Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 2018

Donny McCaslin coming to the Dakota, February 28
© Andrea Canter

[Starting this month, primary publication of the Lead Sheet moves to Jazz Police. Click the link below to read the full Lead Sheet. Updated 2-23-2018]
An old favorite (Sergio Mendes), hot horn (Donny McCaslin), guitar legend (Stanley Jordan), and young jazz hero (John Raymond) head the list of visitors this month, while the Jazz Women All-Stars and other local star ensembles (Bottomless Pit, Lulu's Playground, Red 5, many more) bring the best in the Midwest to metro venues in February.

Big Gigs This Month
Thursday, February 1. Making their Vieux Carre' debut, Bottomless Pit has entertained for a few years now, featuring Weather Report drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt, guitar genie Joel Shapira, sax great Pete Whitman, and veteran bassist Tom Lewis. Pianist/trumpeter Jon Pemberton opens the evening.

Friday, February 2. The recent Winter Jazz Festival at Crooners opened with the students of the Dakota Combo and closed with one of their most accomplished alumni, trumpeter Jake Baldwin. Leading his quartet (with Joe Strachan on piano, Ted Olsen on bass, and Miguel Hurtado on drums) in the Dunsmore Room for the festival, Jake now brings the band to the Illicit Jazz Workshop at Jazz Central tonight.

Seems Framework is playing more often this winter and that is a very good thing. Jay Epstein, Chris Bates and Chris Olson make trio magic in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, on the Friday "late show" series. Another guitar guru, Park Evans performs at Vieux Carre' with vocalist Katie Gearty.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 2018

Bottomless Pit, at Vieux Carre' on February 1

© Andrea Canter

[The Lead Sheet is published monthly and updated weekly. Updated 1/28/18]

Jazz fans hopefully have some relevant New Year's resolutions-- to get out and hear more live jazz, to attend more diverse jazz events in the area, to contribute to our stellar non-profit jazz organizations and venues. Artists, club owners, and curators are wasting no time getting a new year of music underway -- already the January calendar boasts such international talents as Jon Weber, Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut and Roberta Gambarini, with the third annual Winter Jazz Festival welcoming headliners Regina Carter and Butch Miles.  And local talents start the new year right, including gigs from Framework, Travis Anderson Trio with Connie Evingson, the Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson's "He Said, She Said," Steve Kenny's Group 47, a live recording session from Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak, and an already-sold out performance from Fat Kid Wednesdays, among other offerings.

Big Gigs This Month

Jon Weber
Tuesday, January 2. Unofficially an honorary resident of the Twin Cities, pianist Jon Weber is a fixture of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and a frequent performer with Connie Evingson at the Jungle Theater. He's appeared a few times with Connie in the Dunsmore Room, where he now brings his "History of the Piano" show. Probably no active musician is as well versed in the piano's history and many styles as Jon Weber. Expect not only a few history lessons but a very entertaining evening as well.

Rose Lewis
Wednesday, January 3. A star composer and trombonist, Rose Lewis is back on stage as an active performer and bandleader after being sidelined by illness for the past 16 years. At Jazz Central tonight, Rose Lewis and Friends present new original music on the New Boundaries series curated by Jon Morgan. And it's a talented pool of friends--Greg Lewis on trumpet, Dave Milne and Nathan Hanson on saxes, Graydon Peterson on bass, and young lions Will Schmid on guitar and Edmund Catlin on drums.

At the Dakota, the ever-popular Travis Anderson Trio adds another big draw--vocalist Connie Evingson. This will be one of the most swinging nights of music you'll hear this month!

Will Schmid
Thursday, January 4. Guitarist Will Schmid is home on holiday break from studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and he's making the most of his "down" time. After warming up with Rose Lewis last night, Will has assembled an all-star band of his own, at the Black Dog with Jake Baldwin, Graydon Peterson, and Jesse Thorson.

For the first Vocal Jazz Night of 2018, Jazz Central and curator Sarah M. Greer present Vicky Mountain with guitarist David Martin with a night of hip Pop and cool originals – and a favorite standard or two thrown in for seasoning. And some surprise guests!

At Vieux Carre', renowned educator Tom Wells leads the new Selby Avenue Brass Band.

Solomon Parham
Friday, January 5. The Illicit Jazz Workshop at Jazz Central presents the Solomon Parham Quintet, featuring Eric Gravatt on drums, Ron Evaniuk on bass, Andy Nelson on saxes and Phil Aaron on piano. In the Dunsmore Room, the Friday late night series continues with Pete Whitman's Mississippi, featuring 
Kavyesh Kaviraj on keys, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Kevin Washington on drums.

Saturday, January 6. It might seem like an unlikely combination, but veteran bluesman Cornbread Harris has recently teamed up with jazz/Brazilian guitarist John Penny. They present their collaboration over brunch at the Icehouse.

Joe Mayo
The Saturday night jazz series continues at Boom Island Brewing under the curatorial skills of Jesse Simon. Tonight, "youngish veterans" of the Joe Mayo Quartet take the bandstand in the Boom Room. Joining saxophonist Mayo will be trumpeter Omar AdbulKarim, bassist Ted Olsen, and drummer Pete James Johnson.

Nick Adams (Liquid Vinyl)
Now well into its fourth year of weekly gigs, the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series features the too-seldom-heard Group 47, led by series curator Steve Kenny on Flumpet, with Thomas Strommen on sax, Will Kjeer on piano, Adam Tucker on bass and Alex Burgess on drums. The opening set features the almost-monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase, tonight presenting Liquid Vinyl, an octet led by high school drummer Nick Adams.

Sunday, January 7. The big band sounds of the Acme Jazz Company return to Crooners Lounge, joined by frequent vocal partner Arne Fogel.

Monday, January 8. JT's Jazz Implosion explodes at the Icehouse tonight, with Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio. Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey join Chris on this long-running late night series.

Maud Hixson
Tuesday, January 9. Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson are back in the Dunsmore Room, this time with their salute to women songwriters of the flapper, swing and bebop eras in "She Said, She Said." At Vieux Carre', it's JT Bates' Grain Trio featuring Kevin Gastonguay on B-3--part of the trio's January residency.

Chris Olson
At the Black Dog, guitarist/educator Chris Olson holds his monthly Chris Olson Project night, this one honoring the many students and colleagues from McNally Smith with whom he has performed and who suddenly found themselves professionally (if not literally) homeless when the school closed last month.

Wednesday, January 10. Maryann (Sullivan) and the Moneymakers issued a "Swing Alert"-- they'll be on stage at Vieux Carre' and if you aren't in a swinging mood when you arrive, you surely will be before the night is over! 

One of the region's longest-running collaborations, Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) starts a year of celebration on the "New Boundaries" night at Jazz Central. Their diverse original music offers "interactive, explosive and melancholy conversations that express their musical companionship."
Mary Louise Knutson Trio

Thursday, January 11. "Piano trio finery" is how critics have described the Mary Louise Knutson Trio. With long-time partners Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums, pianist MLK is back in the Dunsmore Room tonight.

Aja Parham
At Jazz Central, Vocal Jazz night features Aja Parham--and she's not as well known as some of our top vocalists around town, but she ought to be. 

Andrew Walesch
And at the Icehouse, what might be one of the most intriguing collaborations of the year-- singer/pianist Andrew Walesch leads a quartet of unlikely cohorts, with Brandon Wozniak on sax, James Buckley on bass and Dave King on drums. And there will be a real grand piano on stage this evening! 

Friday, January 12. The Illicit Jazz Workshop presents the Joel Shapira Quartet at Jazz Central. Acclaimed guitarist Joel leads a band that largely draws from his Bottomless Pit ensemble, with Pete Whitman on sax and Tom Lewis on bass, adding drummer Dave Schmalenberger to the mix.

James Wallace, No Room for Squres
Saturday, January 13. Two bands that, between them, cover much of the jazz spectrum since the 60s, should bring a diverse audience to Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog. Opening will be No Room for Squares, featuring some of the most respected veterans in town--Bill Stieger on drums, James "Jimmyapolis" Wallace on sax, Mikkel Romstad on keys, Adam Tucker on bass. In the headline slot, a trio of modern improvisers--Dave King (drums), George Cartwright (sax) and Josh Granowski (bass), aptly named King/Cartwright/Granowski.

The swinging Song Sisters are back, this time at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis -- Vicky Mountain, Dorothy Doring and Connie Dussl. And at Boom Island Brewing, the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective, led by Jesse Simon, offers "part one" of a tribute to the great soul saxophonist, Hank Mobley with two of the region's finest--Joe Mayo and Dave Brattain.

And modifying the name of one of the region's great trios, some teen jazzers hope to follow the footsteps of their idols, under the name Skinny Kid Fridays. Actually they are performing on Saturday at the Warming House--August McKinney, Jorgen Linne, and Nick Adams.

Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak

Saturday-Sunday, January 13-14. A weekend of duo live recording by two of our most creative musicians in one of our most pleasing sound settings: Pianist Bryan Nichols and saxophonist Brandon Wozniak pair up in the Dunsmore Room, and there will be a recording as a result. The project grew out of their mutual love of the Stan Getz/Kenny Barron recording People Time, and will be an "intimate exploration of our own music and jazz standards." 

Charlie Lincoln
Monday, January 15. Bassist Charlie Lincoln has enjoyed a long winter break from studies at Berklee College of Music, and he has made the most of opportunities to perform around town. Tonight he leads a group at Jazz Central featuring two more bright lights among our local collegians-- violinist/vocalist Zosha Warpeha, on break from the New School for Contemporary Music in New York, and Patrick Adkins, home from Lawrence Conservatory. They're joined by two of Charlie's cohorts from Berklee, Dan Elbert (alto sax) and Aksel Coe (drums).

JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features the incendiary Atlantis Quartet--Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig. And another institution of local jazz, Red Planet returns for their monthly gig at the Black Dog.

Tuesday, January 16. Big Band Night at Jazz Central features the Explosion Big Band, led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster. And continuing his month-long residency, JT Bates brings his Grain Trio (with Kevin Gastonguay on B-3) to Vieux Carre'.

Roy Hargrove
Tuesday-Wednesday, January 16-17. It's pretty much an annual event: The Roy Hargrove Quintet performs at the Dakota, featuring one of the genre's top trumpeters in the company of one of modern jazz's top ensembles. Long-time associates Justin Robinson (sax), Ameen Saleem (bass), and Quincy Phillps (drums) will be with Roy at the Dakota, along with newer addition,
Tadataka Unno on piano.

Wednesday, January 17. It will be a swing affair at Vieux Carre' tonight, leading off with Rick Carlson on piano, leading into a salute to Louis Armstrong from the Southside Aces. 

 At Jazz Central, Pete Whitman presents Elaine Burt and Friends, trumpeter Elaine with a cast of well-regarded locals including Pete on sax, Mary Louise Knutson on piano, Chris Bates on bass and Mac Santiago on drums.

Mankwe Ndosi
Thursday, January 18. Any project involving vocalist/spoken word artist Mankwe Ndosi will be unique. At Jazz Central for "vocal jazz night," she brings her Sema Yote project to the basement venue for "an evening of CoExistence for all beliefs. All instruments welcome." Join in.

Aaron Hedenstrom
Friday, January 19. The Illicit Jazz Workshop at Jazz Central presents Open Story, a trio made up of two-thirds Red Planet (Dean Magraw and Jay Epstein), swapping out bass for piano (Bryan Nichols). It will likely be just as "out of this world." Meanwhile, "up north" in Fridley, hear a mostly younger generation of jazz talents as the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet takes the late night slot in the Dunsmore Room (with Zacc Harris, Ted Godbout, Graydon Peterson, Pete James Johnson).

Zacc Harris
Saturday, January 20. Saturday Night at the Black Dog kicks off with the Sightless Quartet (featuring guitarist Cody Steinmann), followed by the Zacc Harris Group with Bryan Nichols and the Bates brothers. 

In the Boom Room at Boom Island Brewing, jazz tonight features vibes master Levi Schwartzberg, who impressed audiences a few weeks ago in a tribute to the late Bobby Hutcherson.

Sam Miltich
Sunday, January 21. It's Django Reinhardt's birthday and who better to lead a celebration than Grand Rapids guitarist Sam Miltich, in the Dunsmore Room.
Roberta Gambarini
Sunday-Monday, January 21-22. All-star collaborations don't get much better than this one: The powerhouse Cyrus Chestnut Trio, most recently in town for the 2016 Winter Jazz Fest, teams up with internationally acclaimed vocalist Roberta Gambarini.

Monday, January 22.  (NOTE: Due to our snowstorm, it is likely that all scheduled gigs tonight are canceled-- check with the venue.) It's hard to resist a band dubbed the Rhinoceros Dynasty, debuting tonight at Jazz Central and featuring an intriguing cross section of top area jazzers: Leader Aaron Hedenstrom on saxes and electronics, Jake Baldwin on trumpet and electronics, Chris Graham on guitar, Javi Santiago on keys, Ted Olsen on bass and Pete James Johnson on drums.

JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse hosts a double feature of bands led by drummer Joey VanPhillips. The first set marks the Implosion debut of Really Big Shoe, with Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl on saxes, Ted Olsen and bass, and Van Phillips of course on drums. Joey heads a trio for set two with Nathan Hanson (reeds) and Erik Fratzke (bass). 

Joey Van Phllips

 Wednesday, January 24. The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project presents "Greatest Hits," including interviews with Freddie Hubbard, Roy Haynes, Carmen McRae, Bill Evans, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer and more.  Enjoy this monthly fix of the jazz imagery and priceless interviews of jazz greats by Leigh Kamman.

Jeremy Siskind
Friday, January 26. Pianist Jeremy Siskind comes to town to lead a student piano workshop, and he's also teaming up with the Bates brothers for a trio night in the Dunsmore Room. He's previously performed here with frequent collaborator, vocalist Nancy Harms.

Phil Hey
The Illicit Jazz Workshop at Jazz Central presents one of the region's favorites, the Phil Hey Quartet. Going on for about two decades, the PHQ draws from the likes of Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, John Coltrane and more, with leader Phil at the trapset, Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Phil Aaron on the piano, and Tom Lewis on bass.  

Pete Snell
Saturday, January 27.  The weekly Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog opens with veteran saxman Pete Snell and his trio, followed by the Bryan Nichols Quintet, tonight featuring a new line-up with Bryan on keys, Brandon Wozniak on saxes, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Davu Seru on drums. 

In the Boom Room at Boom Island Brewing, the popular Minnesota Hard Bop Collective offers Part 2 of its Hank Mobley project. Meanwhile at Jazz Central, it's Leigh Kamman Legacy Night featuring Leigh's interview with Pat Metheny and live music from the Zacc Harris Trio. All proceeds benefit the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project.

Regina Carter
Sunday, January 28. The third annual Winter Jazz Festival moves to a new venue with a new partnership --Crooners Lounge. With two stages (the lounge and the Dunsmore Room) going throughout the afternoon and evening, both large and small ensembles will feature the best local talents as well as headliners Regina Carter and Butch Miles. Tickets will be limited to 250, so purchase online at

Monday-Tuesday, January 29-30. The reigning king of NOLA piano, Davell Crawford returns to the Dakota for two nights. One of the most popular shows at the Dakota whenever he's in town.

JT Bates
Tuesday, January 30. JT Bates closes out his month-long residency at Vieux Carre' with his Grain Trio, featuring Kevin Gastonguay on B-3 and Zacc Harris on guitar. More piano--Ted Godbout plays the opening sets.

More Jazz!
See the Live jazz calendar posted below, another on the KBEM website, and see more about jazz events at --online and on facebook.

Coming Soon!

. February 1, Jon Pemberton/ Bottomless Pit at Vieux Carre'
. February 2, Jake Baldwin Quartet at Jazz Central 
. February 2, Katie Gearty and Park Evans at Vieux Carre' 
. February 2, Framework in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 3, Steve Kenny Quartet/Lulu's Playground at the Black Dog
. February 3, Maurice Jacox at Normandy Kitchen 
. February 3, Pete Whitman Trio in the Boom Room, Boom Island Brewing
. February 3, Southside Aces with Butch Thompson at Crooners Lounge
. February 5, Chris Bates' Red 5 at the Icehouse 
. February 6, McNally Smith Fundraiser with Adam Meckler Orchestra and MSCM Faculty  Ensemble at Vieux Carre'
. February 6, Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central
. February 6, Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge
. February 7, Kevin Gastonguay/ Rhonda Laurie at Vieux Carre' 
. February 7, Davu Seru and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Duo at Jazz Central
. February 8, Cartwright/Metzger/Linz at Khyber Pass
. February 9, Really Big Shoe at Jazz Central 
. February 9, JC Sanford Quartet in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 10, John Devine Quartet/Jazz Bridge Project at the Black Dog
. February 10, Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows at the Aster Cafe'
. February 11, Jazz Women All Stars in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 11, Mike Eckroth at Jazz Central 
. February 12, John Raymond's Real Feels CD Release at the Icehouse
. February 16, Babatunde Lea and Ensemble Chombo at Jazz Central 
. February 16, Debbie Duncan at Vieux Carre' 
. February 16, James Buckley Trio in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 17, Elevator Jazz (JazzINK Youth Showcase)/Sam Miltich Quartet with Dave Karr at the Black Dog 
. February 19, Stanley Jordan at the Dakota
. February 20, Chris Lomheim/Katia Cardenas at Vieux Carre' 
. February 21, Rick Carlson/Louis Armstrong Night with Southside Aces at Vieux Carre'
. February 23, Sergio Mendes at the Dakota 
. February 23, Cory Steinmann Sightless Quartet at Jazz Central
. February 24, Ahmad and the Creators, Twilight Sentinel at the Black Dog
. February 28, Donny McCaslin Group at the Dakota
. March 1, Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra at the Dakota
. March 2, Lucia Sarmiento Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 7, 2018, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. March 8-11, Charles Lloyd 80th Birthday Celebration at the Dakota
. March 10, Jazz Mn Orchestra Commission Project at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 13, Melissa Aldana at Vieux Carre'
. March 13-14, Jose James at the Dakota 
. March 18, Jane Monheit at the Dakota 
. March 28, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
. March 30-31, Debbie Duncan CD Release at the Dakota 
. April 7, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Bill Evans at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 24, John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet at Hopkins Center for Arts 
. June 12, Diana Krall at Ordway

Cyrus Chestnut, at the Dakota January 21-22 with Roberta Gambarini

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, December 2017

Hoaxer at the Black Dog, December 30

© Andrea Canter

[The Lead Sheet is published monthly and updated weekly. Updated 12-24-17]

Our spring-like weather will probably fade into winter -- after all, it is winter in Minnesota! But falling temperatures (and perhaps the white stuff too) will be countered by rising heat from both local and visiting jazz artists as we count down 2017. This month we welcome such touring talents as Earl Klugh, Brad Mehldau, Benny Green, Joey DeFrancesco,  Bobby Lyle, Chris Speed, John Raymond, and of course, ending the year as well as the original configuration, The Bad Plus. From our local scene, Brandon Wozniak kicks off the month in a leading role; traditions like White Christmas at the Heights with  Maud and Rick and the Peterson Family "Jam Before Christmas" return;  Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson again reprise their "Crosby-Clooney Story"; Laura Caviani releases her second recording in two months; Andrew Walesch celebrates Sinatra; JazzMN swings in the holidays; and a long list of young guns do their best to make winter break a "Jazz Futures" blowout.

Big Gigs This Month
Brandon Wozniak
Friday, December 1. Everyone's favorite collaborator and sideman, we never see saxophonist Brandon Wozniak stepping out in front. So no surprise that when he leads a trio, it will be at one of the most cherished jazz venues in the Metro (the Dunsmore Room at Crooners) in the company of internationally acclaimed cohorts--bassist Anthony Cox and drummer JT Bates.

Jax Ravel
Young bassist Jax Ravel has been building his cred around town, leading a revolving cast of his "Gang" which plays on the Illicit Jazz Workshop schedule tonight at Jazz Central. His cohorts include some of our brightest young jazzers--Nelson Devereaux on saxes, Joe Strachan on piano, and Miguel Hurtado on drums.

Saturday , December 2. Another new jazz venue--the Chilkoot Cafe and Cycle Shop in Stillwater is offering some of the area's top artists on Saturday nights, tonight featuring JT Bates, Mike Lewis and Thomas Nordlund. The menu also features some of the most creative cuisine in the region so make it a dinner/jazz night.

Peter Kogan
Saturday Night at the Black Dog features former Minnesota Orchestra tympanist Peter Kogan and his "Monsterful Wonder Band," a hard boppin' septet that highlights Kogan's drum chops along with Geoff Senn, Pete Whitman and Scott Agster on horns, Chris Olson on guitar, Joe Strachan on piano, and Jeff Bailey on bass. The night opens with Le Voyage--Matt Trice and Donald Washington on sax, Dick Studer on bass, and Steve Hirsh on drums.

Jazz at St Barneys offers a trio of swingers-- Butch Thompson, Tony Balluff, and Steve Pikal.

Patty Peterson
Sunday, December 3.  Patty Peterson brings the holiday spirit to the Dunsmore Room with "A Season of Love," and you will love her supporting cast-- Sean Turner on keys and Tony Axtell on bass. No doubt there will be surprise guests!

Brad Mehldau
Sunday-Monday, December 3-4. There are few artists working today who have generated as much comment and praise as pianist Brad Mehldau. Performing solo and in interesting duo combinations over the past decade, it was "art of the trio" that first brought him international acclaim in the mid -late 90s, and generate a strong fistful of albums that set his career on star trajectory. The trio format is again Mehldau's most generative format, and with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, he's back for two nights, four sets of trio magic at the Dakota.

Maryann Sullivan
Tuesday, December 5. Count on Maryann Sullivan to brighten your holidays with swinging favorites. She's at Vieux Carre' with her Moneymakers; pianist Steven Hobert plays the opening sets.   In the Dunsmore Room again, songsters Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson are back with another performance of The Crosby Clooney Story. Hear it for the first time or enjoy this partnership again.

Joey D
Wednesday, December 6. B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco is typically heard in trio format but he is touring with a quartet dubbed The People (with sax, bass and drums), and his 2017 recording, Project Freedom, just named a Grammy nominee in the Best Instrumental Jazz category. He's at the Dakota for one night, two sets.

Laura Caviani
About six weeks ago, Laura Caviani and her trio (Chris Bates, Dave Schmalenberger) celebrated the release of her Mysterious Thelonious tribute to Monk. Now Laura has a second album to celebrate, this one of original music dubbed Confluence, and the release party takes place tonight in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners.

Thursday, December 7. Khyber Pass might be pretty small as a music venue, but the music palette spreads far and wide. Tonight it's Music Formerly Known as Jazz: A Continuing Conversation with J. Otis Powell ?!, performed by Douglas Ewart, Pat O'Keefe and Steve Hirsh.

Eric Gravatt
Friday, December 8. Two veterans a few generations apart star tonight: On the Illicit Jazz Workshop schedule, one of the legends of jazz drumming, Eric Kamau Gravatt leads his long-running Source Code ensemble at Jazz Central. His line-up is a bit different than in recent years, with two saxes Dean Brewington and Aaron Kippola) joining trumpet master Solomon Parham and long-time cohort, bassist Ron Evaniuk.

In the late night slot in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, 20-something Javi Santiago leads a trio--his usual cohorts are Ted Olsen and Miguel Hurtado. 
Rodney Ruckus

Saturday, December 9. What's all the ruckus? Ruckus--Rodney Ruckus--is back in town for a visit, and headlining the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog night with touring partner Jonathan Greenstein on sax and local pals Javi Santiago on piano and Jax Ravel on bass. The opening set features vocalist Lila Ammons and her quartet (Ted Godbout, Tom Lewis, Nathan Norman).

If you are heading to Orchestra Hall, and even if you aren't, come by early for the pre-concert freebie with the Mary Louise Knutson Trio. You really don't have to stay for the orchestra concert--you can head on out for more jazz!  And just down the street at the Dakota, you can catch the great Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera and his ensemble, the Universals. Guaranteed to warm up the coldest Minnesota night!

Benny Green
Sunday-Monday, December 10-11. Benny Green has been a popular visitor to the Twin Cities for many years, going back to his days with Ray Brown. Now he has a new "home" on the road at the Dunsmore Room, where he helped launch the new Steinway in fall 2016. Benny returns for two nights, four sets of solo piano magic. 

Monday, December 11. Jazz Central provides one of the most consistent venues to hear up-and-coming jazz stars, and tonight the spotlight is on pianist/composer Patrick Adkins, currently studying at Lawrence Conservatory. 

Andrew Walesch
Tuesday, December 12. Congenial host at the Dunsmore Room, singer/pianist Andrew Walesch should be better known for his interpretations of Sinatra and leadership of his big band. Tonight Andrew honors Sinatra's 102nd birthday with the big band in the lounge at Crooners.

At Vieux Carre, Tony Balluff's Big Three salutes Fats Waller-- that's Balluff on clarinet, Mike Polad on piano, and Dave Michael on drums. Chris Lomheim opens the evening on solo piano.

Wednesday, December 13. The New Boundaries series at Jazz Central features Chris Bates' Acoustic Concussion--with Brad Holden on sax, Javi Santiago on piano, and JT Bates on drums playing the music of Ornette, Sam Rivers and more.

Thursday December 14. At Jazz Central, hear "Holiday in Harmony" as three of the area's top voices--Vicky Mountain, Dorothy Doring and Connie Dussl (aka Song Sister) --join pianist Phil Aaron for some seasonal magic.
At the Black Dog, another chance to hear pianist Patrick Adkins as he teams up with drummer Luke Peterson (Northwestern University), along with Taylor Wisgerhof  on saxes and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Larry McDonough
And more holiday mischief as the Larry McDonough Quartet brings their Twisted Holiday to Vieux Carre'. Joel Shapira opens on solo guitar.

Aaron Hedenstrom
Friday, December 15. Since returning to the Twin Cities after studies at UW-Eau Claire and earning is doctoral degree at the University of North Texas, saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom has become a busy member of the local jazz scene. His Quartet performs at Jazz Central, part of the Illicit Jazz Workshop series curated by Steve Kenny. The band  this weekend includes Julian Manzara on guitar, Ted Olsen on bass, and Theo Harris on drums.

JC Sanford
Saturday, December 16.  A rare doubleheader that moves from the bar to the dining room at the Black Dog! The Steve Kenny Trio (with Kameron Markworth and Miguel Hurtado) opens the evening in the usual space, but the music moves into the larger dining room for the headliner sets with the Inatnas Orchestra making its debut. The 17-piece ensemble is led by trombonist JC Sanford and wife/conductor Asuka Kakitani, both recently relocated from New York where they were acclaimed bandleaders and composers. The band includes some of the best-known jazzers in the Twin Cities.

At Boom Island Brewing, the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective tackles the music of Elmo Hope, with Ted Godbout in the pianist's chair, along with Dave Brattain (saxes), Omar AbdulKarim (trumpet), Jeff Rinear (trombone), Charlie Lincoln (bass), and leader Jesse Simon (drums).

Bobby Lyle
Saturday-Sunday, December 16-17. One of the Twin Cities favorite sons, Bobby Lyle comes home for a weekend in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners. Adding to the holiday music will be Detroit guitarist Perry Hughes and our own drum legend, Joe Pulice.

Sunday-Monday, December 17-18. It wouldn't be the holidays without a Peterson Family Jam Before Christmas at the Dakota! The Monday night show was added after tickets sold out for the two shows on Sunday. Three generations of Petersons will make your spirits bright! 

Monday, December 18. JazzMN Orchestra celebrates the holidays at Chanhassan Dinner Theater. In addition to big band arrangements of holiday fare from Diana Krall, Gordon Goodwin, Harry Connick, Jr and more, the band joins local chanteuse Connie Evingson for even more holiday cheer.

Red Planet
More Monday madness-- Red Planet makes their monthly pilgrimage to the Black Dog, while in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners,it's a rare local appearance by New York multi-reed star Chris Speed . Speed's trio features bassist Chris Tordini and drummer/Minnesota miracle Dave King.   And at the Icehouse, it's "Early Implosion" as John Raymond is back in town, mixing it up with Chris Thomson, James Buckley and JT Bates--starting at 7:30.

Charmin Michelle and Sam Miltich
Tuesday, December 19. Crooners Lounge welcomes vocalist Charmin Michelle and frequent partner, guitarist Sam Miltich "and friends."  At the Dakota, the multi-talented George Maurer hosts his annual holiday bash.

The Bad Plus
Wednesday-Saturday, December 20-23. This year, the Bad Plus residency at the Dakota falls before Christmas. And it's a bittersweet series of gigs as this will be the final appearance of the original cast before pianist Ethan Iverson moves on, to be replaced by another outstanding pianoman, Orrin Evans.

Thursday, December 21. Vocal Night at Jazz Central, hosted by Sarah M. Greer, turns into a holiday party "Piano Bar" this evening with sing-a-longs, open mic, and more.

John Raymond
Friday, December 22. John Raymond comes home for the holidays and a night with his Standards Trio at Jazz Central. Adding their ultra cool punch will be Graydon Peterson and Phil Hey. And come early and spend a set with young Jerome Treadwell on sax at 7 pm.

Ted Olsen
Saturday, December 23. Young lions rule tonight as Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog features two bands. The Cole Mahlum Group opens the night, with Mahlum on guitar, Will Kjeer on piano, and the "old guys" Graydon Peterson on bass and Jesse Simon on drums. The headline set features the Ted Olsen Quartet, with the bassist supported by Aaron Hedenstrom on sax, Javi Santiago on piano and Miguel Hurtado on drums.

Tuesday, December 26.  Often heard over the dinner hours on weekends, Zacc Harris (guitar) and Bryan Nichols (piano) provide some duo magic midweek at the Icehouse. Over at Jazz Central, the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra holds their monthly gathering.

Will Kjeer
Wednesday, December 27. Taking a break from studies at Cal Tech, pianist Will Kjeer leads a trio with his elders/role models--Billy Peterson and uncle Kenny Horst! Kevin Gastonguay opens on keys. 

At the Black Dog, the monthly Leigh Kamman Legacy Project features the "Life and Times of Eddie Berger" as well as Leigh's interviews with Ed and selections from his recordings. No cover--donations to the project welcome.

Luke Peterson, No Exit
Friday, December 29. More young lions on winter break bring their energy and creative spirits to Jazz Central tonight. On the Illicit Jazz Workshop series, it's the return of No Exit, led by drummer Luke Peterson. At 10 pm, another young drummer, Ben Ehrlich leads a trio.  The common denominator is bassist Charlie Lincoln.

Dean Granros
The veterans are getting their due as well-- Dean Granros' Tall Tales (Zacc Harris, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) is featured in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge.  And the ever-popular New Standards celebrates the holidays at the Dakota.

Saturday, December 30. If it's college vacation time, you can expect at least one gig locally from Hoaxer--Peter Goggin, Will Kjeer, Charlie Lincoln and Edmund Catlin. Since the release of their first album (Crash Test), they've only raised the bar with more original compositions.They take over the headline slot for Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog. The opening set, in a bit of role reversal, features the veterans of DDT-- Dean Granros, Chris Bates and Tony Moreno.

The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project holds another program at Jazz Central, this one celebrating Leigh's interview with guitarist Tal Farlow, with local guitar guru Joel Shapira providing the live music. 

And at Boom Island Brewing, the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective returns to the Boom Room to celebrate the music of the late vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The sextet tonight includes the cross-generational collaboration of leader Jesse Simon (drums), Dave Brattain (saxes), Levi Schwartzberg (vibes), Jordan Anderson (piano), and Matt McIntyre (bass). No cover and great beer!

Charmin Michelle and Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra
Sunday, December 31. Remember when New Year's Eve meant a ballroom and dance orchestra? Still does--the Shakopee Ballroom hosts the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle. 

Steve Kenny
Another tradition has been the early New Year's Eve Party at the Black Dog, guaranteed fun and an early exit. This year, following the early party, Steve Kenny brings a special edition of Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog--on a Sunday night! The NY Eve band includes Dave Brattain,Steve Kenny, Will Kjeer, Charlie Lincoln, Pete James Johnson and "special guests."

More Jazz!
See the Live jazz calendar posted on the KBEM website, and see more about jazz events at --online and on facebook.

Coming Soon!
. December 26, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central 
. December 26, Chris Lomheim/Fuzzy Math at Vieux Carre'
. December 26, Zacc Harris and Bryan Nichols at the Icehouse
. December 26, Larry McDonough Quartet, "Festivus and Other Twisted Holidays" at Can Can Wonderland 
. December 26-27, Connie Evingson Holiday Show in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. December 27, Kevin Gastonguay/ Will Kjeer Trio with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst at Vieux Carre'
. December 27, David Roos at the Icehouse 
. December 27, Sound/Simulacra at Jazz Central
. December 27, Rio Nido at the Dakota 
. December 28, Le Voyage at Khyber Pass
. December 28, Greg Schutte/Blair Krivanek/Jimmy Stoufer at Jazz Central
. December 28, The Skruffians at the Black Dog
. December 29, No Exit/Ben Ehrlich at Jazz Central 
. December 29, New Standards at the Dakota 
. December 29, Richard Kronick Trio at Urban Olive and Vine (Hudson)
. December 29, Dean Granros' Tall Tales in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge 
. December 29, Dan Newton/Southside Aces at Vieux Carre'
. December 30, Patty and the Buttons at Chilkoot Cafe (Stillwater)
. December 30, Leigh Kamman Legacy Project with Joel Shapira at Jazz Central
. December 30, Hoaxer/DDT at the Black Dog
. December 30, Minnesota Hard Bop Collective at Boom Island Brewing
. December 30, Debbie Duncan at Crooners Lounge 
. December 31, Katia Cardenas at the Beacon Public House (Graduate Minneapolis Hotel)
. December 31, Black Dog New Year's Eve party(early and late editions)
. December 31, Connie Evingson in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. December 31, Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Shakopee Ballroom
. December 31, Southside Aces NY Eve Party at Vieux Carre'
. December 31, Vicky Mountain at Bonde Bistro (Delano)
. December 31, Richard Kronick Quartet at NOLA (Osseo)
. January 1, Julian Manzara at Jazz Central 
. January 2, Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central
. January 2, Jon Weber "History of the Piano" in the Dunsmore Room, Crooners Lounge
. January 2, Shrewd Mammals at the Underground Music Cafe'
. January 3, Rose Lewis and Friends at Jazz Central
. January 3, Kevin Gastonguay/Katia Cardenas at Vieux Carre' 
. January 3, Travis Anderson Trio with Connie Evingson at the Dakota
. January 4, Vicky Mountain with David Martin at Jazz Central
. January 4, Jon Pemberton, early show at Vieux Carre'
. January 4, Will Schmid Group at the Black Dog
. January 5, Illicit Jazz Workshop: Solomon Parham Quintet at Jazz Central
. January 5, Mississippi at the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 5-6, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota 
. January 6, Liquid Vinyl/ Group 47 at the Black Dog
. January 6, Joe Mayo Quartet at Boom Island Brewing
. January 6, Cornbread Harris Band with John Penny, brunch at the Icehouse
. January 7, Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. January 9, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, "She Said/She Said" in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 9, JT Bates Grain Trio at Vieux Carre' 
. January 9, Cedar Ave Big Band at Jazz Central
. January 10, Framework at Jazz Central
. January 11, Mary Louise Knutson Trio in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge 
. January 11, Aja Parham Group at Jazz Central
. January 12, Joel Shapira Quartet at Jazz Central
. January 13, Kate Lynch and her Most Excellent Fellows at the Aster Cafe' 
. January 13, Song Sister (Vicky Mountain, Connie Dussl, Dorothy Doring) at Bethel Lutheran (3 pm)
. January 13-14, Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak live recording in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners
. January 16-17, Roy Hargrove at the Dakota 
. January 21, Sam Miltich (Django Reinhardt Birthday) in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge 
. January 21-22, Roberta Gambarini with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio at the Dakota
. January 28, 2018 Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival at Crooners Lounge 
. January 29-30, Davell Crawford at the Dakota
. February 23, Sergio Mendes at the Dakota 
. February 28, Donny McCaslin Group at the Dakota
. March 1, Delfeayo Marsalis and Uptown Jazz Orchestra at the Dakota
. March 7, 2018, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. March 8-11, Charles Lloyd 80th Birthday Celebration at the Dakota
. March 13, Melissa Aldana at Vieux Carre'
. March 13-14, Jose James at the Dakota 
. March 18, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

Jon Weber's "History of the Piano" in the Dunsmore Room on January 2