Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jazz Is Back at Cafe Maude

© Andrea Canter

It’s a rather odd place for modern music and for a while the music disappeared. But Café Maude in southwest Minneapolis is again sporting some of the most innovative sounds in town, once per week for now, and starting off with some of the most consistently creative jazz musicians on the scene.

For the most part, jazz at Maude was a later night, weekend event through winter 2011, with the likes of Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz, Dean Granros, James Buckley and more starting off at 9 pm as the dinner crowd filtered out and eager listeners grabbed tables near the small stage. Then for about two months, no music at all. The revival is most welcome given the paucity of venues for this level of improvised music in the metro. Will it last this time around?

Maybe. Although eager to hear the Dean Granros Trio tonight, I felt bombarded by the sound system during much of the first set. This is not a large place, a bistro with a few rows of tables on either side of the bar. And it is a restaurant, and with a 7 pm start for the music, jazz had to compete with the dinner crowd…. And vice versa. And it seemed that few patrons were there to listen to music that was not chosen for its compatibility with conversation. No faulting the trio—Dean Granros is one of the most inventive artists around, and his cohorts, James Buckely (bass) and David Seru (drums) are similarly inclined. Granros coaxed a wide range of sounds from that one guitar, and he and Buckley gave us some serious string dialogue at all tempos, all volumes. The schedule for the rest of May promises similar degrees of artistic freedom, with Zacc Harris, Bryan Nichols, Dean Magraw and more.

If you value the availability of this music, in a convenient location, free parking, no cover, with tasty and diverse food offerings, do plan a Wednesday evening at Café Maude sometime soon. Just don’t expect a quiet romantic evening. Save your conversation for later, have ear plugs just in case, and enjoy the music. (And maybe that chocolate torte.)

Photo: Dean Granros (in the better lighting of the Artists Quarter, by Andrea Canter)