Friday, January 15, 2010

Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, January 15-21

© Andrea Canter
Lots of fun music this weekend, leading into a celebration of Django Reinhardt at the Dakota. A great deal in music as well as an opportunity to learn and “preview” Twin Cities’ jazz futures is the third annual Roseville Jazz Blast on Saturday (1/16). Starting at 10:30 am, you can hear a series of high school jazz ensembles, sit in on a few master classes—all for free. Then there’s performance in the evening ($10 or $5 for students) with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band and JazzMN Big Band (featuring Debbie Duncan), the day’s top high school ensemble, and selected student soloists. The Blast takes place on the campus of Northwestern College in Roseville (see for details).

Both sides of the river are busy this weekend. For some Brazilian warmth, guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest glides through samba and more at the Dakota on Friday night (1/15), followed on Saturday by perennial favorite, singer Patty Peterson in prime time and the Dakota debut of Jack Brass, our resident New Orleans brass giants in the Late Night slot. In St. Paul, the Artists Quarter rocks through the weekend (1/15-16) with the Kevin Washington Quartet. Ace drummer and composer Kevin brought a young band to the AQ last summer, and they tore the place apart. (We even heard Kevin on vocals!) Get the fire hoses ready!

Sunday starts a four-day “Django Fest” at the Dakota, honoring the 100th birthday of the king of hot club swing, Django Reinhardt. And what better kickoff than our local queen of hot club vocals, Connie Evingson, hosting the three big names in Minnesota gypsy jazz—Clearwater, Parisota and Twin Cities Hot Clubs. Favorites Sam Miltich, Gary Schulte, Robert Bell, Reynold Philipsek, Dave Karr, Patrick Harrison and more will swing throughout the evening. Then on Monday/Tuesday, the Dorado Schmitt All-Stars come to town, featuring French gypsy guitarist Dorado and son Samson. The fest closes Wednesday with All American favorite violinist Mark O’Connor and his Hot Swing Trio with 2 young monster guitarists, Frank Vignola and Matt Monesteri, and special guest, vocalist Heather Masse.

Music of a more contemporary era (or beyond) abounds: Paul Renz at Honey (1/15); guitarist Luke Polopnick and bassist Adam Linz team up at Red Stag Sunday night (1/17); internationally acclaimed Fat Kid Wednesdays (Mike Lewis, Adam Linz, JT Bates) bring in the late crowd at the Clown Lounge on Monday (1/18); Framework and the Luke Polopnick Quartet double up for Tuesdays at the Clown (1/19); Pooch’s Playhouse (Joel Shapira, Pooch Heine, Mark Ashe, Dave Brittain, Dave Schmalenberger) has some fun at the AQ on Wednesday (1/20) and fearless creator Dean Granros brings his trio back to the AQ on Thursday (1/21).

Looking for some good songs this week? Charmin Michelle joins the Laura Caviani Trio at Crave in the Galleria Friday (1/15); Charmin appears again at Crave in the West End Shops for Sunday Brunch (1/17), with the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra that evening at the Medina Ballroom; and with Denny Malmberg every Monday and Wednesday night at Fireside Pizza in Richfield. Connie Olson returns to a regular performance schedule with a weekend at the Redstone Grill (1/15-16); Erin Schwab is at Hell’s Kitchen (1/15). On Saturday, it’s Sophia Shorai on keys and vocals at the Nicollet Island Inn; Nancy Harms swings at Honey; on Tuesday (1/19), Katie Gearty joins up with Vital Organ at Hell’s Kitchen; Paula Lammers takes the stage at the South St Paul VFW; Wednesday (1/20) finds Christine Rosholt at Honey, then the next night (1/21) with Beasley’s Big Band at the Wabasha Street Caves; Rachel Holder joins the Wolverines at Hell’s Kitchen, while Lee Engele enchants at Honey.

Don’t forget more regular gigs—Fantastic Fridays at the Black Dog; happy hour Fridays with Peter Schimke and Irv Williams at the Dakota; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar of the St Paul Hotel (1/15-16); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico in the Chambers (1/15-16); the Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar (1/17); Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band, every Tuesday at the AQ; Mary Louise Knutson and Debbie Duncan, Tuesdays at Camp Bar.

Coming soon! A big weekend is brewing, with Jon Weber (1/22) and the Illicit Sextet (1/23) at the Artists Quarter; Bryan Nichols Trio and Paul Renz Quintet at MacPhail (1/23); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota (1/23); Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Dakota (1/24-25). Rest up.
Photos: Kevin Washington with a little hand percussion; Mark O'Connor; Connie Olson. (Photos by Andrea Canter)