Friday, June 26, 2009

The Lead Sheet, June 26-July 2

© Andrea Canter

Twin Cities Jazz Festival director Steve Heckler was euphoric when talking about the success of last weekend’s event in St. Paul. Great crowds, cooperative weather and stellar music should guarantee the event for 2010. And with the jazz lineup for the coming week, there’s really no reason to lament the elimination of the traditional second weekend in Minneapolis.

Want vocal music? Bruce Henry returns again to the Dakota Friday and Saturday nights (June 26-27), and on Friday he features special guest Debbie Duncan. In other words, two of the region’s biggest voices share the stage. I just heard Debbie at the jazz festival’s Bloomington extension Wednesday night. She manages equal parts ecstasy and blasphemy. And I miss Bruce Henry’s magic. Fortunately he misses the Twin Cities as much as we miss him.

Want over-the-edge modern sounds? Happy Apple returns to the Artists Quarter for three nights (June 26-28) of biting improvisation thanks to Mike Lewis, Erik Fratzke and Dave King. Even folks in the Big Apple were impressed when the trio gigged at Joe’s Pub last year. Expect standing room only.

Or maybe you prefer a little hip-hop with your post bop? Check out the Karreim Riggins Experience at the Dakota Sunday night. The Detroit native is an alum of Betty Carter’s famed Jazz Ahead program, and has performed with the likes of Hank Jones, Ray Brown, Oscar Peterson, Milt Jackson, Donald Byrd, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter, Gary Bartz and Diana Krall. Equally accomplished as a hip-hop artist as jazzman, 34-year-old Riggins brings his new project to the Dakota, opening with a drum showcase with DJ Dummy and closing with his quintet, featuring the highly acclaimed piano master, Mulgrew Miller. This night will indeed be an Experience!

Bassist Chris Bates figures into some of the most creative ensembles in town, and he pops up twice at the Turf Club/Clown Lounge this week—with Volcano Insurance Monday night (June 29th) in the Clown (with guitarist/laptopper Luke Polipnik and drummer Joey van Phillips) and then Wednesday (July 1st) in the main Turf Club with Charlie Devanna—not a who, but a globally basted band led by guitarist Park Evans, along with Scott Fultz and Pete Hennig.

And maybe the granddaddy show of the summer, cross-culturally minded saxman Charles Lloyd brings his “New Quartet” to the Dakota on Thursday (July 2nd). Lloyd was an early cohort of Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette, later a musical partner of the late Billy Higgins, and more recently a collaborator with tabla star Zakir Hussein. Everything he touches seems to resonate across time and continents. Now he’s working again in a quartet context featuring firestorming pianist Jason Moran, eclectic bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland, with whom Lloyd has previously toured in tribute to Higgins as well as with Hussein and Harland in an unusual percussion trio.

Coming soon? The Iowa City Jazz Festival over the holiday weekend offers the most high level jazz in the tightest time frame, all free, with Chris Potter’s Underground, the Bill Frisell Quartet and the Dave Holland Quintet playing back to back to back Sunday night (July 5th). David Sanchez hits the stage as the festival opener Friday night, and Saturday features Trombone Shorty followed by West African guitar sensation Lionel Loueke. From the Twin Cities, this is an easy 5-hour drive. (See or for details.) In the next week, mark your calendars for Bill Carrothers and his European Trio on July 9th at the Artists Quarter, warming up for a week at the Village Vanguard.

Photos: Bruce Henry and Debbie Duncan will raise the roof tonight, June 26th at the Dakota. (Photos by Andrea Canter)