Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, March 16-22

© Andrea Canter

Up jumped spring! Maybe it was not really a surprise given the mostly mild winter, but still, the birds chirping post-bop changes, tree pollen blowing in the wind from the south, and basketball tournaments without stormy weather? The warmer evenings make it easier to get out and enjoy some very cool music, and there is much to choose from in the coming week.

Highlights This Week
March 16-17
. In January, pianist Richard Johnson, based in New York, made his first of 12 planned visits to the Twin Cities as part of his Jazz Alive Project. Rumor has it that a romantic connection is bringing him to the Twin Cities with a new gig each month, but whatever the reason, his music is a welcome addition to the local jazz scene. His first gig at the AQ filtered the music of West Side Story through modern swing; next he offered the music of Frank Sinatra to audiences in Roseville. Now he returns to the AQ with another trio (Jeremy Boettcher and Adrian Suarez) and the music of 1980s television themes. Nostalgia for sure, but Johnson spins it all with fresh ideas and astounding technical facility.

March 17. A lot of great songs to help wash down the green beer tonight! Arne Fogel takes another night at The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, his first gig since returning from a couple weeks in Italy and tonight in the company of Tanner Taylor and Steve Pikal. If this makes for Irish swing, then Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson’s show at Honey Lounge in Minneapolis must be dubbed Irish Cabaret. The sublime pair will offer their takes on favorites from film and television with Irish touches, from Bing Crosby to Kermit the Frog. And if the luck of the Irish isn’t your cup of Darjeling, Bruce Henry will offer more American fare, from Gershwin to Coltrane to Stevie Wonder at St. Barnabus’s Jazz @St Barney’s in Plymouth. That’s Barney, not Blarney, but you never know what Bruce will pull out of his songbook. (Bruce stays in town long enough for a weekend at the Artists Quarter March 23-24.) And hard to know just how the shamrocks will fall at Vincent on Nicollet Mall, but you can enjoy a night cap later with Le Jazz Cool All-Stars–a quartet bringing jazz pianist Mary Louise Knutson into tight swinging with members of the Minnesota Orchestra in the loft above the bar. It’s a great chance to hear trumpeter Charles Lazarus exploit his jazz side.

March 18. A recent addition to the bookings at Jazz Central has been a series of open rehearsals. Chris Bates and his quintet have offer two such afternoons recently, and today, Adam Meckler brings in his orchestra as they work through compositions in preparation for their next performance at O’Gara’s. These open rehearsals give listeners, students and other musicians an opportunity to witness the creative process, and offer their own comments.

March 20-21. Two titans of modern jazz join together at the Dakota for an amazing duo. Guitarist Al DiMeola and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba may at first seem like an unlikely pairing, but we can expect only heavenly collaboration from two dedicated to the promotion of world music and incorporating global elements into the jazz context. DiMeola was last in town with his World Sinfonia ensemble a couple years ago, while Rubalcaba was last here early in the Dakota’s reign on Nicollet Mall—a night when the yet-unfettered dining room noise plagued the evening. Things have smoothed out considerably since 2004 and we should be able to hear every note.

March 21. Not dubbed as such but this seems like the same trio as Chris Bates’ Good Vibes which debuted last month at the AQ, with Bates, Phil Hey and Dave Hagedorn squeezing in at Café Maude, part of the ongoing Wednesday night jazz series. Trio jazz doesn’t get any more exciting than this. Who needs a piano anyway? Well, if you want a piano, there’s options to fulfill your wildest dreams, with Peter Schimke, Brandon Wozniak, James Buckley and Jay Epstein on the bandstand at the Nomad World Pub later in the evening. Four stellar experimenters!

March 22. And speaking of piano, you can not get too much Chris Lomheim, on stage with his trio at the Artists Quarter tonight. From Evans to Monk to his own music, Chris merely needs to touch the piano and magic erupts.

More Jazz All Week
For the most complete and updated listing of local jazz events, see the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar at Bebopified, and now also accessed from the TC page on Jazz Police. Just try to keep up:

Friday, March 16: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Vinne Rose/Chris Lomheim/Jay Epstein at Shanghai Bistro (Hudson); Nathan Hanson and Emilia Lesbros at the Black Dog

Saturday, March 17: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joann Funk Trio at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Lee Engele and James Allen at Pardon My French; Pig’s Eye Jass Band (St. Paddy’s Day Party) at the Eagle’s Aerie Club

Sunday, March 18: Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom

Monday, March 19: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Solomon Parham at Jazz Central; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Zacc Harris Trio at Red Stag

Tuesday, March 20: Cory Wong Quartet followed by invitational jam at the Artists Quarter; Doug Haining and “Cool Breeze” Brown at The Nicollet; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood; Jack Brass Band at the Driftwood

Wednesday, March 21: Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Dave Karr Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Patty Peterson “Women in Jazz” at KBEM/Minneapolis Community Education class at South High; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen

Thursday, March 22: Patty Peterson at The Lexington; Lulu’s Playground at the Black Dog; Jelloslave at Barbette

Coming Soon!
• March 23-24, Bruce Henry at the Artists Quarter
• March 25, Chris Bates Quintet Open Session III at Jazz Central
• March 25-26, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota
• March 29, Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
• March 29, John Raymond Project CD Release at the Dakota
• March 31, Doug Little, Music of Roberto Fonseca, Jazz at Studio Z
• April 1, JaLaLa (Janice Siegel, Laurel Masse, Laura Kinhan) at the Dakota
• April 2, Interplay Workshop followed by John Raymond Project at Jazz Central
• April 6, Irvin Mayfield Quintet at Orchestra Hall
• April 6-7, Eric Kamau Gravatt at the Artists Quarter
• April 10, Cory Wong and Peña (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at Minneapolis Southwest High School
• April 10, Gary Smulyan and the McNally Smith X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
• April 12, Francois Rabbath at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music
• April 13-14, Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter
• April 14, Legends at the Capri, tribute to Frank Sinatra with Jason Richards and the Rick Carlson Trio
• April 15, PipJazz Sunday with Solomon Parham, Pippi Ardennia at Landmark Center, Weyerhauser Auditorium
• April 15, MacPhail Center for Music Combo Festival and Spotlight Concert featuring Adam Niewood, the Dakota Combo, and MacPhail Jazz Faculty
• April 19, KBEM’s REEL Jazz, “An Evening with Both DeFlores” (Louis Armstrong) at the Trylon Microcinema
• April 21, JazzMN Orchestra with Terell Stafford at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
• April 21, Judi Donaghy, Jazz@ St Barney’s
• April 22, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Fund Raiser at the Dakota
• April 22, Grace Kelly at the Dakota
• April 22, Doug Haining Quintet, Tribute to Cannonball Adderley (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at the Artists Quarter
• April 28, Bruce Henry Tribute to Marvin Gaye at the Hopkins Center for the Arts
• April 29-30, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
• May 4, Tortoise and Twin Cities Jazz All-Stars at the Walker Art Center
• May 8-9, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota
• May 11, Evan Christopher with Lee Engele at Hopkins Center for the Arts
• May 11-12, Zacc Harris Group CD Release at the Artists Quarter
• May 12, Evan Christopher at the Hopkins Center for the Arts
• May 14, Kenny Garrett at the Dakota
• May 20-21, Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota
• May 26, Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Orchestra Hall
• June 22, A Love Electric/Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Ritz Theater
• June 28-30, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (headliners Bad Plus with Joshua Redman; Delfeayo Marsalis Octet; Francisco Mela’s Cuban Safari)
• July 1-2, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
• September 26-27, Chick Corea and Gary Burton at the Dakota
• October 30-31, Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Dakota

Photos (top to bottom): Richard Johnson at the AQ in January; Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson; Chris Lomheim (photos by Andrea Canter)