Friday, January 21, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, January 21-27

© Andrea Canter

The coldest weekend yet… but the music will be plenty hot, with the irreverent Nellie McKay at the Dakota, ever-young Billy Peterson celebrating #60 at the Artists Quarter, the unique sounds of East Side at the Bloomington Center for the Arts—all setting the stage for even more heat with the Roy Hargrove Quintet and Latin All-Stars coming into the Dakota to prevent a mid-week slump.

Highlights, Last Week
I didn’t get to everything I want to hear, notably missing Lucia Newell and Debbie Duncan at the Dakota. But, still, it was a great week of music:
Pat Moriarty and Phil Hey duking it out at the Black Dog (1/14). It’s much too rare that these guys confine themselves to duet mode. (See blog, 1/20)

Jeff Rinear in a rare small ensemble gig (with Bryan Nichols, Keith Boyles and Mac Santiago) at Jazz Central (1/17). Actually any small ensemble with trombone is pretty rare around here. More, please!

Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota (1/18-19). Maybe it was unfortunate that Lewis was just here at the Dakota in September, as this high-price ticket did not draw the crowds it deserved. With young drummer Charles Heath and younger bassist Joshua Ramos forming his new trio, Lewis was a sparkling example of nuance, touch, and emotional flexibility. Sure, the gospel-inflected blues really rocked, but it was his delicate balladry and quick imagination that won the night.

Highlights, This Week
Let’s start the weekend on a wild note with the return of Nellie McKay to the Dakota (second night tonight, 1/21), this time bringing along her own touring band rather than relying on the talents (which are many) of the Prairie Home Companion crew. A singer-songwriter who defies classification beyond “extraordinary,” Nellie can be sweet as Doris Day (to whom she paid tribute on a recent CD), as prickly dark as Patricia Barber and as weird as Tiny Tim – and she plays the ukulele, too, as well as a mean piano. Go and have fun. And be sure to have some extra caffeine tonight so you can hang out through the Late Night set (tonight at 10 pm), featuring teen jazz wizards, the Quentin Tschofen Trio (with Quentin on piano, Caitlin Kelliher on bass and Emerson Hunton on drums). This will not sound like a student band. Quentin, still in high school, won last year’s Jazz Piano Scholarship Competition, plays for a second year with the Dakota Combo, and handles the piano duties for the U of M Jazz Ensemble II. Plus he’s a sophisticated composer. Caitlin and Emerson are up to the challenge, also members of the Dakota Combo –one of 12, and the only Midwest band, selected for the Charles Mingus High School Band competition to be held next month in New York. Where is jazz going? They know.

Birthday parties starring a Peterson are getting commonplace, with an annual bash for Jeanne every August at the Artists Quarter. But this weekend (1/21-22), the candles shine for bassist Billy, celebrating his 60th with pals Peter Schimke, Brian Grivna and Kenny Horst. And likely a few Petersons. Any gig involving Billy offers stellar music and a good time. We can use that multitude of candle light to knock down that windchill!

Out “west” in Plymouth is a reunion of the Phil Aaron Trio (with Tom Lewis and Jay Epstein), part of the Jazz @ St. Barney’s series at St. Barnabus Church. The trio was one of my initiations into the Twin Cities jazz scene when I started getting serious about the music in the early 90s, when Phil and friends were regularly performing at the Hotel Sofitel. (It was a 15-year gig!) You can probably still find their one recording, I Love Paris. But a live show? The rarest of treats.

Sunday afternoon (1/23), head out to the Bloomington Center for the Arts’ Black Box Theater, and intimate space perfectly suited to the music of East Side. Guitarist Reynold Philipsek, harmonica master Clint Hoover, bassist Matt Senjem and percussionist Michael Bissonnette will present their alluring arrangements of music from Astor Piazzolla to Miles Davis – hence the show’s title, “From Miles to Astor.” One of the highlights of the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s Jazz From J to Z season, this is a user-friendly gig, held during the warmest part of the day, with tons of free parking. Rumor has it that tickets are going fast. And if you miss it, or want more, East Side will be at Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday night (1/25).

The Loring Pasta Bar continues its Monday Night “Musique Mystique” series of duos with the very tantalizing pairing of Lucia Newell and Dean Magraw (1/24). It will be savvy and fun, and largely unpredictable. Just like jazz.

The Dave Holland Quintet was originally scheduled at the Dakota for January 24-25, but Dave had to postpone. No worries, the Roy Hargrove Quintet will be on the bandstand instead. It’s about a year since Roy and his very smokin’ band were last here, and with each visit they only rise higher and higher. In all the years I have been hearing Roy Hargrove, he never “calls it in,” but plays each gig, each note, as if it is the only one that matters. This is why we love jazz.

The Dakota makes it three hot nights in a row with the Latin Jazz All-Stars (1/26), a relatively new ensemble with the likes of trombonist/conch shell specialist Steve Turre, trumpter Claudio Roditi, pianist Benito Gonzalez, bassist Yunior Terry, percussionist Pete Escovedo, drummer Diego Lopez, and conguero Chembo Corniel. Together they will create a fiesta of Afro-Cuban, salsa, Brazilian and Latin music – definitely an antidote for our subzero weather.

Across the river, the Artists Quarter keeps things steaming this week with the local sage of vibes and drums, Marv Dahlgren, and his quartet (1/26) and the nearly monthly showcase of the Pete Whitman X-Tet (1/27).

More Jazz This Week!
See the full week (month, day) of jazz and related music on Pamela’s blog at ...In fact, do I need to list the rest of the week? Let me know if you find this helpful.

Friday (1/21). Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Pardon My French (Eagan); Angelique Kidjo at the Ordway; Deep End Music (formerly Fantastic Fridays) at the Black Dog with Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler and Pete Hennig

Saturday (1/22). Zacc Harris Trio, brunch at Hell’s Kitchen; Pig’s Eye Jass Band at the Eagles Club (Minneapolis); Schulte/Senjem/Philipsek at Hell’s Kitchen; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Three Keys Quartet at Ginger Hop (Minneapolis); Hanson/Roessler/Hennig at Café Maude.

Sunday (1/23). Patty (Harrison) and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café (Minneapolis); Martin Luther King/Tapestry of Dreams at Ted Mann (with the Steeles, Langston Hughes Project: Jazz Moods for Dreamers); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar (Minneapolis); Mouldy Figs at Shamrocks (St Paul)

Monday (1/24). Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield); Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Zacc Harris at Jazz Central.

Tuesday (1/25). Dan Newton’s Café Accordion at the Loring Pasta Bar; Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; Nick Haas Trio at Hell’s Kitchen (early set)

Wednesday (1/26). Wolverines at Hell’s Kitchen; TEFSA jam at the Artists Quarter (early set); Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield); Overtones Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

Thursday (1/27). Jelloslave at the Aster Café; Gypsy Mania at Barbette; Patrick Harrison/Jon Davis/Devon Gray at Nick & Eddie’s (Minneapolis)

Coming Soon!
• January 28, Jon Weber Trio at the AQ
• January 29-30, “Hollywood Cabaret, 1930s” with Arne Fogel, Maud Hixson, Nichola Miller and Tanner Taylor at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
• January 31- February 1, Roberta Gambarini at the Dakota
• February 3, Jazz Thursdays “Something Like a Bird” (Mingus Concert III)
• February 3, TCJS Young Artists Series, Public Newsense at the Artists Quarter
• February 4, John Scofield at the Dakotaise,

. February 4-5, Kronos Quartet at the Walker

• February 4, Matthew Shipp at the Loring Theater

• February 5, Dean Magraw and Marcus Wise, CD Release at The Cedar

• February 9-10, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
• February 11-12, Bobby Peterson Memorial Showcase at the AQ
• February 12, Roni Ben-Hur at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center
• February 18-19, Aaron Goldberg Trio at the AQ
• February 20, Laura Caviani’s “Songs of Alec Wilder” at the Bloomington Center for the Arts (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)
• February 25-26, Andres Prado at the AQ
• February 26-27, “Hollywood Cabaret 1940s” with Arne Fogel, Maud Hixson, Jennifer Eckes and Rick Carlson at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
• February 27, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Fundraiser (Brunch) at the Dakota
• February 27, Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard at Orchestra Hall
• February 27, Benefit for Dave Graf at the Artists Quarter
• March 2-3, Glenn David Andrews at the Dakota
• March 12, Mike Stern with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
• March 15, Stanley Clarke Band/Victor Wooten Band at the Dakota
• March 21-22, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

Photos: (top to bottom), Nellie McKay at the Dakota, fall 2010; Billy Peterson (at mom Jeanne's 89th birthday, August 2010); East Side (composite); Quentin Tschofen Trio (composite--Quentin, Caitlin and Emerson); Justin Robinson and Roy Hargrove at the Dakota (2009). (Photos by Andrea Canter)