Friday, December 2, 2011

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, December 2-8

© Andrea Canter

‘Tis the season for holiday music. Seems to get earlier every year. At Orchestra Hall, seems every other night has a festive spin, and the clubs and other venues around town are billing more and more “holiday shows.” But even Scrooge could find some great jazz down the street in coming weeks.

Highlights This Week
What Would Monk Do
…. in 2011? Since his music in mid-20th century seemed to come from some future planet, he would probably feel right at home at the Artists Quarter this weekend (12/2-3). This quartet (Steve Kenny, Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst) take Monk for a playful romp. Not a lot of jingle bells. And not far away at the Black Dog, another quartet mixes up some futuristic mischief of its own design, when Community Pool/Deep End curators Nathan Hanson and Brian Roessler bring on the free improvising team of Ellen Lease and Pat Moriarty for a night of curious inventions in varying combinations, Friday night only (12/2).

But if it’s a holiday mood you are looking for, look no farther than Orchestra Hall and the quasi-annual visit from trumpet king Chris Botti (12/2). Yes, he’s made his reputation (and fortune) topping contemporary jazz charts and wooing pop-oriented audiences, but along the way he’s gathered accolades from real jazz critics for his real jazz chops. And he has a penchant for selecting similarly skilled collaborators who are best known for their work in jazz clubs. Take his keyboard partner for instance—it’s one of the Twin Cities’ favorites, Eau Claire native Geoffrey Keezer. This won’t be Monk and it won’t be free improve, but it will be real music. And in a holiday spirit.

Come Sunday (12/4), it’s time for the monthly installment of PipJazz Sunday at Landmark Center. This time, host and soaring singer Pippi Ardennia welcomes special guest, vocalist and former NFL player Esera Tuaolo. We can expect some sensational duet supported by a crackerjack rhythm section. (Didn’t we just hear Peter Schimke and Billy Peterson at the AQ?) Also on the bill—the monthly “student guest artist,” this month with an amazing young violinist, Zosha Warpeha, a student at Perpich who fiddles in bluegrass, classical and jazz well beyond her 16 years.

Midweek, guitarist Dean Magraw and tabla partner Marcus Weiss celebrate the first Tuesday of the month at the Black Dog (12/6), with the Zacc Harris Quartet on the bandstand Wednesday night (12/7)—that’s two consecutive nights of edgy improvisation in Lowertown. Or just relax with a cocktail at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, where Connie Evingson holds her monthly Jazz in the Lounge (12/7), this month saluting the holidays with Sanford Moore on keys.

More Jazz!
There’s too much to remember so tune into KBEM 88.5 and check the website for the continually updated jazz calendar! Some additional recommendations:
Friday, December 2: Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; New Standards holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater; Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble at the West Bank School of Music

Saturday, December 3: Frankhouse, brunch at Hell’s Kitchen; James Buckley Trio, Hell’s Kitchen; JazzZen at The Nicollet; Joan Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); New Standards holiday show at the Fitzgerald Theater; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen

Sunday, December 4: Gypsy in Me—gypsy jazz with the Baaken Trio and Sidewalk Café at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Celebrate Minnesota benefit for bartender Karl Schwartz at the Dakota

Monday, December 5: Catherine Russell at the Dakota; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; U of M Jazz Ensemble Big Band concert at Ted Mann

Tuesday, December 6: Joel Shapira at The Nicollet; Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter; Dirty Wontons at Café Maude; Jack Brass at the Driftwood; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood

Wednesday, December 7: Steve Kenny and the Bastids at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza

Thursday, December 8: McNally Smith Night at the Artists Quarter; Bruce Henry at Hell’s Kitchen; Rhonda Laurie at Three Crows (Delano); Christine Rosholt at the 318; Sophia Shorai with Bryan Nichols at Barbette

Coming Soon!
• December 9 & 11, “Jingle Bell Doc” (Severinson) at Orchestra Hall
• December 9, Bruce Henry at the Dakota
• 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 10, “White Christmas” with Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson at the Heights Theater
• December 12, One Heartland Benefit at the Dakota with Teri Roiger
• December 13, Box Car (Wessell Anderson, 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 16-17, 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 20, KBEM Holiday Restaurant Tour with Bryan Nichols, Adam Linz, Todd Clouser at Café Maude
• December 22, Nick Videen and Minnesota Nice at the Artists Quarter
• December 23, 25-26, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
• December 27, Chris Morrissey at Café Maude
• December 27, Paris Strother Trio at the Dakota
• December 28, Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter
• 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 & Rick Germanson
• January 15, Bryan Nichols “Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet” at the Artists Quarter
• February 15-16, Hugh Masekela at the Dakota
• February 18, Kurt Elling and Lizz Wright at Orchestra Hall
• March 1-2, Vijay Iyer at the Walker Art Center (McGuire Theater)

Photos, top to bottom: Billy Peterson (What Would Monk Do, PipJazz); Pat Moriarty with Ellen Lease; Pippi Ardennia (photos by Andrea Canter)