Friday, June 25, 2010

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, June 25-July 1

© Andrea Canter

In case you thought the Twin Cities Jazz Festival was over til 2011, not quite. For the past couple years, festival sound and tech guy Craig Eichorn has brought a taste of the festival to Christ the King Lutheran Church in Bloomington. Tonight (6/25), from 4 pm til dark, you can enjoy another free dose of eclectic jazz and soul in the pleasant outdoor setting, complete with a church picnic vibe (hot dogs,too!). Music starts at 4 pm with The Lows (I have no idea, but last year the festival opened with a young college band so I expect this might be another one), followed by the Twin Cities Seven with Charmin Michelle (led by saxman Doug Haining) at 5:45, the ever-amazing Moore by Four at 7 and closing with Ronn Easton’s Soul Revue at 8:30. That’s four good reasons to spend some time outdoors and you don’t have to be a Lutheran.

An interesting White Pine Festival feature in Stillwater Friday night (6/25), Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter and part-time jazz musician, Charles Lazarus, with his quartet (Mary Louise Knutson, Jeff Bailey, Craig Hara) joins up with the Miro Quartet, former Minnesota Orchestra Concertmistress Jorja Fleezanis and classical/fusion composer/keyboardist Jack Perla. The music is presented at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater—again, you don’t have to be Lutheran.

Indoors, and scheduled such that you can just trek on over after the early evening in Bloomington or Stillwater, there’s a weekend with Jay A. Young and Company at the Artists Quarter. Taking a break from his Lyric Factory—sort of, bassist Jay and friends will not likely stray far from their groovin’, soulful beats, and for sure there will be some strong vocals in the mix (6/25-26).

In case you missed them on the Youth Stage at the Jazz Festival last weekend, you have another chance to hear the invigorating Jake Baldwin Quartet on the Late Night at the Dakota series tonight (6/25). Their talents already exceed the expectations of a “youth” stage and most likely they’ll be hitting the prime time slots before the end of summer. In addition to prodigious trumpeter Jake, enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music, the band includes pianist Joe Strachan (transferring this fall from Lawrence to the U of M to expand his gigging options), bassist Cory Grindberg (at Northwestern in Chicago) and drummer Rob Fletcher (at DuPaul in Chicago). These guys have plenty of chops and already display considerable flair as composers and arrangers. No chance you will nod off in the wee hours with this band on stage.

A unique meeting of three creative minds that cross genres is slated for Guthrie Theater on Monday (6/28) with banjo magician Bela Fleck, tabla/percussion master Zakir Hussein, and eclectic bassist Edgar Meyer. World music, bluegrass, jazz, and just about anything else you can think of are fair game for this trio.

Last December I had to miss Dan Cavanagh and Dave Hgedorn at the AQ; looks like history will repeat itself and I will miss them this week as well (6/30). But I also expect it will be a repeat in terms of the music, which I was told was one of the best nights of the year at the AQ as the master vibes Hagedorn connects with former student, pianist Dan Cavanagh, for a night of amazing duets. OK, somebody, please get me a tape of this?

Although the AQ is closed for the Fourth of July weekend, Kenny Horst guarantees the weekend will get off to a jazz-bang start with a one-night special gig with St. Paul native saxophonist Pat Mallinger on Thursday (7/1), already billed as the only local appearance for Pat in 2010. So don’t miss this one, Mallinger is one of the hottest young alto players around, and his most recent release, a duet with pianist Dan Trudell (Dragon Fish), is really high on my list for top albums of the year.

Otherwise it is a week of the usual –meaning great jazz from vocals to swing to experimental ensembles. For a good song, check out: Lee Engele at Elixr (6/25), at Minnetonka’s Music in the Parks (6/29) and with the Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves (7/1); Erin Schwab at Hell’s Kitchen (6/25); Charmin Michelle with Rick Carlson at Crave in the West End Shops (6/27) and with Denny Malmberg and Fireside Pizza (6/28 and 6/30); Paula Lammers with Mary Louise Knutson at the Eagan Art Festival (6/26); with the swinging Cloud Nine at Como Park Pavillion (6/27) and with the River City Jazz Orchestra at O’Gara’s (6/29); Bobby Caldwell at the Dakota (6/28-29).

And for a wide range of instrumental jazz (and maybe some vocals too), there’s another dose of Fantastic Fridays at the Black Dog (6/25); Gordy Johnson and Tommy O’Donnell at Roman Anthony’s (6/25-26); two blistering nights with Nachito Herrera at the Dakota (6/25-26); Joann Funk at Luna Rossa (6/26); Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave’s in Calhoun Square (6/28); Butch Thompson at Old Log Theater (6/28); something out of sight at the Clown Lounge (6/28-29); Milo Fine at Homewood Studios (6/28); Cory Wong followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the AQ (6/29); the Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen (6/30).

Coming Soon!
• July 2-3, Bruce Henry at the Dakota
• July 7, Valve Meets Slide at the AQ
• July 9-10, Kendra Shank at the AQ
• July 12-13, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
• July 17, Dakota Fest on Nicollet Mall
• July 19-20, Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Dakota

Photos: Charmin Michelle and Doug Haining (Twin Cities Seven); Jay Young; Jake Baldwin Quartet (at the Youth Stage, Cray Atrium); Pat Mallinger (All photos by Andrea Canter)