Friday, March 30, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, March 30-April 5



© Andrea Canter

More great jazz is squeezed into the weekend, spilling into the coming week. Seems we got by the state high school tournaments without a blizzard, or even a snow flake. The warmer weather makes it easier to get out, stay out, and get across town to keep up with your favorite jazz musicians and some new ones.


Highlights This Week
March 29-April 1: The 45th annual Eau Claire Jazz Festival continues through Sunday. Weekend concerts feature extraordinary bassist John Patitucci and dynamic trombonist Andy Martin, high school honor bands, UWEC alumni bands, and more. In downtown Eau Claire, South Barstow Street is reborn as 52nd Street, Manhattan. One of the premiere jazz events of the Upper Midwest. Check out the website for specific schedule.


March 30-31: Dubbed “Good Life” before their Artists Quarter debut a couple months ago, the quartet of Brandon Wozniak, Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson, and Kenny Horst reappears for two more nights of mischief. Check out a clip from their last AQ gig.


March 31:   Part of Zacc Harris’ Jazz at Studio Z series, the Doug Little Quartet takes the stage on Saturday, playing the music of Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca. Little’s cohorts include pianist Peter Schimke, bassist Graydon Peterson, and drummer Rey Rivera. An open rehearsal (free) will be held from 4-5 pm, followed by the 7 pm performance, a format that has been a significant part of the Studio Z series. Little is one of a few truly multi-lingual jazz musicians in town, fluent in the musical as well as spoken vocabularies of Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian cultures, with studies in Havana, Rio, and Paris. A founding member of the Motion Poets, Doug juggles several projects including Tres Mundos and Seven Steps to Havana.

It’s another night of Le Jazz Cool All-Stars in the bar loft at Vincent’s. Swinging beats float above the bar, courtesy of pianist Mary Louise Knutson and cohorts from the Minnesota Orchestra, featuring the cross-genre virtuoso Charles Lazarus on trumpet. Cocktails, after-hours menu, and jazz with class—a great way to cap off your Saturday night in the city.

April 1: JaLaLa might sound like an Arabian resort or a new fruit candy, but it’s simply an amalgam of the names of the trio’s songbirds—Janis Siegel, Laural Masse, Lauren Kinhan. With two founding members of The Manhattan Transfer (Siegel and Masse) and a current star of New York Voices and Moss (Kinhan), this threesome cover everything from pop to Bach, from Johnny Mercer to Dave Brubeck to Dolly Parton.  And Mercer is the subject of their first recording, That Old Mercer Magic, and likely the core of the material they will bring to the Dakota Sunday evening.

April 2: Just a few days following his burning CD release party at the Dakota, New York-based trumpeter John Raymond joins Tanner Taylor, Matt Peterson and Mac Santiago at Jazz Central for a multi-part evening of learning and listening. Raymond leads Interplay, an interactive workshop aimed at improving skills in ensemble communication and improvisation. Following a dinner break, the band will hold an open rehearsal, followed by a more formal performance and, finally, Jazz Central’s weekly open jam session. Check out the Jazz Central website for pre-registration for the workshop (or just come!).

April 3: Dubbed Trio Midwest, James Buckley, Brandon Wozniak and Joey VanPhillips take music at Hell’s Kitchen to a new level of sophistication. And it’s early enough in the evening to allow you to head across the river to the Artists Quarter in time to catch one of the too-infrequent installments of Slide (Dave Graf) Meets Valve (Brad Bellows), one of the best horn-led ensembles in the area.

April 4-5: Via a collaboration with McNally Smith and the Walker Art Center, avant garde guitarist/experimental music guru Elliott Sharp is in town with two nights of creative programming. On Wednesday, the one-time cohort of Jack DeJohnette, Oliver Lake and Sonny Sharrock is on stage at the Amsterdam Bar with the McNally Smith–based improvisational chamber orchestra, Improvestra, as well as in small ensemble settings with local music luminaries George Cartwright and Michelle Kinney. Also on the show will be the Cherry Spoon Collective, a collaboration among some of the most innovative bands in the Metro, drawing from Heiruspecs, Liminal Phase, Jelloslave, No Bird Sing, Zeitgeist, Saltee, Merciless Ghost, Lulu’s Playground and more,  with multiple cellos, reeds and percussion. On Thursday, Sharp moves over to the Walker for three solo sets.

April 5: Pianist/attorney Larry McDonough has been keeping a relatively low profile lately but now he’s launching a new DVD project (Live at Music Connection) with a celebration at the Dakota. Larry describes it as “performing poetry and odd-metered jazz based on melodies from children with disabilities--Beethoven, Brubeck, Bill Evans, Spinal Tap, Led Zeppelin, Brubeck, Medeski Martin & Wood, and others.” His long-standing quartet includes saxophonist Richard Terrill, bassist Craig Mataresse, and drummer Chaz Draper. In St Paul, the always inventive Phil Hey Quartet returns to the Artists Quarter for their mostly monthly mix of original works and an interesting array of modern jazz covers.

More Jazz All Week
Remember to consult our user-friendly, updated live jazz calendar or on the Twin Cities page of Jazz Police.
Some more suggestions for the week ahead:

·         Friday, March 30:  Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Firebell at Shanghai Bistro (Hudson, WI); Merciless Ghost at the Black Dog; Three Flights Up at Jazz Central

·         Saturday, March 31: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Ticket to Brasil at the Loring Pasta Bar; Sophia Shorai at the Lexington; JazZen at the Hatrick Lounge

·         Sunday, April 1: Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

·         Monday, April 2: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza

·         Tuesday, April 3: Cory Wong Quartet (early set) at the Artists Quarter; Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood; Jazz Fly with Dorothy Doring at The Nicollet; Jack Brass at The Driftwood

·         Wednesday, April 4: Chris Thomson Quartet at Café Maude; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, followed by Galactic Soul Arkestra at the Artists Quarter; Jazz in the Lounge with Connie Evingson and the Parisota Hot Club at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis.

     . Thursday, April 5. Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal at the Lexington.


Coming Soon!
·         April 6, Irvin Mayfield Quintet at Orchestra Hall
·         April 6, Bobbi Miller and Rhonda Laurie, “Naughty Songs for Nice Girls”  at Bryant Lake Bowl
·         April 6-7, Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code 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 20-21, Cory Wong, CD Release at the Artists Quarter
·         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 20-21, Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota
·         May 25-27, Eric Alexander at the Artists Quarter
·         May 26, Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Orchestra Hall
·         June 18-19, Stanley Clarke and George Duke at the Dakota
·         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): Doug Little; Brandon Wozniak; Charles Lazarus; Brad Bellows; Charmin Michelle (photos by Andrea Canter)