Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, March 23-29

© Andrea Canter

We all have spring fever! Or maybe by now it is just summer fever? Whatever is going on with our climate, we can’t complain about the jazz climate in the Twin Cities. This week is no exception.

Highlights This Week

March 23: About a year ago I first encountered a group of student musicians from UW-Eau Claire working as the Tyler Anderson Quintet. Leader and saxophonist Tyler not only had a lot of musical talent, but sufficient entrepreneurial spirit to land a few gigs in Twin Cities clubs despite his youth and limited experience. A few months later, he returned to the Twin Cities with a quartet dubbed The Coriolis Effect, winning over fans at the Artists Quarter and Jazz Central before taking his fellow UW-EC students on the road, visiting Midwest venues and providing workshops at area high schools. Armed with a “new” drummer (Twin Cities hot new commodity, Miguel Hurtado), Anderson returns to Jazz Central tonight with bassist Jordan Jenkins and keyboardist Cody Peterson. Their EP shows off their skills as composers as well as improvisers. Definitely a band to watch!

March 23-24:  No matter how often Bruce Henry returns to the Twin Cities (and he was scheduled for at least three gigs in March), I never tire of his marvelous baritone energy and creative twists on songs from swing to bop, from Gershwin to Coltrane, from hip to gospel. But for all of his return visits since relocating to Chicago in 2008, he’s not been at the Artists Quarter in a long time. The weekend makes up for his absence, and he (as always) brings along a simpatico group of collaborators, this gig featuring Peter Schimke, Jay Young and Kevin Washington, long-standing colleagues who enhance any performance.

March 24: The Midtown Global Market may have had its ups and downs, but these days the indoor feast of international food and crafts is bustling, and on Saturday afternoon, you can usually hear live music in the Atrium while you ponder that African stew, tamale plate or giant cookie. This afternoon, catch pianist Mary Louise Knutson (hot off her tour with Doc Severinsen) as she brings some joyful bop and original fare to the Market. And if you miss her in the afternoon, you can enjoy her in good company in the evening (10:30) at Vincent's, in the loft above the bar with Le Jazz Cool All-Stars, featuring the MN Orchestra's Charles Lazarus on steamy trumpet.

March 25: Jazz Central hosts the third of three “Open Sessions” with the Chris Bates Quintet, and this one will include a full run-through of the compositions slated for an upcoming studio recording. The opportunity to observe and interact with the artistic process---from the musician’s first look at a composition outline through the complete performance—is valuable to audience and musician alike.  Hopefully this marks a new avenue for venues like Jazz Central, where collaboration is not limited to the bandstand.

March 25-26: Maturing into her 30s but maintaining the youthful energy and boundless imagination that has marked her career for the past decade, pianist Hiromi returns to the Dakota with her Trio Project. Actually her career has largely focused on trio magic, with the addition of guitar yielding her quartet SonicBloom. In the past few years she has also stepped out in duo with Chick Corea, as sidewoman with Stanley Clarke, and alone with her 2010 solo tour and recording. But last year she reconstituted her trio, recording with Anthony Jackson (bass) and Simon Phillips (drums). Jackson joined her along with Steve Smith at the Dakota last summer, and now she returns with the original Trio Project for two nights of elegant mayhem.

March 29: Some of his earliest professional gigs were at the Dakota, so it fits that now- New York-based trumpeter John Raymond returns to his hometown venue to celebrate the release of his new recording, Strength and Song. He’ll bring along a Minnesota ensemble with Bryan Nichols, Vinnie Rose, Jeremy Boettcher and Miguel Hurtado. None less than Jon Faddis serves as producer as well as mentor, and the compositions—mostly Raymond originals, serve notice that this is a rapidly maturing artist with his own artistic vision.  (John stays around to host a workshop and performance on April 2nd at Jazz Central.) Across town, the Pete Whitman X-Tet returns to their monthly time slot at the Artists Quarter, and it is a welcome return given the stature of the ten artists and the level of musicianship that circles the stage whenever they play.

More Jazz
Never a night without jazz in the Twin Cities! Check online live jazz calendars propelled by Bebopified; also posted on Jazz Police. More ideas for the week:
·         Friday, March 23: Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joel Shapira at Ingredients Café; Lila Ammons Trio at Three Crows (Delano); Patty Peterson and Friends and Family (School II Bistro); Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson at the Cannon River Winery (Cannon Falls)
·         Saturday, March 24: Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Patty Peterson at The Lexington; James Allen and Tom Pieper at First Course Bistro; Tanner Taylor/Graydon Peterson/Matt Edlund at Jazz Central
·         Sunday, March 25: Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; U of M Jazz Combo at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom
·         Monday, March 26: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Adam Meckler Orchestra at O’Gara’s; Adi Yeshaya at Jazz Central
·         Tuesday, March 27:Cory Wong Quartet followed by weekly invited jam session; Frankhouse at Hell’s Kitchen; Alden Ikeda Quartet at the Black Dog; Laura Underwood at The Nicollet; Nova Jazz Orchestra at the Shorewood
·         Wednesday, March 28: Joel Shapira at Hell’s Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza;  Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Brian Grivna Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Todd Clouser’s Love Electric at the Nomad World Pub
·         Thursday, March 29: Eau Claire Jazz Festival with  John Patitucci and Andy Martin (through April 1); Jana Nyberg at Hell’s Kitchen; Sophia Shorai at The Lexington

Coming Soon!
.     March 30-31, Good Life at the Artists Quarter
·         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 & 13, Bobbi Miller and Rhonda Laurie, "Naughty Songs for Nice Girls"at Bryant Lake Bowl
·         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 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 14, Francois Rabbath at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music
·         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 Brunch 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 10, Dakota Combo at MacPhail
·         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 13, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center
·         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 4-5, Pat Metheny & Chris Potter 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): Hiromi; Bruce Henry; Mary Louise Knutson; John Raymond (all photos by Andrea Canter)