Friday, January 1, 2010

The Lead Sheet-- Twin Cities Jazz, January 1-7





© Andrea Canter

Happy New Year! There was a lot of great jazz in the Twin Cities throughout 2009, and 2010 looks at least as promising. The Jazz Vocalists of Minnesota start things off with a Singer Showcase & Jam at the Sage Wine Bar in Mendota Heights (1/2). Some of the “up and comers” on the vocal scene will swing the night away with the string duo of Reynold Philpsek and Matt Peterson, in a casually classy suburban gem serving a long wine list and great bar food. It’s over early enough to zip across on 35E to the Artists Quarter and continue the celebration with the Billy Franze Quartet. Franze is mostly known these days for his guitar contributions to the famed Tuesday Night Band, a weekly fixture at the AQ. With Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst, you can be assured of a hard boppin’ evening.

More celebrations Tuesday night (1/5) at the Dakota as local artists Christine Rosholt, Leslie Ball and Dave Singley hold a three-way birthday party. Great vocals and guitar! The Dakota then hosts the incomparable, unpredictable, wildly talented Nellie McKay (1/6-7). She sings, she strums a ukulele, she entertains. She’s one of a kind. Down the street, Triplicate takes the stage at Hell’s Kitchen (1/7), bringing together three aces who don’t seem to get together that often –Joel Shapira, Bruce “Pooch” Heine and Dave Stanoch. Across town, the AQ hosts the always elegant Phil Aaron Trio (1/6) and the always hard-blowing Dave Karr Quartet (1/7).

Best bests for night owls: The Clown Lounge’s new Tuesday schedule (10 pm) this week (1/5) includes Homecoming King (Brian Ziemniak, Cody McKinney and Greg Schutte), followed by the Fantastic Merlins. Avant garde fans—check out Milo Fine’s CD Release (his limited edition The Untenability of Sentience & More Wistful Tunes for the Sincere) at the Art of This Gallery in south Minneapolis, 1/5.

Chamber jazz is alive and well from one end of the metro to the other—Peter Schimke and Irv Williams do Happy Hour honors today at the Dakota (1/1) while Honey features Park Evans, Adam Wozniak and JT Bates tonight (1/1); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske hold forth as usual Friday and Saturday nights at the St Paul Hotel Lobby Bar (1/1-2); the Zacc Harris Trio plays Sunday nights at the Riverview Wine Bar (1/3); The Tuesday Night Band appears of course on Tuesday at the AQ, preceded by the Cory Wong Quartet (1/5).

More vocals this week – Charmin Michelle, brunch on Sunday with Rick Carlson at Crave in St. Louis Park, and with Denny Malmberg on Monday and Wednesday at Fireside Pizza; Christine Rosholt appears at Honey on 1/6; Arne Fogel takes up with the Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen on Wednesday (1/6) and with his own trio at Honey on Thursday (1/7).

Coming soon: Debbie Duncan at the AQ (1/8-9); the Dakota’s Django Fest with local hot clubs, Connie Evingson, Dorado Schmitt and Mark O’Connor (1/17-20); Jon Weber (1/22) and the Illicit Sextet (1/23) at the AQ; the Bryan Nichols Trio and Paul Renz Quintet share the bill at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall (1/23); Roy Hargrove at the Dakota (1/24-25); live recording sessions with the Pete Whitman X-Tet (with Kelly Rossum) at the AQ (1/28-29).

And since this is the New Year’s Day edition of Lead Sheet, what else is coming in 2010? Ahmad Jamal (2/21-23), Hiromi solo (3/8-9) and Chick Corea with Gary Burton (April), all at the Dakota; a Dave King Weekend with the Bad Plus, Happy Apple, Buffalo Collision, Craig Taborn and more at the Walker (3/12-13); Regina Carter (3/15) and Danilo Perez (4/10) at Ted Mann. My prediction? 2010 is going to be a banner year for local jazz.
Photos (top to bottom): Billy Franze headlines his own quartet at the AQ; Christine Rosholt celebrates another birthday at the Dakota; Peter Schimke and Irv Williams mellow out at Happy Hour at the Dakota every Friday. (Photos by Andrea Canter)