Friday, February 3, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, February 3-9

© Andrea Canter

Having missed much of the last week of local music (in favor of a few days in New York), I am doubly looking forward to the coming week and yet another weekend filled with delightful dilemmas. Another new venue (The Lexington) previews its jazz schedule, one of our local bands-gone-international returns to the Artists Quarter; an internationally renowned cellist performs gratis at Macalester; and one of our free improvising ensembles reinvents itself, yet again, with a re-debut at Studio Z. That’s just the weekend.

Highlights This Week
Macalester College again hosts a free public concert featuring an internationally acclaimed artist, courtesy of funding from the Rivendell Foundation. Friday night (2/3) in the Weyerhauser Chapel, you can hear cellist Matt Haimovitz in a solo performance, capping a short residency on campus. Haimovitz, at 40, has been a prolific performer and clinician, bringing classical music as well as rock and jazz into new venues, from bars and clubs to festivals and off-beat concert halls. He’s as likely to tackle Coltrane or Hendrix as Beethoven. I’d plan on arriving early given the free tickets and Matt’s reputation.

Friday and Saturday (2/3-4), the Dave King Trucking Company shifts to high gear for its return to the Artists Quarter, riding the high road since its debut release, Good Old Light, which managed accolades from the New York Times. The quartet (King, Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz, Erik Fratzke) had a busy 2011 with gigs in New York and abroad, and more will come their way in 2012. Opening each night at the AQ, the new MacPhail Jazz Workshop students will show off their talents, starting at 7 pm. Led by Adam Linz, this weekly session brings theory and composition skills to enhance performance chops of the area’s top high school level jazzers.

This weekend at Studio Z (Friday night 2/3 and Sunday afternoon 2/5) is the annual Keys Please, initiated back in 2002 by pianist/composers Carei Thomas, Todd Harper and Paul Cantrell. The annual concert features a diverse array of music “for an evening of sonic surprise, wonder and beauty.” This year’s special guest is Fantastic Merlins bassist Brian Roessler in a program ranging from Brahms to Messiaen to improvisations. You can buy tickets at the door and students with ID get in free.

Saturday night (2/4) is the date for the rebirth of the Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty ensemble of the 80s-90s, a free improv group for piano, sax, trombone and drums now reissued for piano, sax, trumpet and tuba as Resurrection. Joining pianist Ellen and alto saxophonist Pat will be two newcomers, young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, still working his way through the U of M jazz program and a former student of Pat’s at Roseville Area High School, and tubist Evan Clarke, U of Colorado grad and MM student at the U of Minnesota as well as instructor at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Each musician contributes to the set list but, really, it will be a collaborative improv session all the way.

Another debut, The Lexington in St. Paul previews its new jazz program, curated by local singer/historian/radio personality Arne Fogel. The Lex has recently gone through a major overhaul, and part of its updating includes music two nights per week (Thursdays and Saturdays) beginning in March. But you can get a taste now as Arne himself performs Saturday (2/4) and with Maud Hixson on Valentine’s Day. Music from 6:30-10:30 in the Williamburg Room, no cover. Check out the new menu, have a drink at the bar, enjoy the very classy surroundings with one of the area’s favorite crooners.

Some of the best purveyors of Jazz Fusion come to the Dakota this week (2/8-9) headed by Mr. Fusion himself, keyboardist Jeff Lorber. He’s aided and abetted by bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), saxophonist Bob Franceschini, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and drummer Gary Novak. Even if you are not big on fusion, I think it’s worthwhile for Brecker alone.

Another new combination takes the bandstand at the Artists Quarter on Thursday (2/9), this time putting saxophonist Dave Brattain opposite vibes master Dave Hagedorn, with bass ace Billy Peterson and house drummer Kenny Horst. Brattain doesn’t get out to the clubs often enough so this is a special treat indeed. And speaking of not getting out into the clubs often enough, you can also catch a rare appearance by the off-quadrant cello/tablas/percussion ensemble Jelloslave for a late set at Barbette (2/9).

So Much More Jazz
Find more live jazz for any night of the week by checking out the calendar on the Bebopified site, managed by Pamela Espeland. (The calendar will be moving off the KBEM site shortly but will continued as before at Bebopified.) Some further recommendations:

Friday, February 3: Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble, West Bank School of Music

Saturday, February 4: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Joel Shapira Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Vital Organ at Hell’s Kitchen; Rhonda Laurie at The Social Dance Studio (Minneapolis); JazZen at The Nicollet

Sunday, February 5: Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Nichols/Buckely/Bates at the Red Stage

Monday, February 6: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Phil Hey at Jazz Central

Tuesday, February 7: Dean Magraw and Davu Seru with special guest Anthony Cox at the Black Dog; Arne Fogel at Hell’s Kitchen; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood; Cory Wong Quartet followed by Invitational Jam at the Artists Quarter; Cat Tet at The Nicollet

Wednesday, February 8: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Zacc Harris Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen; KBEM Community Ed class, “Jazz Goes Broadway” with Ed Jones at Edison High School; Nomad Jazz Series at Nomad World Pub with Barry Alexander, Jim Anton, Jef Cierniak and Al Oikari.

Thursday, February 9: Music Under Glass with Café Accordion at Como Park Conservatory; Lila Ammons Quintet at Honey

Coming Soon!
• February 10-11, Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase at the Artists Quarter
• February 15, Slide Meets Valve (Graf and Bellows) at the Artists Quarter
• 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 18, "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" with Arne Fogel, Maud Hixson and Reeves Carey at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
• 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 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 (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 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 guests
• 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 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): Matt Haimovitz; Dave King and Erik Fratzke; Arne Fogel; Brain Roessler (photos by Andrea Canter)