Friday, May 8, 2009

The Lead Sheet, May 8-14

© Andrea Canter

Saturday, May 9th, brings one of the most anticipated jazz gigs to the McGuire Theater at Walker, with back-to-back presentations of Jason Moran’s “In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall” – a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the eccentric jazz icon’s large ensemble concert. Moran has become a prolific interpreter and composer whose works have previously appeared at Walker, including the Walker commission “Milestones.” With his current trio Bandwagon and earlier ensembles, Moran has released acclaimed recordings, yet most interesting have been his multimedia presentations integrating jazz history, art, poetry and more. At Walker, he brings along a “Big Bandwagon” of eight musicians to celebrate one of his key muses. I’m eager to again see the workings of one of the most inventive minds in modern music. (There are two shows, at 7 and 9:30 pm.)

Nachito Herrera is back for a Cuban Fiesta weekend at the Dakota (May 8-9) featuring long-time collaborators Raul Pineda and Jesus Diaz. No cigars allowed but the night will be smoking nevertheless.

Some of the most exciting modern jazz in the area comes way after dark. Tonight (5/8), “Late Night at the Dakota” presents three of the most creative purveyors of the art, with Scott Fultz, Adam Linz and Alden Ikeda on the bandstand from 11:30 pm – 2 am. Then Saturday night, wander over to Café Maude (no reservation needed after 10 pm) for another hot trio, Matt Peterson, Dan Musselman and Jay Epstein.

Another popular performer here in recent years, trombonist/producer Delfeayo Marsalis returns with his quintet for two nights at the Dakota. Most recently Marsalis led a band at Orchestra Hall and was the guest artist/clinician for the student band, The Dakota Combo, in December 2007. Obscured for years by his star siblings while production took precedence over performance, Delfeayo apprenticed with the late Elvin Hays before climbing into the spotlight with his own band, recording and tours. Now a mentor to young rising stars, he brings a new band into the Dakota May 12-13.

Another chance to see stars in the making, the Artists Quarter hosts a night of music from the St. Thomas University Jazz Ensemble, directed by Joan Griffith (5/14).

If you are looking for some local vocals, it’s a great week with ultimate torch singer Carole Martin at the AQ on Saturday night (5/9); Lee Engele and Joel Shapira earlier in the evening at the Sage Wine Bar in Mendota Heights (5/9); Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (5/11 and 5/13); Maud Hixson with the Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen every Wednesday in May(5/12); Rhonda Laurie and Reynold Philipsek at the Sage on 5/13.

Plan ahead? Lucia Newell and the Laura Caviani Trio salute the great Betty Carter next weekend at the AQ (5/15-16); Marcus Roberts gives a rare solo performance at the Dakota (5/17); and David Hazeltine flies in from New York for Memorial Day weekend at the AQ. Youth jazz also is in the spotlight—the annual Jazz Piano Scholarship Competition finals take place at the Dakota at 2 pm on May 17th, with Marcus Roberts serving as guest judge; the Dakota Combo gives their annual spring concert at the MacPhail Center for Music on 5/21, just two days after completing a studio recording session.
Photos: (Top) Nachito Herrera; Delfeayo Marsalis. Photos by Andrea Canter.