Friday, October 16, 2009

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, October 16-22

© Andrea Canter

Some of the area’s most popular performers as well as some long-beloved visitors dot the jazz calendar this week. And you can never go wrong to start your week with a dose of Mose Allison’s blues and good humor. The “William Faulkner of Jazz” returns to the Artists Quarter in St. Paul for three nights (10/16-18), an annual event that always draws a crowd and a lot of smiles. At 81, he’s been there, done that, and back again, but his lyrics never lose their bite or timeliness. Hit the late set Friday, starting out your evening on West 7th with Maud Hixson and guest Robert Bell at the Downtowner Woodfire Grill. Just a short drive to the AQ and you’ll make the 10:30 set with Mose. For some invigorating modern instrumental work, Pooch’s Playhouse (led by guitar wizard Joel Shapira) reigns nearby at the Hat Trick Lounge in Lowertown.

Across the river at the Dakota, Patty Peterson and Fred Steele join forces for two nights of funk, swing, and a little gospel (10/16-17). Sort of like uniting the royal families of Europe on one stage. And Saturday night only at the Sage Wine Bar, Vicky Mountain and James Allen celebrate their new collaboration, Sincerely Yours. It’s over early enough (10 pm) that you can still get out to the Dakota or AQ afterwards! Or for a more convenient two-fer, start your evening at Hell's Kitchen with swinging songstress Nichola Miller and the Rick Carlson Trio. You can still catch the last set a block down the street at the Dakota if you want to test your stamina. (Watch for Nichola's live CD recording session at the AQ next month!)

Or stay put in southwest Minneapolis tonight (10/16) and stop by Crave in the Galleria for some smooth vocals from Charmin Michelle and the Laura Caviani Trio, then wake up your ears for a while with some new music at Café Maude, featuring Bruce Thornton on clarinet and bass clarinet, Patrick Harrison on accordion, Chris Bates on bass and Joey Van Phillips on drums. You can catch Charmin again, and every Sunday, for brunch at the new Crave in St. Louis Park, 11-2 with Rick Carlson on keys. And with Denny Malmberg, she continues her Monday and Wednesday gigs at Fireside Pizza in Richfield, probably making her the most consistently booked jazz artist in the Twin Cities.

Sunday (10/18) also brings the long-awaited return of Soul Café to their old stomping grounds in the gallery of Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church off Loring Park. With Steve Blons on guitar, Brad Holden on sax, and Laura Caviani on piano, the trio offers sublime music accompanied by mostly modern poetry. Meanwhile at the Dakota Sunday night (and the late set starts well after Soul Café closes), Grammy-nominee Meshell Ndegeocello crosses so many musical genres it’s hard to describe.... but the bassist/vocalist is sure to amaze.

And it’s the last weekend of Moore by Four’s reunion “At Ruby’s” gig at the Lab Theater, Friday-Sunday nights, a Cotton Club revue that only MB4 could pull off with such style.

Longtime duo Mary Louise Knutson and Debbie Duncan continue their run at Camp Bar in St. Paul on Tuesdays. Longtime music and life partners Tuck and Patti return to the Dakota next week (10/20-21) while veteran percussionist and educator Marv Dahlgren continues his nonretirement with a night at the Artists Quarter (10/21). Same date, the Atlantis Quartet heads a late night gig at the Red Stag.

Great shows coming soon! Eric Alexander at the AQ (October 23-24); Sophie Milman at the Dakota (October 26-27); Dave Brubeck Quartet at the Dakota (November 2-4); Roy Haynes at the AQ (November 20-21). Start thinking now about November 21st—in addition to Haynes, we have Dafnis Prieto at Ted Mann and the JazzMN Big Band’s “Three Tenors” in Hopkins.
Too much music, too little time. We love it that way.

Photos: Steve Blons of Soul Cafe; Charmin Michelle; Mose Allison (photos by Andrea Canter)