Friday, February 10, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, February 10-16

© Andrea Canter

The weekend begins with the annual piano extravaganza at the Artists Quarter, honoring the late Bobby Peterson, one of the brightest lights on our jazz planet who left our orbit all too soon. The rest of the week finds the first of a series of open rehearsals from a new band of fabulous veterans, the return of one of the prophets of African music, and of course the sound of romance for Valentine’s Day.

Highlights This Week
When pianist Bobby Peterson passed away—on a gig—in 2002, he left behind a long line of former students, mentees and fans. This weekend (2/10-11) marks the sixth annual Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase at the Artists Quarter, and it’s a line-up that would make Bobby proud. On hand both nights will be former student and now internationally acclaimed performer and composer Bill Carrothers, with Laura Caviani and Bryan Nichols sharing the stage Friday, and Chris Lomheim and Peter Schimke on the piano bench Saturday. Supporting the keys will be Graydon Peterson and Kenny Horst. This is always one of the highlights of the winter jazz season and truly a showcase of piano talent in (and from) the Twin Cities. And this time, a too-rare opportunity to enjoy Carrothers, who released two of the best recordings of 2011.

One of the newest bandleaders in town is the veteran bassist Chris Bates. A pivotal sideman in such ensembles as the Motian Poets, Kelly Rossum Quartet, Atlantis Quartet, A Love Electric, Volcano Insurance, How Birds Work, Bryan Nichols Quintet, Zacc Harris Quartet, Enormous…. (somebody stop me!) and more, Chris is stepping up to lead a new Quintet this weekend, and later this month, a new trio (Good Vibes). On three Sundays at Jazz Central, starting on 2/12, the Chris Bates Quintet will hold open rehearsal sessions in preparation for a recording date in April. From 4-6 pm, come see how a working band tackles new music, revising, refining, collaborating. Chris has assembled a horn-happy group with brother JT on drums, Chris Thomson and Brandon Wozniak on saxophones, and Zack Lozier on trumpet.

And come back to Jazz Central on Monday night (2/13) for a swingfest with guitarist/banjoist Kent Saunders and bassist Gary Raynor. Saunders, often appearing with the Wolverines, has an amazing history performing with Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Pearl Bailey, Louis Bellson, Nancy Wilson, Benny Goodman, Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, George Burns, and Mickey Rooney, as well as with touring Broadway shows, Prairie Home Companion and the Minnesota Orchestra. Gary Raynor is also known for his PHC connection, as the bassist for The Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band. Locally he has worked with Debbie Duncan, Bruce Henry, Dave Karr, Manfredo Fest, Laura Caviani and more, and has performed with the likes of Sammy Davis, Jr., Richie Cole, Claudio Roditi, Herb Ellis, Mark Murphy, and Clark Terry.

Among the options for Valentine’s Day, consider the romantic setting and jazz series preview at the Lexington in St. Paul. Revamped to retain its old-time elegance with a more up-to-date menu, the Lex sought a curator for a series of music and found what they needed in Arne Fogel. While the twice-weekly series of mostly vocalist-led duos and trios gets underway in March, Fogel is hosting a couple preview nights, including Valentine’s Day (2/14) with long-time singing partner Maud Hixson. They’re supported sublimely by pianist Rick Carlson and bassist Steve Pikal. The Lex is offering a special menu so make a reservation early.

It’s hard to think of African music without thinking of trumpeter/singer Hugh Masekela, whose music exudes his South African roots and global influences. An alum of South Africa’s first youth jazz orchestra, Masekela ultimately escaped apartheid to study in England and later at the Manhattan School of Music. He’s collaborated with Miriam Makeba, Herb Alpert and Paul Simon. His past shows have been inspirational. And for every ticket sold for shows at the Dakota on Wednesday and Thursday (2/15-16), the club will donate one dollar to the American Refugee Committee.

Wednesday (2/15) also marks the return of Slide Meets Valve at the Artists Quarter. SMV brings together two master trombonists, slide man Dave Graf and valve artist Brad Bellows. Two bones in a quintet format? Gotta hear it. And what better way to appreciate the nuances differentiating these two often-underappreciated instruments? And come for the weekly, free early (7 pm) show with Steve Kenny and the Bastids, maybe the best under-the-radar bopcentric band in town. You get not only the virtuosic trumpeting of Kenny but the hottest young support team of pianist Jesse Mueller, bassist Adam Tucker and drummer Aaron Rupart. And someone cool is always sitting in. Competing with the trombones (or not, if you split your late evening sets across town) is the not-often-enough gig of Red Planet, tonight on the jazz series at the Nomad World Pub. Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein have maintained this collaboration for more than a decade and the results are always a bit out of this world.

Thursday (2/16) is the first screening in KBEM’s spring REEL Jazz season, and what a lead-off with In Good Time: The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland, from Films by Huey. As of post time, all tickets to the screening at the Trylon Microcinema were sold—but I am including it here because a) it’s a landmark film event and 2) someone might cancel out at the last minute so it is worth checking with KBEM and the theater. I had the good fortune to preview this very well-done documentary last month and can only hope that there’s another opportunity to bring this back to the Twin Cities. Check the KBEM website for news of the remaining REEL Jazz screenings in March and April.

More Jazz All Week
What’s going on every night of the week? Keep up to date with Pamela’s Live Jazz Calendar on Bebopified. Some additional recommendations:

Friday, February 10: Irv Wiliams and Peter Schimke at the Dakota, Happy Hour; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at the Wine Market; Charmin Michelle with Twin Cities Jazz Imports at House of Pizza (Sartell, MN); Sophia Shorai at Hell’s Kitchen

Saturday, February 11: Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Sophia Shorai and Bryan Nichols at Hell’s Kitchen; Patty Peterson and Friends, Valentine’s Gala at the Minneapolis Club; “Speak Low When You Speak of Love” (Dennis Spears, Dennis Oglesby, Julius Collins) at the Capri Theater; Ticket to Brasil at the Loring Pasta Bar

Sunday, February 12: Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; “Speak Low When You Speak of Love” (Dennis Spears, Dennis Oglesby, Julius Collins), matinee at the Capri Theater; Butch Thompson Trio, free afternoon performance at Behthlehem Lutheran Church (Minneapolis); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Sophia Shorai and Bryan Nichols at Barbette

Monday, February 13: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza

Tuesday, February 14, Valentine’s Day: Joann Funk at the Dakota (early show); the Steeles at the Dakota (dinner and late shows); Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Nonna Rosa’s; Cedar Avenue Big Band at the Shorewood; “Music by Lovers for Lovers” at the Artists Quarter; James Allen at the Nicollet; Jack Brass at the Driftwood

Wednesday, February 15: Charmin Michelle, Denny Malmberg and Joel Shapira at Fireside Pizza; KBEM’s “Hillbilly Jazz” class with Phil Nussbaum at Minneapolis Edison High School (offered through Minneapolis Schools Continuing Ed); Sophia Shorai at Red Stag

Thursday, February 16: Jana Nyberg at Hell’s Kitchen; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Nonna Rosa’s

Coming Soon
• 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 (with Mary Louise Knutson) at the Dakota
• February 24-25, Patty Peterson and Friends at the Artists Quarter
• February 25, Laura Caviani, Jazz@St. Barneys
• February 25, Atlantis Quartet, Jazz at Studio Z
• February 27, Latin Jazz All-Stars at the Dakota
• March 1-2, Vijay Iyer at the Walker Art Center (McGuire Theater)
• March 2-3, Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter
• March 3, Head of the Waters Jazz Festival (John Fedchock guest artist) at University of Minnesota/Duluth
• March 4, Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir with George Cartwright, Donald Washington, Pat Moriarty and more (TCJS, Jazz From J to Z) at Roseville Area High School
• March 7, Benny Golson and Nnenna Freelon at the Dakota
• March 8, TCJS Young Artists Series, the Dakota Combo at the Artists Quarter
• March 9-10, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota
• March 9-10, Atlantis Quartet at the Artists Quarter
• March 10, Caswell Sisters with JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
• March 11, PipJazz Sundays with Pippi Ardennia and Jason DeLaire
• March 16-17, Richard Johnson Trio at the Artists Quarter
• March 20-21, Al DiMeola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba at the Dakota
• March 22, Toots Thielmans and Kenny Werner at the Dakota
• March 23-24, Bruce Henry at the Artists Quarter
• March 25-26, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota
• March 31, Doug Little, Music of Roberto Fonseca, Jazz at Studio Z
• April 10, Cory Wong and Peña (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 21, JazzMN Orchestra with Terell Stafford at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
• 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
• 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): Bill Carrothers; Chris Bates; Hugh Masekela; Maud Hixson and Arne Fogel (photos by Andrea Canter)