Friday, May 13, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, May 13-19

© Andrea Canter

The next two weekends are just impossible—if you want to get to every big jazz gig. I hope this just brings everyone out rather than spread the audience too thinly! But no doubt, the Twin Cities has one of the most vibrant jazz scenes in the country!

Highlights, Last Week
Rhonda Laurie, Happy Days Are Here Again at the Delano Library (May 6). One of the many presentations Rhonda has scheduled via Legacy funding, bringing the history and songs of the 20s, 30s and 40s to small towns throughout central Minnesota. With her in Delano, Robert Bell, Gary Schulte and Jeff Brueske. Definitely a happy afternoon. (see blog)

Atlantis Quartet, live recording sessions at the Artists Quarter (May 6-7). A quartet of the most creative composers and improvisers in our area, with Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes chaotic, full of surprises and always exciting to hear. Can’t wait for the recording.

Bobby Lyle, Organ Trio at the Dakota (May 11). Home town boy makes good…. It’s always a treat to have Bobby back where it all began, fingers flying, joy pouring out of every run. And special treat this time was guest saxman Irv Williams. His “Sophisticated Ladies” was indeed savvy but also sweet as we expect from Irv. 91 and still blowing beautifully.

Dakota Combo, Jazz Thursdays at MacPhail (May 12). For their last formal performance of their season, these teen jazzers gave the Antonello Hall audience a spirited dose of Charles Mingus, adding in a tune from local hero Carei Thomas, a favorite original from pianist Quentin Tschofen ("Spleen") and a fully improvised tune from the collective titled "Open Letter to Charlie Sheen." (Yeah, it was raw, quirky and unsettling!)

Highly Recommended, This Week
It might be hard to sort out priorities this weekend. The good news is that you really can’t miss.
The weekend got off to an early start Thursday with the first of three nights (5/12-14) of wild accordion from Guy Klucevsek, joining forces with the innovators of Zeitgeist on new arrangements of relatively new compositions. I got a preview earlier in the week (see blog, 5/10) and promise nothing short of fun. What could be more fun than avant garde accordion, a marimba, drums, piano, bass clarinet… How about two musicians on one marimba? What about an adult playing a toy piano? You’ll have to come to Studio Z in St Paul and see and hear it for yourself.

Red Planet has long been a favorite of modern jazz fans and one of the most popular acts at the Artists Quarter. This weekend (5/13-14) the trans-galactic threesome of Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein launch their first CD, Space Dust. (Review here) It’s everything you expect from Red Planet, some Coltrane, originals from the band, a little rock. Lots of roll.

Jazz comes back to Hopkins Center for the Arts with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet on Saturday (5/14). Chris and Dan Brubeck have quite a legacy to follow, but they are doing it on their own merits and in their own styles. With Mike Demicco and Chuck Lamb, the quartet promises an evening of high flying straight-ahead magic. (Keep you eye on the HCA new season—some big jazz gigs are coming our way in the west burb!)

I first heard trumpeter John Raymond as a college freshman on the bandstand with an early version of Jazz Is Now. Soon he had his own John Raymond Project, then a degree from UW-Eau Claire, and then grad studies in New York (SUNY-Purchase) with the great John Faddis. He’s leading a Midwest tour this month with cohorts from the New York area, stopping this weekend at the Dakota for Late Night antics on Saturday (5/14) and then for two sets at the Artists Quarter Sunday night (5/15).

Joel Shapira has assembled a firebrand quartet with Pete Whitman, Tom Lewis and Dave Schmalenberger, celebrating the group’s first CD, Open Lines, at Hell’s Kitchen next Thursday (5/19). Joel’s no stranger to recordings, working with Triplicate and in duo with Charmin Michelle as Charmin & Shapira. But this is truly Joel’s group, charging through some classic jazz tunes from Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, Jobim and more.

Hope you already reserved free tickets to the KBEM MayFest at the Loring Theater on Thursday (5/19), as the website says there’s no seats left! The Bryan Nichols Trio, Patrick Harrison, the Chris Lomheim Quartet, Arne Fogel, Connie Evingson, Maud Hixson and Debbie Duncan with Tanner Taylor make for a formidable lineup.

More Jazz All Week
See club schedules as well as listings from Pamela’s blog and TCJS website. Among additional recommendations:
Friday, May 13: It’s Lucky Friday the 13th with a quintet headed by Nathan Hanson and Erik Fratzke at the Black Dog; Lee Engele with James Allen at Mendoberri Wine Bar (former Sage space)

Saturday, May 14: Israeli flautist Mattan Klein with the Chris Lomheim Trio at the Loring Theater; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel)

Sunday, May 15: Patty and the Buttons for brunch at the Aster Café; Century Jazz Ensemble at Century College; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, May 16: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle with Rick Carlson at Loring Pasta Bar’s Musique Mystique; Maud Hixson and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield); Steve Tyrell at the Dakota; Jimmie Wallace at Barbette

Tuesday, May 17: Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; Steve Tyrell at the Dakota; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood

Wednesday, May 18: Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Brian Grivna Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield); Ottmer Liebert at the Dakota; Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen

Thursday, May 19: Ottmer Liebert at the Dakota; Tanner Taylor Trio at the Artists Quarter

Coming Soon!
• May 20, Roseville Area High School Jazz Ensemble at Studio Z

• May 20-21, The Bad Plus (Rite of Spring) at the Loring Theater

• May 20-21, Bryan Nichols CD Release at the AQ

• May 21, Insurgent - Threat Level Orange, with special guest Michael Attias at Studio Z

• May 22, Maceo Parker and Christian McBride at Orchestra Hall

• May 22, Paula Lammers CD release at the AQ

• May 22-23, Candy Dulfer at the Dakota

• May 24-25, Four Generations of Miles (Stern, Fortune, Williams, Cobb) at the Dakota

• May 24-27, International Trumpet Guild, Minneapolis Convention Center; nightly jams at the Dakota

• May 27-29, Eric Alexander at the Artists Quarter

• May 29, Moore by Four at the Dakota

• June 2, MacPhail Advanced Jazz Ensemble (TCJS Young Artists Series) at the Artists Quarter

• June 3-4, Debbie Duncan at the Artists Quarter

• June 5-6, Stacey Kent at the Dakota

• June 17-18, Tommy O’Donnell Trio at the Artists Quarter

• June 20-21, Hiromi with Steve Smith at the Dakota

• June 24-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival with Gary Burton, Danilo Perez and more, at Mears Park
• June 26, “Two Bass Hit” with John Pattitucci and Billy Peterson at the Artists Quarter

• July 12, Rene Marie at the Dakota

• July 16, DakotaFest on Nicollet Mall

Photos: (top to bottom) Guy Klucevsek with Zeitgeist percussionist Heather Barringer at Studio Z; Red Planet at the Artists Quarter; Joel Shapira (photos by Andrea Canter)