Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities jazz, June 1 - 7

 © Andrea Canter

I’ll be packing my gear and my ears for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival this week—heading west on Thursday for the northern California’s second festival weekend. But there’s plenty here to put me in a festival mood before I leave, from the slinky vibes of Red Planet to the swinging sweet sounds of Sophie Milman.

Highlights This Week
June 1. You have to love a band of Native American and world flutes, electric cello and percussion. Especially one with the name JazZen. The music can be soothing, ethereal, challenging—definitely enjoyable. The trio led by flautist Bob Fantauzzo (with Aaron Kerr and Darrin Pinto) has a semi-regular gig at The Nicollet, often on the weekend. Like tonight. Don’t be surprised to see Bob handle 7-8 different flutes in a single set. And several in a single tune.  With a little touch of zen himself, young bassist Andrew Foreman heads a trio of new music at the Black Dog (Community Pool-Deep End series). I first heard Andrew last weekend, first with Trio Bossa Nova on the KBEM boat cruise and then with the Max Corcoran Project at Studio Z—proof that his chops are eclectic and flexible.

June 1-2.  Together now for nearly a decade, three of our most potent explorers return to their favorite haunt, the Artists Quarter. Red Planet (Dean Magraw, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) continues to orbit the jazz galaxy without ever tracing the same path twice, be it arrangements of Coltrane or original compositions. Each musician has the capacity for sublime reflection or incendiary rocket flares.

June 2. Our favorite Chicagoan returns to the Dakota Saturday night. There was a lot of angst when Bruce Henry moved from the Twin Cities back to his native metropolis but he seems to be gigging here almost as much now as before. Saturday night finds him in his usual fine company of Peter Schimke, Jay Young, Kevin Washington and Darryl Boudreuax (now dubbed Wild Horses Run Free), and he’ll be mining his extensive songbook, which highlights his versatility from swing to bebop to cool to soul. That voice is one of a kind.

This is not really a jazz event. It’s not even an improvised music event. But it’s an unusual event from an unusual composer whose roots are in jazz and improvisation. Ann Millikan, whose exciting musical installation “House of Mirrors” featured some of our most creative jazz and classical artists in 2011, now explores the “Swede Hollow” community in depth with a one-act opera premiering at Art in the Hollow in Swede Hollow Park. (Read about the opera and about Ann Millikan here on the blog, May 30th entry.)

June 3. For something light and fun, come to vocalist Connie Olson’s 7th annual Student Showcase, at Famous Dave’s in Uptown. Every year, Connie prepares her voice students for a public performance with professional band. This year her students range from their teens to 80s, and her band includes Brian Ziemniak, Rick Carlson, Vinnie Rose, Graydon Peterson, Haralds Bondaris, Dave Karr—in other words, the students perform with the best possible backing. We might even get a song from Connie herself.

Hear the students and then head to the Dakota for a young but seasoned pro—vocalist Sophie Milman. The Russian-born, Israeli-raised Canadian émigré brings her multi-cultural upbringing to American jazz and more, earning three Juno nominations in her first four recordings (winning in 2009), selling out Massey Hall in Toronto, and generally garnering accolades usually reserved for veterans. And she’s still under 30.

June 5. Trumpeter Bill Simenson has assembled a new big band for Jazz Central’s new Tuesday Night Big Band series. It might be a tight fit at the small gallery space but that just makes it all the more intimate. Don’t expect a dance floor, this is a modern big band in a little jazz club with a big heart. For a smaller ensemble, check out the Brian Grivna Quartet at the Artists Quarter. One of the most accomplished wind players around, Grivna breaks loose with his own band.

June 7. Rhonda Laurie was at the top of her game recently with her “Uncommon Standards” revue with Phil Mattson out in Plymouth. Now she brings her ever –expanding book to the wilds of Delano with guitarist Joel Shapira, at the Three Crows. It’s not that far—and a good excuse for a drive.

June 7-8. When I first heard Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota two years ago, she rocked my ears—not with volume but with passion and wide intervals and amazing sounds that rose from her vocal cords. I will miss this gig but really, don’t you miss it! It’s not just the octaves she can cover (six?) but what she does within that range that makes her a unique talent. It’s jazz, it’s soul. It’s a rewarding experience.

More Jazz Every Night
Don’t wonder what’s going on, check out the best sources for live jazz in the Twin Cities – Bebopified calendar; Jazz Police; daily listings and interviews on KBEM (88.5) and KFAI (90.3) radio. More suggestions:

Friday, June 1: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble at the West Bank School of Music; East Side at Hell’s Kitchen

Saturday, June 2: Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Parisota Hot Club at the Loring Pasta Bar; Vicky Mountain and James Allen at First Course Bistro; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Pardon My French; Maryann Sullivan and David Martin at Butter Bakery

Sunday, June 3. Maud Hixson and Arne Fogel with Tanner Taylor and Graydon Peterson, noon at The Lexington; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; James Buckley Trio at Barbette

Monday, June 4. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Tom Krochock Sextet at Jazz Central; Russ Peterson Big Band at Old Log Theater

Tuesday, June 5. Cory Wong Quartet at the Artists Quarter (early show); Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog; Deanna Lind at The Nicollet; Patrick Harrison at Café Maude; Robert Everest World Quartet at the Dakota; Jack Brass Band at Driftwood Char Bar

Wednesday, June 6. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Black Heralds at the Artists Quarter; Robb Henry Trio at Barbette; Cellar (Bryan Nichols, James Buckley, Joey Van Phillips) at Nomad World Pub

Thursday, June 7. Snowblind at the Artists Quarter

Coming Soon
·       June 9, Ginger Commodore at the Dakota
·         June 9, Wozniak/Linz/Gravatt at the Artists Quarter
·         June 10, Connie Evingson, CD Release at The Jungle Theater
·         June 10, Barbara Leshoure, Pippi Ardennia, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center
·         June 10, Jazz on the Prairie Festival at Staring Lake Park Amphitheater
·         June 10, Wadda Leo Smith with Douglas Ewart at Weyerhauser Memorial Chapel, Macalester College
·         June 10-11, Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Dakota
·         June 12, Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central
·         June 12, Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie at The Nicollet
·         June 12, Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter
·         June 13, Dean Brewington, Rondo Outreach Library (St Paul), Twin Cities Jazz Festival
·         June 14, Peterson Family at Edina Performing Arts Center, Edina High School
·         June 14, Joann Funk Trio at the Dakota
·         June 14, Dave Brattain Quartet at the Artists Quarter
·         June 15-16, Paul Bollenback at the Artists Quarter
·         June 16, Jana Nyberg Group at Hayden Heights Library (St Paul), Twin Cities Jazz Festival (2 pm)
·         June 16, Barbary Coast 45th Anniversary at the Black Box, Bloomington Center for the Arts
·         June 18, Laura Caviani at Jazz Central
·         June 18-19, Stanley Clarke and George Duke at the Dakota
·         June 20, St Peter Street Stompers, St Anthony Park Library (St Paul), Twin Cities Jazz Festival
·         June 20, Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter
·         June 21, X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
·         June 22, A Love Electric/Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Ritz Theater
·         June 22-23, Nachito Herrera at the Dakota
·         June 22-23, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter
·         June 28, Jack Brass Band at St Paul Central Library (11:30 am), Twin Cities Jazz Festival
·         June 28-30, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (headliners Bad Plus with Joshua Redman; Delfeayo Marsalis; Francisco Mela’s Cuban Safari)
·         July 1-2, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
·         July 5,  Dean Magraw & Marcus Wise, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center
·         July 9-10, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
·         July 13-14, John Raymond Project at the Artists Quarter
·         July 20-21, Pete Whitman & Laura Caviani at the Artists Quarter
·         July 28, Dakota StreetFest on Nicollet Mall
·         July 29, James Carter Organ Trio at the Dakota
·         August 1-2, Tribute to Jimmy Smith with Joey D’Francesco, Larry Coryell & Jimmy Cobb at the Dakota
·         August 3, Pat Mallinger at the Artists Quarter
·         August 9, Tribute to Blossom Dearie with Joann Funk at the Artists Quarter
·         September 4-5, Pat Metheny Unity Band at the Dakota
.      September 18, John Scofield Trio 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): Sophie Milman; JazZen; Dean Magraw; Connie Olson; Rachelle Ferrell; Vicky Mountain (all photos by Andrea Canter)