Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, May 20-26

© Andrea Canter

This weekend alone offers dizzying choices in live jazz, and some tough choices must be made! But surely everyone can find music! (See Twin Cities Jazz Week in Review for my highlights of the past week, on this blog.)

Highly Recommended This Week
“Rite of Spring,” Stravinsky’s once-controversial ballet and one of the most influential works of 20th century music gets a transformation from The Bad Plus, at the Loring Theater (5/20-21). And given reviews of the premiere at Duke University two months ago, we’re in for a few surprises as TBP retains the full score without giving up any of their audacious tactics.

On the same nights, pianist Bryan Nichols and a quintet that boasts two great saxophonists (Brandon Wozniak and Michael Lewis), inventive bassist James Buckley and the always spontaneous drummer JT Bates celebrates a long-awaited recording project at the Artists Quarter (5/20-21). His Bright Places is accessible and savvy, bright and dark. All things Bryan.

And Saturday night (5/21) adds yet more modern innovators to the equation as the seldom-performing Insurgents (Pat Moriarty, Ellen Lease, Phil Hey) join New York saxophonist Michael Attias for some mayhem at Studio Z. It will be recorded, so perhaps one day soon we can look forward to a CD release event?

No respite from tough choices come Sunday (5/22). In Minneapolis, it’s "The Foundations of Funk" at Orchestra Hall as Maceo Parker and Christian McBride bring their bands to town for some seriously funky music-making. In addition to hearing two leaders of their respective genres, note that Patrice Rushen will be on keys for McBride. (Note time change, to 7:30 pm.) Across town at the Artists Quarter, Paula Lammers celebrates her second recording, Deep Purple Dreams, and those dreams extended to a band of Mary Louise Knutson, Billy Peterson, and Jay Epstein. And speaking of funky, just down the street from Orchestra Hall, saxophonist Candy Dulfer kicks off a two night stand at the Dakota (5/22-23).

One of the biggest gigs of the year, Four Generations of Miles will cover four editions of the great trumpeter’s ensembles, featuring a mainstay of each—guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Buster Williams, saxophonist Sonny Fortune and drummer Jimmy Cobb. No trumpet needed to pay tribute to the Prince of Darkness. Four sets at the Dakota, 5/24-25.

Continuing a new trend toward vocalists at the Artists Quarter, Judi Donaghy joins the Wolverines Trio on Wednesday night (5/25, 8 pm start). With her recent production at McNally Smith for its Live at Five series, Judi is overcoming the drought in her public performances, and the jazz community is all the better for it.

I recall many years ago (2004?) attending an unusual musical evening at St Kate’s, the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay set to song and instrumental ensemble under the leadership of vocalist/songwriter Prudence Johnson. A Girl Name Vincent has now been released as a CD and the production itself revived and revised, coming to the Dakota on 5/27. Many of the Twin Cities’ finest are involved, including Dan Chouinard, Laura Caviani, Joan Griffith, Michelle Kinney and more, and the music soars through the life and times of one of the most intriguing figures of modern literature.

The International Trumpet Guild Convention is in town (at the Hilton downtown Minneapolis) all week, with jams at 11 pm at the Dakota. Of special interest, former TC star Kelly Rossum jams on Wednesday night (5/25) with Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates and JT Bates (his old quartet), and the international improvisation competition finalists perform Thursday night (5/26), including Minnetonka High School grad Jake Baldwin (currently at New England Conservatory of Music). See the convention website for a full calendar of public performances during the week.

More Jazz, Every Night
Pamela’s blog and the Twin Cities Jazz Society website will help you find jazz any night, every night. Some additional recommendations:

Friday, May 20: Firebell (Park Evans, Graydon Peterson, Jay Esptein) at Shanghai Bistro (Stillwater); Roseville High School Jazz Ensemble with Michael Attias at Roseville Area High School); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Milo Fine and Symphonic Transients at the Northern Warehouse (St Paul); Community Pool/Deep End series with Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler and Paul Metzger at the Black Dog.

Saturday, May 21: Nick Haas CD release at Hell’s Kitchen; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Pardon My French; Travis Anderson Trio, Jazz@ St Barney’s (St Barnabus Church in Plymouth); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota

Sunday, May 22: Patty and the Buttons at the Aster Café (brunch); Milo Fine and Symphonic Transients at Northern Warehouse (St Paul); Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Winebar

Monday, May 23: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Adam Meckler Quartet at Jazz Central; Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson, Musique Mystique at Loring Pasta Bar; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield)

Tuesday, May 24: Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; “An Evening of Jazz and Gospel Music With Charmin & Shapira & Friends” at Gethsemane Lutheran Church (Maplewood); JT Bates at Jazz Central

Wednesday, May 25: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza (Richfield); Dean Magraw and Bryan Nichols at Café Maude; The Hornheads at the International Trumpet Guild convention at the Minneapolis Hilton

Thursday, May 26: Frankhouse at Hell’s Kitchen; Pete Whitman’s X-Tet at the Artists Quarter

Coming Soon!
• 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) The Bad Plus; Ellen Lease (Insurgents); Christian McBride; Jake Baldwin (ITG Competition) (All photos by Andrea Canter)