Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, July 1-8

© Andrea Canter

The best music deal in the Midwest this weekend is 300 miles south of the Twin Cities at the annual Iowa City Jazz Festival. If you don’t have holiday plans yet, consider the 5-hour drive (4 lanes all the way!) as a shortcut to 2 ½ days of diverse jazz, starting off Friday night with student ensembles and culminating Sunday night in Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio before the fireworks. In between, hear vocalist Carmen Bradford, trombone star Josh Roseman, John Ellis’s Double Wide, and fast-rising trumpeter Ambrose Akinmisure. It’s all free, outdoors (yes, some seating in the shade!), and the main stage never competes with other music. A great selection of food concessions is available, too.

If you are sticking around town this weekend, there’s some good options despite holiday closings. Nathan Hanson (sax) and Brian Roessler (bass) continue their collaboration at the Black Dog on Friday night (7/1). Anchors of the Fantastic Merlins, these guys never seem to run out of ideas for improvisation and spontaneous composition. (And the Black Dog is a cool place to hang out, with an expanded menu, local brews, and more.) A midday visit to the Midtown Global Market on Saturday will pay off with a couple hours from Charmin (Michelle) and Shapira (Joel) as the duo serenades in the atrium (7/2). Charmin, with Denny Malmberg, returns to Fireside Pizza on Wednesday night (7/6) for a salute to New Orleans with bassist Pooch Heine. For dinner or a nightcap, stop in at First Course Bistro in south Minneapolis Saturday night (7/2) for the swinging sounds of vocalist Vicky Mountain and guitarist James Allen—a little Ella meets Joe Pass.

A leisurely Sunday brunch at the Aster Café (7/3) will feature accordion virtuoso Patty (Patrick Harrison) and the Buttons, while an evening stroll around a quiet East Minneapolis neighborhood will bring you to the vibrant sounds of the Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar. For post-holiday music, you can always count on Tuesday nights at the Artists Quarter, starting off the evening with the Cory Wong Quartet and then staying on for the ever-grooving Tuesday Night Band—aka B-3 Organ Night. Or head down to the Black Dog for the guitar/drum duo of Dean Magraw and Davu Seru, guaranteed magic (7/5).

And you can enjoy energetic trumpeter Steve Kenny twice this week, as he hosts the usual early show Wednesday night (7/6) at the Artists Quarter, but then brings his quartet in for prime time on Thursday night (7/7). Note the AQ is closed through the three-day weekend.

Coming Soon!
• July 8, Lucia Newell and Maud Hixson at the Artists Quarter (Strayhorn/Ellington salute)

• July 10, PipJazz with Pippi Ardennia, Chris Lomheim, Jamecia Bennett at Landmark Center

• July 12, Rene Marie at the Dakota

• July 13, Dan Cavanagh and Dave Hagedorn at the Artists Quarter

• July 16, Dakota StreetFest on Nicollet Mall

• July 16, Reynold Philipsek CD Release at the Aster Café

• July 20-21, Karrin Allyson at the Dakota

• July 22-23, Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter

• July 25, Lucia Newell and Dean Magraw at the Loring Pasta Bar

• July 29-30, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter

• July 30, Midtown Global Market Jazz Festival

• August 3, Jon Weber at the Artists Quarter

• August 11, Freedom Jazz Festival at Minnehaha Park

• August 20, Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival

• August 22, Ben Sidran with Irv Williams at the Dakota

• October 28, Herbie Hancock Solo Piano at Orchestra Hall

For a Twin Cities live jazz calendar, see the KBEM website

Photos: (Top to bottom ) The Iowa City Jazz Festival, on the Pentacrest lawn in front of Old Capitol; Brian Roessler at the Black Dog; Charmin (Michelle) and (Joel) Shapira, this month at Midtown Global Market. (All photos by Andrea Canter)