Saturday, October 13, 2007

Musical Hat Trick

A “hat trick” in sports, most often used in hockey, refers to socring three consecutive goals. Sometimes our local music scene scores a Hat Trick—three (or more) great shows within in a short period of time. Within eight days in October, the Music Gods were smiling on the Twin Cities with unusually bright grins. I got to most of it although I understand I missed a big hit in young Christian Scott, whose debut at the Dakota Sunday night was received with such accolades as Pamela’s review on Jazz Police ( Yeah, sometimes this does feel like Manhattan, an embarrassment of riches!

The Eroica Trio returned to Ordway (October 2) with a divergent and highly enjoyable program, one of the first classical concerts I have attended in a long time when I did not want to stand up and yell, “Do you really have to play that the way it was written?” This is a winsome threesome, pianist and cellist having founded the trio 20 years ago, adding a new violinist last year. Who can resist the sway and swing of Astor Piazzola (without accordion!) or the playfulness of Stephen Schoenfield, once-upon-a-time musician in residence right here in the Twin Cities? And for me, you can never go wrong with Schubert (Sonata in F). Two nights later, improvisation was just the beginning, as the saxophone quartet Jazz Ax blew out a 90 minute set at the MacPhail Center for Music as part of the (usually) free Jazz Thursdays series. Nothing but sax, thank you, and thanks to Dave Milne (soprano), Mike Walk (alto), Pete Whitman (tenor) and Greg Keel (baritone), the absence of a rhythm section was quickly forgotten as the four horns provided as much harmony and timekeeping as one could ask for, while a set of often quirky, always exciting arrangements kept the audience engaged. Seated together in the front row was the new edition of the Dakota Combo, six high school jazz prodigies who came from their first meeting with leader Kelly Rossum to hear four role models. It was a good first lesson. Last but not least, honoring Monk’s 90th birthday (October 10th), pianist Laura Caviani and her trio (Adam Linz on bass, Phil Hey on drums) made it a celebration that Monk would have loved himself, full of quirky arrangements, elastic tempos and rhythms, and telepathic group interplay. I wonder what Schubert would have thought of Thelonious Monk? (See my review on Jazz Police at )
Above photo: Monk interpreter Laura Caviani ends a passag with a flourish at the Artists Quarter on October 10th. (Photo - Andrea Canter)