Friday, November 18, 2011

The Lead Sheeet: Twin Cities Jazz, November 18-24

© Andrea Canter

With the cold weather suddenly upon us, there’s only one sane thing to do: Warm up with some hot music. Holiday shows will be popping up soon, but right now, the options include more timeless fare from all walks of jazz.

Top Picks
Laura Caviani (11/18-19) is a busy jazz educator and composer, and her public performances lately have been more often out of town. So it’s a double treat to have two nights with Laura and her trio at the Artists Quarter this weekend. Joining her this time will be bassist Gary Raynor and drummer Jay Epstein, familiar faces and sympathetic partners. As for the music, Laura notes her playlist will include “jazz renditions of classical repertoire from my childhood, including works by Bach, Chopin, Macdowell, and Debussy, to name a few…We'll also include some Alec Wilder and Mary Lou Williams's hits for good measure, and of course the standard fare of Monk, Tin Pan Alley, and an original or two." Can’t miss! (Don Berryman has posted a bunch of videos of Laura’s AQ performances on You Tube.)

Zacc Harris (11/19), via an MRAC grant, is curating a monthly jazz series at Studio Z, and he’s giving his own band a turn Saturday night. The Zacc Harris Group includes his core quartet of Bryan Nichols, Chris and JT Bates, expanded to include exciting saxophonist Brandon Wozniak. Earlier in the day (1 pm), they’ll hold a free and open rehearsal, a great way to gain some insight into the music and the development of group improvisation.

Also Saturday night, at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center, it’s another dose of the JazzMN Orchestra (11/19), this time focusing on the music of Miles Davis. No guest trumpeter, this concert instead highlights the talents of the JazzMN horn section (trumpeters Dave Jensen, Steve Strand, Bob Holgrimson and Jeff Gottwig) as they take a trip through Miles’ wide-ranging career.

Like your pizza with thin crust and a side of swing? There’s always both on Monday and Wednesday nights at Fireside Pizza in Richfield where the house band is Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg….unless Charmin is off on a gig in Spain or another venue. Then another local songbird fills in, and when you can get subs like Maud Hixson (11/21) and Rhonda Laurie (11/23), it’s a perfect pizza night. Back from her recent performance at the New York Cabaret Conference, Maud might have a few new things up her sleeve, while Rhonda has been heard most recently swinging with Sidewalk Café, Robert Bell and Phil Mattson. Either night (or better, both nights), when Maud and Rhonda take the mic next to Denny’s accordion, it will be a night of great songs, great lyrics, and great pizza.

Tuesday is another great night for song. The Nicollet presents Vicky Mountain (11/21) and cohorts from the Jazz Vocalists of Minnesota (Maggie Diebel, Teresa Manzella and Karen Quiroz) giving Autumn a musical farewell. Not far down the street at the Dakota, New York-based Minnesota native Vanessa Trouble (11/21) returns for a night of sultry song with that Big Apple sheen.

If you missed the CD release earlier this month at the Artists Quarter, on Wednesday you have another opportunity to hear the Doug Haining Quintet (11/23) at Jazz Central. With trombonist Scott Agster ably filling in for Dave Graf, the rest of the band on Last Man Swinging will be on hand, and all will vie to be that last man—Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal and Dick Bortolussi joining Haining and Agster. And there is another CD release party at the AQ tonight, as Mary Louise Knutson (11/23) celebrates In the Bubble with Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey, who both figure prominently on the recording. There’s a long list of new compositions from ML and her inventive arrangements of “It Could Happen to You,” “Bluesette,” “That’s All,” “Bernie’s Tune” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is.” A night with this trio and you will at least know what jazz is!

More Jazz!
Keep up with local jazz via KBEM—the jazz calendar online and Maryann Sullivan’s Local Corner (Thursdays) and Corner Jazz on Sundays, along with all the other great interviews, jazz and related programming. Some more recommended gigs for the week:

Friday, November 18: Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); the Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Pat O'Keefe, Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler and Ta Cumba Aiken at the Black Dog

Saturday, November 19: Nichola Miller and Tanner Taylor at Hell’s Kitchen; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske with Nathan Norman at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Emily Green at the Eagle’s Aerie Club

Sunday, November 20: Regina Marie Williams as Nina Simone at the Capri Theater (Legends Series); Kavanessence (Vanessa Dembo and Mark Bloom) at the Sabes Jewish Community Center; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, November 21: Headspace at the Artists Quarter

Tuesday, November 22: Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; Frankhouse at Hell’s Kitchen; Jack Brass Band at the Driftwood; Still Black Still Proud (Peewee Ellis, Maceo Parker and more) tribute to James Brown at the Ordway

Wednesday, November 23, Vital Organ at Hell’s Kitchen

Coming Soon!
• November 25-26, Pat Mallinger CD Release at the Artists Quarter
• November 30, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, CD Release at the Dakota
• December 1, Christine Rosholt and Kevin Hall, CD Release at the Dakota
• December 1, Nova Jazz Orchestra and the Minnetonka High School Jazz Band at Minnetonka HS (Jazz From J to Z)
• December 4, PipJazz Sunday (Pippi Ardennia with guest Esera Tualo) at Landmark Center
• December 5, Catherine Russell at the Dakota
• December 9 & 11, “Jingle Bell Doc” (Severinson) at Orchestra Hall
• December 9-10, Red Planet at the Artists Quarter
• December 10, “The Crosby/Clooney Story,” Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
• December 13, Box Car (Jeremy Walker, Anthony Cox, JT Bates) at the Dakota
• December 14, José James at the Dakota
• December 16, Todd Clouser’s Love Electric at Studio Z
• December 1-17, Debbie Duncan at the Artists Quarter
• December 17, Bryan Nichols’ We Are Many at Studio Z
• December 18, Peterson Family Christmas at the Dakota
• December 22, Nick Videen Quartet at the Artists Quarter
• December 23, 25-26, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
• December 29, Dave Hagedorn and Dan Cavanagh at the Artists Quarter
• December 30, Rick Germanson Trio at the Artists Quarter
• December 31, New Year’s Eve Party at the Artists Quarter with Carole Martin and Rick Germanson
• February 15-16, Hugh Masekela at the Dakota
• March 1-2, Vijay Iyer at the Walker Art Center (McGuire Theater)

Photos (top to bottom): Laura Caviani; Zacc Harris; Vanessa Trouble; Doug Haining (photos by Andrea Canter)