Friday, September 23, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, September 23-29

© Andrea Canter

Falling temperatures, changing colors, pre-holiday sales? Our “theater” of seasons marches on, but it’s always a good season for jazz in the Twin Cities. Just check out the week’s offerings and plan your route through whatever makes your ears dance.

Every year, Macalester College’s Music Department brings in a nationally renowned jazz artist for a two-day residency followed by a free public concert on campus. On Friday (9/23), the very unusual vocalist Theo Bleckmann closes his residency with what is sure to be a memorable performance at the Macalester Plymouth Church. Nate Chinen of the New York Times summarizes Bleckmann as “a vocalist of inventive instinct and assiduous musicality, he’s never more secure than when in reverie, plumbing depths at once familiar and strange.” Should be the reverie of the year!

A new monthly jazz series gets underway Saturday (9/24) at the intimate Studio Z in Lowertown St. Paul. Curated by guitarist/bandleader Zacc Harris, the series could not have a better start than the Dave King Trucking Company. Locally based (save saxophonist Chris Speed, who is not on this gig), DKTC not only features the Bad Plus/Happy Apple drummer but our own heavyweights, saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, guitarist Erik Fratzke and bassist Adam Linz. Their debut CD (Good Old Light) and recent appearances in New York sealed the deal—this is one of the best of the new crop of collaborative improvisers out there. Studio Z is experimenting with beer and wine sales this weekend. And there’s a free workshop (open rehearsal) with King at 1 pm, part of the jazz series.

New York-based saxophonist Jim Snidero makes his nearly annual pilgrimage to the Artists Quarter this weekend (9/23-24). The alum of Brother Jack McDuff’s touring band is perhaps as well known for his work in jazz education as for his virtuosic horn, commuting from New York to Indiana to run that university’s jazz sax studio. Still he is has found time to perform with such luminaries as Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Kirkland, Benny Green, Louis Hayes, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Peter Washington, Eric Alexander, and Paul Bollenback.

With matriarch Jeanne celebrating 90 this summer, the Peterson Family has been in the limelight even more than usual. And it continues Sunday afternoon (9/25) with their Gershwin salute, "Our Love is Here to Stay" at the Bloomington Center for the Arts, the kickoff concert for TCJS’s Jazz From J to Z season. Count on Jeanne, offspring Patty, Billy and Linda, and some other Petersons to brighten the afternoon with some of the best of the Great American Songbook.

Christine Rosholt has proven star power in the Twin Cities, and it seems it really does not matter if she is fronting a quartet or big band, singing Harold Arlen or Irving Berlin. But Christine has also proven herself to be a restless seeker of new material, and Monday (9/26) she brings her “Jazz Meets the Bard” project to the Jungle Theater, backed by an ensemble of local heroes including Dave Karr and Dave Jensen on horns, and a rhythm section of Tanner Taylor, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein. Only Epstein was on hand back in 2005 when Christine first presented songs drawn from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, music courtesy of Ellington, Strayhorn, Dankworth and Young. Now, with some additions and refinements, that critically acclaimed show is again on stage. The preview on Almanac was totally charming.

The great late vibist Lionel Hampton is celebrated over two nights at the Dakota (9/26-27), with an intriguing cast putting Jason Marsalis in the vibraphone chair, with singer/pianist Dianne Schurr, saxophonist Red Holloway, and trombonist Fred Wesley.

Jane Monheit returns to the Dakota for one night, Wednesday (9/28). Although the hype surrounding her debut over a decade ago may have seemed overblown at the time, Jane is evolving into a true jazz interpreter who isn’t even afraid to scat now and then, and her increasing fearlessness (which she has attributed to motherhood) only enhances her superb vocal instrument.

Minnesota Orchestra opens its new season this week (9/29-10/1) with a jazzy twist, a new commissioned work by father and son, Stephen and Greg Paulus. The younger Paulus is a grad of the Manhattan School of Music and trumpeter/composer based in New York. Their first major collaboration (Time Piece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra) includes Greg with Mike Lewis, Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz and JT Bates.

Not a jazz joint, the Kyber Pass restaurant in St Paul has been presenting new and improvised music, but is facing financial setbacks. This week, you can help support live music by attending a promising series of fund-raising gigs at the restaurant, featuring some of our favorite modern improvisers: Davu Seru and Dean Magraw (9/23); Merciless Ghost with George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, Davu Seru (9/24); Charcoal with Anthony Cox, Milo Fine, Davu Seru (9/25); Jelloslave with Jacqueline Ultan, Michelle Kinney, Greg Schutte, Gary Waryan (9/29). The Dave King Trucking Company and Joan Griffith/Clea Galhano are featured next weekend.

More Jazz!
Check the KBEM Jazz Calendar online for updates and more listings. A few more recommendations:

Friday, September 23: Tim Patrick and Blue-Eyed Band with Maud Hixson at the Medina Ballroom; Lee Engele at Pardon My French.

Saturday, September 24: Hosmer Library free, world music series with the Wailing Ships Trio; Joel Shapira at Ingredients Café; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske, live recording for Minnesota Live at the Lobby Bar, St Paul Hotel; Orange Mighty Trio, Dakota Late Night

Sunday, September 25: Patty and the Buttons, Aster Café brunch; Ticket to Brasil and friends at the Como Lakeside Pavilion (4 pm)

Monday, September 26: Lucia Newell and Dean Magraw, Musique Mystique at Loring Pasta Bar; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Hobert at Jazz Central

Tuesday, September 27: Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; Big Band Tuesdays with the Nova Jazz Orchestra at the Shorewood; Frankhouse at Hell’s Kitchen; Emily Green and Chris Lomheim at The Nicollet; Jack Brass at the Driftwood

Wednesday, September 28: Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Phil Aaron Trio at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines at Hell’s Kitchen

Thursday, September 29: Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter; Christine Rosholt at Hell’s Kitchen.

Coming Soon!
• September 30, Nancy Harms at the Artists Quarter
• October 1, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter
• October 1, Connie Evingson and the John Jorgenson Quintet at the Hopkins Center for the Arts
• October 1, JazzMN Orchestra with John Clayton at the Hopkins High School Arts Center
• October 2, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis at Orchestra Hall
• October 4, Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society at O’Shaughnessy
• October 7-8, Red Planet at the Artists Quarter
• October 9, PipJazz at Landmark Center with Irv Williams
• October 10, Rondi Charleston with Lynne Arriale and Dave Stryker at the Dakota
• October 13, U of M Jazz Bands, Salute to Art Blakey at Ted Mann
• October 13, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
• October 16, Soul Café at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church
• October 19, Wallace Roney Quintet at the Artists Quarter
• October 20, REEL Jazz at the Trylon Cinema, films by Bob DeFlores
• October 21-22, Matt Slocum Trio at the Artists Quarter
• October 22, Joe Lovano and Us Five at the Hopkins Center for the Arts
• October 22, Seven Steps to Havna at Studio Z
• October 24, Dead Cat Bounce at Studio Z
• October 26, Bryan Nichols at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music
• October 28, Herbie Hancock Solo Piano at Orchestra Hall
• November 1, John Scofield Quartet at the Dakota
• November 12, Insurgent (Pat Moriarty, Ellen Lease, Phil Hey) at Studio Z
• November 16, Al Jarreau at the Pantages Theater
• November 25-26, Pat Mallinger and Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter
• December 25-27, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
• March 1-2, Vijay Iyer at the Walker Art Center (McGuire Theater)

Photos: (Top to bottom) Dave King; Patty and Billy Peterson; Christine Rosholt with Graydon Peterson; Jason Marsalis (photos by Andrea Canter)