Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, January 27 - February 2

© Andrea Canter

Lots going on as the St Paul Winter Carnival heats up, but even without the added merriment, jazz offerings alone make for some tough decisions as there are intriguing gigs at every turn. But it also means you can’t lose.

Highlights, This Week
Give your weekend a relaxing jumpstart at the Dakota early Friday evening with the proverbial Happy Hour team of Irv Williams and Peter Schimke. About 40 years apart, the pianist and saxman nonetheless are like brothers once the music starts, as their recording Duo attests. And given that Irv is 92, any chance to hear him play is a gift. This Friday, if you stick around for prime time, you’ll hear the vibrant, countrified jazz/fusion sounds of the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra.

Or take a trip out I-94. Back in the Midwest after their annual runs at the Dakota and Village Vanguard, The Bad Plus turns up in St. Cloud Friday night (1/17), bringing music and mayhem to the classic trappings of the Paramount Theater. If you missed them at the Dakota, this might be a good alternative. And if you miss them in St. Cloud, remember they will be back in late June with pal Joshua Redman to close out the Twin Cities Jazz Festival (6/30).

If St Cloud is too far for a winter’s night drive Friday night, then the 318 Café in Wayzata is an easy stroll, and a chance to hear some new music from guitar genie Reynold Philipsek before he leaves town for a month. There will be some previews of his upcoming CD, Last Summer, and some collaborations with bassist Matt Senjem and percussionist Michael Bissonnette. And with your $10 you get your pick of CDs from Reyn’s treasure chest.

Two weeks ago we heard fiery ensembles back-to-back at the Artists Quarter, with wholly different approaches to the piano and repertoire, and already we are getting a second dose. Richard Johnson returns to the Midwest this weekend (1/27-28) at the Shanghai Bistro in Hudson with AQ trio mates Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy. Expect a night filled with swing and bebop and a sprinkling of stride.

Also on Friday and Saturday (1/27-28) at the Artists Quarter, Bryan Nichols and his Quintet reprise, in part, their January 15th recreation of the music of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet, along with a good dose of original compositions. The show two weeks ago was one Bryan’s best, and that is saying quite a lot. They will have to make do without percussionist Jay Epstein this round, but otherwise it’s the same ensemble, doubling Jarrett’s sax section with both Mike Lewis and Brandon Wozniak, with James Buckley on bass, JT Bates on drums and, of course, Bryan on piano.

And Brandon and JT are going to need a helicopter Saturday night (1/28), starting the evening early with the Monk in Motian ensemble at Studio Z (7 pm). Generally paying homage to the music of Thelonious Monk as interpreted by Motian’s Electric Bebop Band, this concert (part of the Jazz at Studio Z series) will more thoroughly honor the late Paul Motian by sporting three drummers—Pete Hennig, Davu Seru and JT, as well as Wozniak and Scott Fultz on saxophones, Zacc Harris and Park Evans on guitars, and Matt Peterson on bass. Monk in Motian does not gather often, given the busy careers of each of these artists. They will be sharing on open rehearsal at Studio Z at 4 pm (no charge for the rehearsal).

If you like the idea of two guitars, you can get your wish two more times this weekend with “Guitars Extraordinaire” in the Black Box Theater of the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Saturday night (1/28) and Sunday matinee (1/29). And what could be more extraordinaire than master guitarist/bassist/mandolinist Joan Griffith and the young veteran of hot club music, guitarist Sam Miltich. Add to this pair the guest vocals of Connie Evingson and the percussion support of Dave Schmalenberger and you have a recipe for enchanting interpretations of Brazilian and swing standards and likely some original works from Joan. Tickets for Saturday were nearly gone, and a handful remained for Sunday at last report. Call the theater to see what’s left.

Diverse options on Tuesday (1/31): For some swinging takes on the Great American songbook, look no farther than Maryann Sullivan as she takes the mic herself at The Nicollet. For the past few years, she has kept her talents under wraps, stepping out now and then as Maxine Sousé. But now she’s given up the cloak and dagger. That voice of KBEM works quite well in song! Meanwhile, Café Maude continues to expand its musical offerings, tonight with the startling duo of cellist Michelle Kinney (Jelloslave) and tabla master Gary Waryan. World music, jazz and experimental improvisation on the same dinner plate.

More Jazz All Week
Keep up with the Twin Cities jazz scene via our full-time jazz radio station, KBEM, and the most comprehensive listing of gigs on the website. More ideas:

Friday, January 27: Arne Fogel at Hell’s Kitchen; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Merciless Ghost (George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, Davu Seru) at the Black Dog; Dave Ziffer at Ingredients Café

Saturday, January 28: Rick Carlson and Gary Schulte, brunch at Hell’s Kitchen; Century College Jazz Festival with Roger Ingram and the Joel Shapira Quartet; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears at the Dakota; Nichola Miller at Hell’s Kitchen

Sunday, January 29: Century College Jazz Festival with Roger Ingram and the Joel Shapira Quartet; Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, January 30: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; U of M Jazz Ensemble I with Roger Ingram at Stillwater Area High School; Phil Aaron at Jazz Central

Tuesday, January 31: Cory Wong Quartet followed by a special jam at the Artists Quarter; Kristin Sponcia and Phil Mattson at The Nicollet; Jack Brass at the Driftwood

Wednesday, February 1: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids (early show) at the Artists Quarter

Thursday, February 2: TCJS Young Artists Series (Stillwater Area High School Combos) at the Artists Quarter (7 pm); Dan and Reuben Ristrom at Sawatdee (Maple Grove); Sophia Shorai at Barbette

Coming Soon!
• February 3, Matt Haimovitz at Macalester (Weyerhauser Chapel)
• February 3-4, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter
• February 4, Resurrection (Ellen Lease, Pat Moriarty, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Evan Clark) at Studio Z
• February 4, Richard Johnson Trio at Shanghai Bistro (Hudson, WI)
• February 8-9, Jeff Lorber Fusion (with Randy Brecker) at the Dakota
• February 10-11, Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase at the Artists Quarter
• February 11, Richard Johnson Trio at Shanghai Bistro (Hudson, WI)
• February 15-16, Hugh Masekela at the Dakota
• February 17, Bruce Henry at the Dakota
• February 17-18, Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric at the Artists Quarter
• February 18, Kurt Elling and Lizz Wright at Orchestra Hall
• February 19, Laura Caviani and Joan Griffith, “Sambanova” at Carlton College Concert Hall (Northfield)
• February 22-23, Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Dakota
• February 25, Laura Caviani, Jazz@St. Barneys
• February 25, Atlantis Quartet, Jazz at Studio Z
• February 27, Steve Turre and Latin Jazz Band at the Dakota
• March 1-2, Vijay Iyer at the Walker Art Center (McGuire Theater)
• March 3, Head of the Waters Jazz Festival (John Fedchock guest artist) at University of Minnesota/Duluth
• March 4, Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir (TCJS, Jazz From J to Z) at Roseville Area High School
• March 8, TCJS Young Artists Series, the Dakota Combo at the Artists Quarter
• March 9-10, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota
• March 10, Caswell Sisters with JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
• March 11, PipJazz Sundays with Pippi Ardennia and guests
• March 16-17, Richard Johnson Trio at the Artists Quarter
• March 20, Toots Thielmans and Kenny Werner at the Dakota
• March 21-22, Al DiMeolo and Gonzalo Rubalcaba at the Dakota
• March 29-April 1, Eau Claire Jazz Festival
• March 31, Doug Little, Music of Roberto Fonseca, Jazz at Studio Z
• April 6, Irvin Mayfield, “Love Letter to New Orleans” at Orchestra Hall
• April 10, Cory Wong and Pena (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at Minneapolis Southwest High School
• April 15, MacPhail Center for Music Combo Festival and Spotlight Concert featuring Adam Niewood, the Dakota Combo, and MacPhail Jazz Faculty
• April 22, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Fund Raiser at the Dakota
• April 22, Doug Haining Quintet, Tribute to Cannonball Adderley (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at the Artists Quarter
• April 29-30, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
• May 20-21, Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota
• May 26, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at Orchestra Hall
• June 28-30, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (headliners Bad Plus with Joshua Redman, Delfeayo Marsalis Octet; Francisco Mela’s Cuban Safari)

Photos (top to bottom): Irv Williams and Peter Schimke at the Dakota; Richard Johnson; JT Bates (Bryan Nichols Quintet and Monk in Motian); Joan Griffith