Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lead Sheet, August 7-13

© Andrea Canter

Today is my mom’s 87th birthday, and she still enjoys jazz as long as it’s not over-amplified. Her hearing is still perfect, which is probably more than I can say for a lot of us who often sit too close to the speakers, monitors and drumsets!

For my mom, the volume might be beyond her comfort zone at the Artists Quarter this weekend (8/7-8/8), with Kevin Washington and his Quartet. However, she’d probably enjoy hearing about this young powerhouse who has been a professional musician since age 5 and whose very muscular and aggressive approach has garnered a wide following locally and beyond. Kevin has great respect for the traditions of the music while also seeking to infuse his compositions and interpretations with the sounds of the “street music” of the past twenty years. He hinted that there might be a hip-hop or rap artist or two in the vicinity of the AQ stage this weekend.

If you missed Tiempo Libre’s gig with classical flautist James Galway last night at the Dakota, the young Cuban ensemble returns on their own for another firestorm tonight (8/7). The recently released O’Reilly Street, their collaboration with Galway on a new interpretation of Claude Bolling’s Suite for Flue and Jazz Piano, and their own melding of classical grace and Cuban fiesta, Bach in Havana. Be ready to stand up and sing, dance, and just party!
Keyboard master and master of all things music, George Maurer, holds down the Saturday night slot at the Dakota, this time with everyone’s favorite diva, Debbie Duncan. And hang out or come in late for the weekend editions of Late Night at the Dakota—guitar whiz Park Evans and quartet shine tonight, and a new project from tuba king Stefan Kac (Kac/Granowski/Hepola) takes us into the wee hours Saturday.

Patty Peterson and her trio perform tonight (and next Friday night) at Crave in the Galleria (Edina) – acoustically far from perfect but if you can grab a table near the music after 10 pm, you can enjoy a very intimate set – not a common opportunity with a performer as popular as Patty. Only a few miles away but seriously divergent in sound and source, Café Maude offers contrasts in modern jazz, with the electronic wizardry of Ryan Olcott’s circuit bendings with James Buckley and Joey Van Phillips as the Food Team Trio tonight, followed by Eisner’s Klezmorim with accordionist Patrick Harrison tomorrow night.

But if youthful energy and unencumbered creativity appeal to you, look no farther Saturday night than The Beat Coffee House in Minneapolis’ Uptown. On stage, releasing their first recording, will be the Metropolitan Port Authority, a quintet of young rabble-rousers with precocious jazz chops. Three of these still-teens are recent “grads” of the Dakota Combo—Joe Strachan, Jake Baldwin and Cory Grindberg, now heading off to college programs at Lawrence, New England Conservatory and Northwester U, respectively. Their partners are saxophonist Remi Taghavi, the “old man” of the bunch and starting his second year at the University of Southern Cal Thornton School of Music (as a bassoon major!) and KBEM student announcer/drummer Isaac Zuckerman, heading out to the U of Colorado. See details and CD review on Jazz Police. They may be leaving town for school, but I think we will be hearing a lot more from them, collectively and individually.

Sunday will hopefully bring a dry summer day for the annual Bloomington Jazz Festival, held at the Normandale Lake Bandshell. Swing is front and center with Vic Volare, Christine Rosholt and The George Maurer Group. Nice setting, good music, perfect for a family outing.

Tips for the coming week include another opportunity to hear the Dan Musselman Quartet (at the AQ on 8/12)—their gig last week at the Dakota was one of the best of local jazz of the summer; The Tuesday Night Band with very special guest Jim Rotondi (8/11) and How Birds Work (8/13), all at the AQ; pizza and swing with Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza in Richfield; Reynold Philipsek and Jeff Brueske, free at Centennial Lakes (8/11); Ramsey Lewis with Bruce Henry at Orchestra Hall (8/13). If you enjoyed the KBEM REEL Jazz series of films over the past two years, check out the Bela Fleck flick—complete with guest host Bela Fleck—at the Cedar on Thursday (8/13).

Coming soon—Irv Williams’ 90th Birthday Bash (8/14 at the AQ and 8/17 at the Dakota); Doug Little’s Seven Steps to Havana, at the Dakota 8/14 and AQ on 8/15; Ginger Commodore at the Dakota on 8/15, Connie Evingson on 8/16; New York vocalist Vanessa Trouble with trumpeter Charlie Carinicus at the Dakota on 8/18. Maud Hixson has a couple hot gigs coming up – with Rick Carlson at the Downtowner Woodfire Grill on 8/15 and with a new French ensemble at Hell’s Kitchen on 8/18. Finally, the charming town of Northfield holds its first jazz festival Saturday afternoon, 8/15.

Photos : Metropolitan Port Authority, with (L-R) Joe Strachan, Remi Taghavi, Jake Baldwin, Cory Grindberg and Isaac Zuckerman (photos, composite strip by Andrea Canter)