jazz Central
. February 19, JazzINK Youth Showcase, Paul Harper's Bardo Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 20, Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at Jazz @ St Barneys
. February 20, Bill Frisell "When You Wish Upon a Star" ensemble at the Dakota
. February 20, Solomon Parham/Steve Kenny band, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 20, Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network Salon at Town House Bar
. February 21, St. Olaf College Jazz Ensemble, fundraiser for Cuba tour at Crooners Lounge
. February 21, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Gwen Matthews, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 22, Dave Karr at Jazz Central
. February 22, Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn at the Icehouse
February 23, Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 23, Connie Evingson at Vieux Carré
. February 24, Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. February 25, Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa at Walker Art Center
. February 25, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. February 25, Jazz in the Target Atrium, Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols at Orchestra Hall
. February 25, KBEM Jazz 88 Restaurant Tour at Parma 8200 featuring Benny Weinbeck
. February 26, Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge
. February 26, Davu Seru Group, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 26, Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble with Bria Skonberg, Foss Center, Augsburg College
. February 27, Shifting Paradigm's Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z
. February 27, Falls Five/Eric Gravatt & Source Code, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 28, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Judi Vinar, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 29, "In the Crook," Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears, Dunsmore Room at Crooner's Lounge
. March 2-3, Brian Blade Fellowship at the Dakota
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 5, Larry McDonough Quartet, Jazz @St Barneys (St Barnabas Church)
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 19, Zakir Hussain at Pantages Theater
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margo, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 10-11, David Sanborn at the Dakota
. April 18, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at the Guthrie Theater
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

Hear the live edition of the Lead Sheet on Jazz 88.5 FM, KBEM, Thursdays at 4:40 pm, rebroadcast on Fridays at 8:20 am! 

Debbie Duncan --Valentine's Day at Crooners Lounge

When Music Is the Magic


Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell Quartet at the Dakota

© Andrea Canter

Charles Lloyd and Bill Frisell
Much of the Twin Cities metro area was simply closed on Tuesday night. While it was hardly the worst snowstorm in history--not even close, by midafternoon driving was treacherous and the forecast of blizzard conditions convinced many clubs and event centers to shut down for the night. The Pete Whitman X-Tet was pre-empted at Crooners; Chris Lomheim and Fuzzy Math were closed out at Vieux Carré;  Big Band Night became No Band Night at Jazz Central. But at the Dakota in downtown Minneapolis, the prevailing attitude was "the show must go on." Fortunately the musicians had arrived ahead of the storm. And it would have been a tragic loss to the sold-out crowd--most of whom made it to the show--had the club shut down a most eagerly anticipated night with Charles Lloyd and Bill Frisell, each a working legend in his own right. With bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland --frequent associates of Lloyd, this ensemble has been gaining momentum over the past two years, sometimes as a quartet, sometimes as a quintet ("Marvel"), adding pedal steel expert and longtime Frisell collaborator Greg Liesz.

Charles Lloyd
Neither Lloyd nor Frisell are strangers to the Twin Cities or the Dakota, as each tends to find his way here every year or two, and both brought strong shows to the Dakota in 2015. But put these icons together -- "spontaneous combustion" does not really convey the brightness of the sparks, the height of the soaring sky rockets, the intensity of the camaraderie, or the transcendence of the spirits. Four artists held the attention of 200+ listeners (and indeed, this was an audience of listeners!) for nearly two and a half hours of a single set, many of the tunes folding into each other as a grand jazz epic. Frisell and I are about the same 60-something and I can't imagine standing on stage that long, with or without performing. Lloyd is 77 and a leading force on every tune, mostly played this night on tenor, taking breaks only to yield the magic wand to his pals while sitting back, briefly, to urge them to higher and higher glory. Rogers and Harland are in their 40s, but in no way out-gunned their elders.

Bill Frisell and Reuben Rogers
The setlist itself --never announced--was drawn from the history of jazz and the global roots of all music, not at all unusual for either Lloyd or Frisell who are both geniuses of interpretation and reinvention. There were plenty of post-bop exchanges, as well as hints of Middle Eastern and European folk, country blues, Latin syncopation, spirituals and gospel, Americana and 60s pop, with unique takes on such familiar fare as "Shenendoah," "In My Room," "Abide With Me," and the stunning final encore, "You Are So Beautiful." Yes, a third encore (or was it four?). Neither the audience nor the band wanted to call it a night.

Eric Harland
Some highlights were as much visual as aural, particularly the interaction among pairs-- Lloyd and Frisell of course, eyeing each other and smiling throughout; the two stringmen, Frisell and Rogers, as if dueling with the utmost respect while each determined to reach Nirvana first. And Harland always driving the bus but eager to find each of his cohort's preferred highway.

In the end, sound is everything, and every sound contributed to the journey, solo or in tandem or in full ensemble harmony. And no one was happier with the results than the four musicians on stage. But those of us in the audience were close behind.

The storm was pretty much over by the end of the show and really was not all that memorable. We'll probably have a few more like it before the season ends in April. As for the musical experience this night at the Dakota, I only hope I have a few more like it ... period.  To quote Abbey Lincoln, "music is the magic of a secret world," and every once in a while, we stumble upon an ensemble that brings us into that world.

Final bows