Friday, November 6, 2009

The Lead Sheet --Twin Cities Jazz, November 6-12

© Andrea Canter

We seem to be having our October weather this weekend, so get out and enjoy it, but save enough energy for some jazzy evenings.

Lucia Newell and the Laura Caviani Trio should garner plenty of attention from the noisy crowd at Crave in the Galleria tonight (11/6). Maybe Lucia will include some Anita O’Day tunes as a teaser for her November 18th tribute show at the AQ? If you really want to hear the music at Crave, come late, after 10 pm, and find a table as close to the “stage” as possible. Bruce Henry, whom I would rate as one of the best male singers out there (and I mean out there in the bigger world), returns to the Dakota for two nights (11/6-7) with his always hip band (Peter Schimke, Kevin Washington, Darryl Boudreaux, Peter Vricks, and Chris Bates filling in for Jay Young, who is across town at the AQ). It will be smooth, passionate and uplifting. And yes, Jay Young is leading a gig at the AQ this weekend, a tribute to Motown heroes, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. This funky bassist is overdue for his own show. Late Night at the Dakota is always worth checking out, no matter where you start your evening. Off the Map with Bryan Nichols, Brandon Wozniak and Jay Epstein takes the stage Friday night (11/6). Can’t find three more exciting improvisers!

Sunday (11/8) brings some interesting contrasts, but that means everyone should find something that appeals: Charmin Michelle and Rick Carlson are perfect company for brunch at the new Crave in St. Louis Park’s West End. Later, at the Dakota, John Jorgenson brings his hot club band back after a highly regarded debut earlier this year. Across the river at the AQ, it’s Monk in Motian, a sextet celebration of the great compositions of Thelonious Monk as interpreted by drum legend Paul Motian and his Electric Bebop Band. And of course Zacc Harris, Park Evans, Brandon Wozniak, Scott Fultz, Matt Peterson and Pete Hennig have tricks of their own to share. This gig is sponsored by the Twin Cities Jazz Society, and introduces the St. Cloud All Star Jazz Band to warm up the stage at 5 pm with a free set. This is a band of middle and high school musicians, directed tonight by drummer Steve Jennings. Free jazz fans (and eternally curious listeners) will find plenty to perk up your ears at Studio Z in downtown St. Paul when Trio Raro -- Milo Fine, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Davu Seru—perform.

Connie Evingson is not only a superb vocalist but she never fails to bring a terrific band to her shows. Monday night at the Dakota (11/9), she’ll be in the stellar company of Phil Aaron, Gordy Johnson, Phil Hey and Dave Karr. Try to find a better deal for $5! Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg will be in their usual slot at Fireside Pizza, Monday and Wednesday night, and the always avant Clown Lounge in St Paul features the Chris Thomson Quartet.

Nostalgia reigns at the Dakota Tuesday and Wednesday nights (11/10-11) with Herb Alpert (Tijuana Brass) and wife Lani Hall (Sergio Mendes), while the Tuesday Night Band celebrates the B-3 organ in their usual, long-standing weekly gig at the AQ... on Tuesday, of course. A few blocks away, Debbie Duncan and Mary Louise Knutson add class and finesse to Camp Bar in their Tuesday night sets. Wednesday (11/11) offers further diversity with How Birds Work at the AQ, the Wolverines with Arne Fogel at Hell’s Kitchen, and Maud Hixson swinging with the Twin Cities Hot Club in northeast Minneapolis at Erte.

Close the week with some tough choices on Thursday (11/12), as the ever-exciting Phil Hey Quartet takes over at the AQ and the world-renowned Turtle Island String Quartet makes a rare club appearance at the Dakota. Bringing improvisation and an amalgam of styles to a classical music foundation, TISQ is the ultimate cross-over ensemble, most recently exploring the works of John Coltrane. Tonight they bring to the Dakota their “Love Supreme” project. Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson visit Minnetonka with two nights at the Redstone Grill (11/12-23).

Coming soon!
Pete Whitman’s X-Tet has a weekend at the AQ (11/13-14); the Freedom Jazz Festival sponsors a day of music and art at the Capri Theater (11/14); Lucia Newell salutes Anita O’Day at the AQ (11/18), and Nancy Harms celebrates her debut CD at the Dakota (11/19) and Jungle Theater (11/21)—and it’s one helluva debut. Then there’s the following weekend which simply explodes with jazz, with Roy Haynes’ Fountain of Youth at the AQ (11/20-21), “Three Tenors” with the JazzMN Big Band (Whitman, Karr and Mendenhall on 11/21); drummer Dafnis Preito at the Walker Art Center (11/21) and Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson at Jazz@St. Barneys, also 11/21. Nichola Miller holds a live recording session to cap that weekend at the AQ (11/22). Rest up.
Photos: (Top-Bottom) Bruce Henry; Maud Hixson; Phil Hey (Photos by Andrea Canter)