Friday, June 29, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Festival Weekend, June 29-30

Mears Park, Home of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival
 © Andrea Canter

Yes, there is some jazz this weekend not connected directly to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. But the jazz festival is the epicenter of music in the area and I’m offering some suggestions quickly as I head out the door for Francisco Mela’s drum clinic at McNally Smith. (This is reposted from Jazz Police!) Full festival coverage and schedule available online.

June 29,  Free Clinics at McNally (19 E. Exchange Street)
Clinics with our headliners are provided through the sponsorship of McNally Smith with additional support from the Twin Cities Jazz Society. No registration, just come and learn! Note Jon Weber clinic originally scheduled for Friday will be held at 11 am on Saturday, June 30.

·         2:30-3:30 pm, Drum Clinic with Francisco Mela
·         4-5 pm, Clinic with Delfeayo Marsalis and Mark Gross

June 29, Mears Park Main Stage (E. 5th Street and Sibley)
Charmin Michelle and Doug Haining
4 pm, Twin Cities Seven with Charmin Michelle. One of the most popular jazz acts in the area, the Twin Cities Seven is a swinging ensemble led by multi-reedman Doug Haining, with an all-star line-up including Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal, Dick Bortolussi, Kent Saunders, Dave Graf, and Steve Wright, along with star vocalist Charmin Michelle. In the traditions of the great swing bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, the TC 7 might get you up on your feet dancing in the park! What a start to a great weekend of music!

Francisco Mela
6 pm, Francisco Mela Cuban Safari. Cuban native Mela has become a go-to drummer for many of today’s top artists, including Joe Lovano (Us Five), John Scofield, Joanne Brackeen, Kenny Barron and McCoy Tyner. Mela moved to Boston in 2000, earning his degree at Berklee and immediately taking a teaching position there. Soon he was part of the two-drum artillery of Lovano’s Us Five. Mela’s current project, Cuban Safari, draws upon two of his strongest influences, Weather Report and Irakere—jazz fusion meets Latin jazz? Cuban Safari released its debut album last year, Tree of Life, featuring vocals from Esperanza Spalding. Mela was most recently in the Twin Cities with Us Five, at the 2010 festival and last year at the Dakota and  Hopkins Center for the Arts.

Delfeayo Marsalis
8:30 pm, Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet. A middle brother of the Marsalis Clan, Delfeayo largely stayed in the background through the first part of the new century, playing sideman to the late Elvin Jones and others, and concentrating on an impressive career as a Grammy-nominated record producer. Growing up in New Orleans, Delfeayo initially tried the drums before settling on trombone at age 13. After attending high school at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Marsalis went on to the Berklee College of Music to study performance and production. He received additional classical training through the Eastern Music Festival and Tanglewood Institute; and he earned an MA degree in jazz performance from the University of Louisville. Marsalis’ early touring experiences included stints with Ray Charles, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Max Roach, and Abdullah Ibrahim, as well as Elvin Jones' Jazz Machine, and he has produced over 100 recordings, but only in the past ten years has he stepped out front as a bandleader. In 2011, with father Ellis and brothers Wynton and Branford, Delfeayo received the honor of Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts. His current touring sextet includes acclaimed saxophonist Victor Goines.

June 29, Sixth Street Stage (236 E. 6th Street)
5 pm, The Atlantis Quartet. One of the most creative and daring bands in the Twin Cities, the musicians of Atlantis—Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig—are consummate composers and improvisers. Named Best Jazz Artist for 2011 by City Pages, the quartet has released three exciting recordings to date. The compositions range in style from multi-meter grooves to complex harmonic explorations; from fusionistic rhythms to free and timeless tone poems, all filled with world class improvisation that is both organic and volatile” (More Cowbell).

7:15 pm, Robert Everest Expedition. Locally acclaimed, globally appreciated guitarist/singer/songwriter Robert Everest knows no boundaries when it comes to music. His Robert Everest Expedition covers folk traditions and rhythms from Latin America to the Mediterraean, with a dose or two of great American jazz standards, a logical melding of the musical forces that are the soul of Robert Everest. Largely a self-taught musician, he has studied jazz guitar in Minneapolis, classical guitar in Portugal, flamenco in Spain, Tango in Argentina, and other styles during his journeys to Central and South America and the Caribbean; as a singer, he spent four years with the University of Minnesota Jazz Singers. He also earned a degree in linguistics from the University of Minnesota and became fluent in several Romance languages through his travels,  adds another dimension to his music.

June 29, Artists Quarter (408 St Peter Street)
Maud Hixson
9 pm, Maud Hixson with Jon Weber. It’s a Weber doubleheader, starting out with songbird Maud Hixson. The pair performed together in the past year in New York, and tonight they will reprise some of that material as well as some favorite songs. Maud is at her best in an intimate club setting with just piano, a format she fully and frequently exploits with husband/pianist Rick Carlson. Like Rick, Jon is a deep swinger in any key, at any tempo.  After an afternoon and early evening in the hot sun of Mears Park, this is the perfect way to unwind and chill out.

10 pm, Jon Weber.  The “house pianist” of the jazz festival year after year, the AQ welcomes back Jon Weber for a set of amazing solo feats, encyclopedic and entertaining trivia, and audience requests—what tune, what key, what style? The host of NPR’s new Piano Jazz: Rising Stars is the ultimate jazz entertainer. He returns tomorrow night—he never runs out of music or commentary.

June 29, Studio Z (275 E. 4th Street, 2nd floor)
7:30 pm, Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric. Minnesota native guitarist now based in Baja, Todd Clouser set the jazz world on its ear with his new ensemble, A Love Electric, bringing a 70s rock vibe to a post bop context. He’s been touring a lot lately in support of the band’s new albums,  20th Century Folk Music and Entre, and featuring local cohorts Bryan Nichols, Adam Meckler, Chris Bates and Greg Schutte.

9 pm, George Cartwright. One of the leading purveyors of improvised music, Mississippi native saxman George Cartwright has performed with Ornette Coleman, Carei Thomas, Adam Linz and more. He’s received composer grants from McKnight and the Jerome Foundation and is a past winner of City Pages’ Jazz Artist of the Year. His ensemble Gloryland Ponycat remains one of the most acclaimed of area experimental ensembles.

June 30, Free Clinics at McNally Smith (19 E. Exchange Street)
·         11 am, Jon Weber
·         2 pm, Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet
·         4:30 pm, The Bad Plus and Joshua Redman

June 30, Mears Park Main Stage (E. 5th Street and Sibley)
Noon, Walker West Music Academy. It’s become tradition for the young jazz artists of Walker West to perform the opening set on the final festival day at Mears. Chances are you already heard a number of Walker West alums during the festival! WWMA has been providing individual and ensemble instruction, workshops, and performance opportunities for youth as well as adults for generations. Always a high-energy kickoff to the festival finale.

Debbie Duncan
2 pm, Debbie Duncan. Vocalist and “Minnesota’s Perpetually Outstanding Performer” (Mn Music Awards) can turn any set into a special occasion, with her amazing range from ballads to blues and her always-entertaining banter. You never want to miss Debbie.

4 pm, Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet. One of the rising stars of Latin jazz, Araya Orta has worked with such stars as Michael Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Danilo Perez, Chick Corea, Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval and Gloria Estafan. Two pairs of brothers form the quartet—bassist Nicky and pianist Mike Orta, and drummer Carlomongo and percussionist Ramses Araya. Based in Miami, they first met 20 years ago, officially forming the quartet in 2010. This is truly “feel good” music.

6 pm, Luca Ciarla. Italian violinist Luca Ciarla is hard to define but easy to hear—melding traditional and modern sounds, written composition and improvisation. His credentials extend from classical and folk to jazz and rock, with appearances worldwide at festivals and concert venues. Sure to be one of the most exciting and unusual artists to appear at this festival!

Joshua Redman
8:30 pm, The Bad Plus With Joshua Redman. Artistic riches of this magnitude should be illegal! Take one of the most acclaimed ensembles in modern jazz and add in one of the most acclaimed soloists/bandleaders in modern jazz and you have a quartet offering endless opportunities for merry mayhem. The Bad Plus are no strangers to the Twin Cities, playing here at least annually (holiday gig at the Dakota) and sporting two Twin Cities natives in drummer Dave King and bassist Reid Anderson; pianist Ethan Iverson grew up down the road in Menonomie. Together now for 12 years, their unique spins on pop and rock covers and insanely interesting original compositions makes them one of the most popular and accessible bands on the current international scene. Until now, however, TBP has managed without a horn. Enter tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman, whose career skyrocketed from his first release in the early 90s through his tenure as the first Artistic Director of SF Jazz and his current work with the highly regarded quartet, James Farm. Plan to arrive early at Mears Park for this blockbuster final set, or you might be listening from the other side of the river.

June 30, Sixth Street Stage (236 E. 6th Street)
1 pm. Lucia Newell (note schedule change). From Rio to Minneapolis, Lucia Newell brings a global appreciation of song and lyric, sometimes writing those lyrics herself, in English or in Portuguese. In addition to her affinity for Brazilian rhythms, Lucia has presented the music of Betty Carter, Anita O’Day and more. Today’s set includes original tunes and standards. And she has terrific band for the festival, including Dean Magraw, Dave Karr, Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey.

3 pm, Phil Hey Quartet. After Phil warms up with Lucia, he brings his own stellar quartet to the stage, reprising the music that has made him a monthly favorite at the Artists Quarter. With Phil Aaron, Tom Lewis and Dave Hagedorn, it might seem like the Modern Jazz Quartet has been revived, but the music bends more toward Coltrane and Ornette.

Marquis Hill
5 pm, Marquis Hill. Appearing at the 2011 festival with the Miguel Hurtado Sextet, we were all blown away by this young Chicago trumpeter. Now he’s back leading his own ensemble and we can expect another dose of exhilarating horn play. Only 24, Hill has already worked with such greats as Bobby Broom, Willie Pickens, Antonia Hart and Steve Turre.

7:15 pm, Koplant No. If you’ve gone down to the Iowa City Jazz Festival in recent years, you may have heard this quartet led by saxophonist Joel VanderHeyden. Or perhaps you caught their gig last year at the Artists Quarter. The musicians—VanderHeyden (saxophones), Brian Lewis Smith (trumpet, keyboards, laptop), Drew Morton (bass, keyboards) and Rob Baner (drums, loops, samples)—play original compositions, starting from a jazz foundation and adding elements of rock and electronica, reflecting influences from Michael Brecker to Radiohead and Beck. While VanderHeyden and company draw on many ploys that propel the current generation of ‘jazz meets rock’ musicians, from loops to laptops, their inventive artistry offers a compelling palette of colors and harmonies that stand out well above the crowd.

Dakota Combo
Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Stage (Prince Street at Broadway)
Again the DFJE is sponsoring a Youth Stage, near the Farmers Market on Prince Street, adjacent to the Black Dog Café. Six amazing ensembles of high school and college level musicians will convince you that the future of jazz is secure!

·         1 pm, Southwest High School Jazz Combo directed by Keith Liuzzi
·         2 pm, Roseville Area High School Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Pat Moriarty
·         3 pm, Dakota Combo Alumni Band, led by Jake Baldwin
·         4:30 pm, Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY) Jazz Band, directed by Scott Carter
·         5:30 pm, Stillwater Area High School Jazz Combo, directed by Dennis Lindsay
·         6:30 pm, Dakota Combo directed by Adam Linz

June 30: More Jazz Around St Paul
As you will see on the full schedule of activities, the last night of the festival is an exploding supernova of jazz from the small space of the Black Dog Café to the basement club of the Artists Quarter and even extending to the classy digs of The Lexington. This is must a mere sampling:

·         Artists Quarter, 9 pm, Jon Weber
·         Amsterdam, 5 pm, Peter Schimke; 6:30 pm, Patty Peterson; 8 pm, Witness Matlou; 9:30 pm, Jazz Central All-Stars & jam
·         Black Dog Café, 7:30 pm, Doug Little Quartet; 9 pm, Lee Engele; 10:30 pm, Joel Shapira
·         Hat Trick Lounge, 9 pm, Cory Wong
·         Heartland, 6 pm, Gypsy Mania
·         The Lexington, 7:30 pm, Rachel Holder and Zacc Harris
·         St Paul Hotel (Lobby Bar), 7 pm, Joanne Funk Trio
·         Minnesota Music Café, 8 pm,
·         McNally Smith faculty and more
·         Senor Wong, 7 pm, Larry McDonough and Richard Terrell
·         Studio Z, 7:30 pm, Zeitgeist with Nirmala Rajesekar; 9 pm, Pat Moriarty & Ellen Lease Quintet

Enjoy the last day and night of the festival – see festival website for complete details.

All photos by Andrea Canter.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Revolving Door of Local Jazz Venues

Fat Kid Wednesdays at the Ice House
 © Andrea Canter

Last night I enjoyed my first visit to the new Ice House, a restaurant/bar/club in south Minneapolis housed in, yes, an old Ice House. JT Bates is booking cutting edge jazz every Monday night, on the order of his gig at the old Clown Lounge but in a much larger and definitely more upscale setting.  James Buckley is booking weekends which for now include bass/piano duos anchored by Adam Linz. My inaugural visit featured Fat Kid Wednesdays, a trio of local geniuses (Linz, JT, and sax giant Michael Lewis) with a reputation that extends way beyond the Midwest to New York (where they’ve played The Stone) and Europe. Since the closing of the Clown two years ago, FKW gigs here have been few and far between. Judging by the crowd response to their bop-heavy opening set last night, we’ll be seeing them more often. And nothing brings in a cross-generational audience better than Monk and Parker filtered through sensibilities that run from Coltrane to Ornette to the Shaggs.  Bathed in glowing purple light shafts on a perfectly raised stage, FKW sound better than ever, eliciting not only enthusiastic applause but generally rapt attention. Sure, there were very few of us AARP-eligible patrons but, somehow, no one made us feel old. And any bar that stocks Brau Brothers Milk Stout is on my A-list.

"Three Flights Up" at The Nicollet
Yet tonight, I will make my last visit to The Nicollet, a coffee house just a few blocks down Nicollet from the Ice House. After about a year offering up great coffees, pizzas, and music—jazz on Tuesdays booked by Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie, The Nicollet will close this weekend, making tonight the finale of the Tuesday series. The main fare at The Nic has been swing—swinging small ensembles, vocalists, and usually a swarm of swing dancers who manage to find the beat even when the musicians on stage take a post-modernist direction. Mostly this no frills, no bar, no cover venue has hosted talented up-and-comers like Emily Green (who is on stage tonight) and Maryann herself, and established but under-presented veterans like Rhonda and Vicky Mountain. And we’ve heard some of the most popular instrumentalists in the area as well, including Rick Carlson, Chris Lomheim, Doug Haining and Dave Graf. Maybe the lack of a liquor license proved fatal. And this corner location has not proven successful since the Acadia moved to the West Bank. 

Rhonda Laurie and Maryann Sullivan

Over the past few years, it seems the jazz scene has gone through continuous cycles of openings and closings. But each venue makes a unique contribution to the community. The loss of The Nicollet is not compensated by the opening of The Ice House. They each support the music in a different way, and we need both. Best wishes to The Nicollet owner Jeremy –maybe he will find a way to bring his ideas to another venue. And best wishes to JT, James, and the crew at The Ice House to sustain their initial success.

All music venues need audience support. Get out to the concert halls and theaters, the long-time jazz clubs, and especially the smaller scale venues in your community that often offer top-rung talents at little or no cover. Let’s keep jazz alive – all of it, everywhere.

The Ice House is located at 2528 Nicollet; Monday night jazz sets at 9:30 and 11:30; weekend sets at 8 pm, cover $5 if any. Hear the final Tuesday jazz night at The Nicollet (corner of Franklin and Nicollet) with vocalist Emily Green, no cover, 7:30-9:30 pm.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, June 22-28

© Andrea Canter

Todd Clouser leads A Love Electric, CD release at the Ritz June 22nd

More rain, more heat, more storms, more mosquitoes. Summer in the Twin Cities has its challenges, but finding great jazz any night of the week is not one of them! And with the preliminary events of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival on the docket this week, there’s even more to choose from. The weekend boasts a CD release party from Twin Cities native guitar master Todd Clouser, another live performance (at the AQ) with the Dave King Trucking Company, a long-overdue appearance from Fat Kid Wednesdays at the new Ice House, numerous ensemble and big band gigs at area parks, and a day anticipating the start of the jazz festival with music beginning outside the St Paul Central Library with Jack Brass Band and then continuing well into the night with the annual Jazz Night Out, based in and around Mears Park but spilling over into club and bar venues throughout the broadly defined St Paul downtown, including the annual appearance of Jon Weber at the AQ. That will just give us a taste of next weekend’s annual jazz blowout.

Highlights This Week
Adam Meckler
June 22. Todd Clouser has been gaining stature as a force to be reckoned with in modern jazz guitar. With his band A Love Electric, he has really hit rich vein of musical ideas, bringing a 70s rock slant to modern post bop… or is it a post bop slant to vintage rock and fusion? Whatever it is, there’s a lot of energy and interesting interactions among his highly talented band mates. On recording, he draws from cohorts in Mexico, the Midwest and East Coast. With his new Royal Potato Family label, Todd promised three recordings by the end of the year, and he is now two-thirds the way toward his goal with the release tonight of Entre, which he describes as “Selections in Garage Jazz.” It’s mostly a rock-scented fusiony mash-up but there are a couple more gentle tracks that might be dubbed “country folk jazz.” Call it whatever. Celebrate it at the Ritz Theater with a promising opening set from the Adam Meckler Orchestra, boasting a big handful of the area’s young hotshots.

Jake Baldwin and Nelson Devereaux
Speaking of young hotshots… let’s go even younger. Returning to the Late Night at the Dakota series, trumpeter Jake Baldwin will keep us from nodding off with a ferocious quintet of locally connected 20-somethings. Getting ready for his final year at the New England Conservatory, Minnetonka High School alum and gifted trumpeter Jake is in town for the summer and gigging as much as possible. His former Dakota Combo cohorts Joe Strachan (piano, U of M) and Cory Grindberg (bass, Northwestern U) join up with U of M grad Nelson Devereaux (sax) and Manhattan School of Music (and South High) grad Miguel Hurtado (drums) for a steamy Friday night finale.

June 22-23. The Dave King Trucking Company has been busy around town recently, helping to open the new Ice House and now returning to the Artists Quarter for the weekend. Although their touring and recording (Good Old Light) feature two tenor saxophonists (with New York-based Chris Speed), here Brandon Wozniak ably handles the horn duties alone, with Erik Fratzke on guitar, Adam Linz on bass, and of course King on drums. King describes the concept of the Trucking Company sound as “if the great Nashville bands of the '60s and '70s could improvise and were Coltrane fanatics.” Between Clouser and King, I am getting nostalgic for the 70s. Still, I don’t remember that decade offering this much creative musical interaction.

Nachito Herrera
If it has been a while since you saw Nachito Herrera, this might be a great weekend to make up for lost time as he does back-to-back gigs at the Dakota. A week ago, the Cuban keyboard monster was in Nashville to accept the American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Council – the first Latin musician so honored since Carlos Santana. And next week, he heads west for performances at Kuumbwa Jazz and Yoshi’s in the Bay Area.

June 23. It’s not unusual for one of the Petersons to take center stage for a weekend gig. Usually that means Patty Peterson and Friends or brother Billy Peterson holding down the basslines at the AQ. But tonight at The Lexington, it’s Linda Peterson! Home from LA for an extended visit, Linda will offer her vocal and piano talents for a  low key, upscale, swinging evening fit for date night or just relaxing at one of St Paul’s most distinguished night spots. She also has a couple club dates later in July at School II.

JT Bates
June 25. Since the demise of the Clown Lounge, we have seen or heard very little of Fat Kid Wednesdays. Mike Lewis, Adam Linz and JT Bates certainly keep busy with other projects, but FKW is one of their earliest collaborations and one of most creative forces on the local jazz scene. Now that JT is booking Monday nights at the new Ice House venue, we can expect to see more of Fat Kids as well as other groups that called the Clown Lounge ‘home.”

June 26. In the “it never rains, it pours” department (and not speaking of our recent weather!), tonight brings back one of the most dynamic ensembles to hold the stage at the AQ, a nameless quartet featuring Dean Magraw, Bryan Nichols, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst. Across town, we can repeat Saturday night at the Ritz, with Todd Clouser pairing with James Buckley at Café Maude and the Adam Meckler Orchestra the featured big band of the week at Jazz Central. This will not be an easy decision tonight, but be assured by the fact that you can only win no matter where you go.

June 27. Adam Meckler might be the busiest musician in town this week. After two gigs with his Orchestra, he gets to play sideman tonight at the AQ with the Graydon Peterson Quartet. The young trumpet whiz will interact with like minded cohorts, including Vinnie Rose on guitar, Peterson on bass and Adrian Suarez on drums.

Pippi Ardennia
June 28. If today is but a preview of the Hot Summer Jazz Festival, what nonstop entertainment awaits us for the weekend? The festival activities start early, with the multi-talented Jack Brass Band playing outside the St Paul Central Library midday. They are one of the most accomplished New Orleans Brass Bands outside of the Crescent City, and their joy is contagious. The “official” Jazz Night Out starts early evening in Mears Park with nonstop music from Pippi Ardennia and her “house band” as well as some of her favorite guests from the past year of PipJazz Sunday concerts, including a few of her student guests. If you have not heard Pippi sing….be ready and be there! Outside of Mears Park there are at least a dozen venues hosting one or more bands through the evening, including Connie Evingson with Jon Weber at the AQ, Arne Fogel  and Maud Hixson at Mancini’s, Lucia Newell at the Black Dog,  Zeitgeist and Zacc Harris at Studio Z, Framework at Minnesota Music Café, Joann Funk at the St Paul Hotel, Connie Olson at The Lexington and a list of great acts at the Amsterdam, from Ticket to Brasil to Chris Lomheim and Mary Louise Knutson to songbirds Nichola Miller and Joyce Lyons, capped by the Jazz Central All-Stars. Check it all out on the festival website.

More Jazz Every Night
Yes, there is even more out there. See the live jazz calendar from Bebopified or also posted on Jazz Police; listen to KBEM and KFAI radio. More gigs:

Friday, June 22. Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Rhonda Laurie and Joel Shapira at the Wine Market (Mendota Heights); Jeremy Boettcher and Phil Aaron at the Ice House

Paula Lammers
Saturday, June 23. Paula Lammers at the Eagan Community Center (3 pm); Joann Funk at the Lobby Bar, St Paul Hotel; Zacc Harris Trio at the Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Sophia Shorai at the Red Stag; Tom Lieberman at the Aster Cafe'

Sunday, June 24.  Paula Lammers at Como Lakeside Pavillion (3 pm); Ticket to Brasil at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Nicollet Commons Park; JT Bates at Barbette

Monday, June 25. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Dave Brattain at Jazz Central; Debbie Duncan at The Dakota

Tuesday, June 26. Emily Green at The Nicollet; Cory Wong Quartet, early set at the Artists Quarter; Jack Brass Band at Driftwood Charbar

Wednesday, June 27. Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early show at the Artists Quarter; Wolverines at Hell’s Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Hobert/Jeremy Boettcher/Jay Epstein at the Nomad World Pub

Sophia Shorai
Thursday, June 28. Sophia Shorai at the Dakota; see Jazz Night Out, Twin Cities Jazz Festival listings for St. Paul venues.

Coming Soon!
·         June 29, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (Delfeayo Marsalis; Francisco Mela’s Cuban Safari)
·         June 29, Maud Hixson and Jon Weber at the Artists Quarter (Twin Cities Jazz Festival)
·         June 30, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (The Bad Plus With Joshua Redman)
·         June 30, Jon Weber at the Artists Quarter (Twin Cities Jazz Festival)
·         July 1-2, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
·         July 8,  Dean Magraw & Marcus Wise, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center
·         July 9, Dave Singley at Jazz Central
·         July 9-10, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
·         July 13-14, John Raymond Project at the Artists Quarter
·         July 15, Tribute to Elliot Fine at the Artists Quarter
·         July 16, Geoff Senn at Jazz Central
·         July 18, Jana Nyberg Group at the Dakota
·         July 20, Matt Turner at the Black Dog
·         July 20-21, Pete Whitman & Laura Caviani at the Artists Quarter
·         July 21, Nancy Harms and Jeremy Siskind at Jazz Central
·         July 23, Minnesota Jazz All-Stars at the Old Log Theater (led by Cliff Brunzell, Jeanne Arland Peterson)
·         July 23, Michael Nelson at Jazz Central
·         July 29, James Carter Organ Trio at the Dakota
·         July 30, Brandon Wozniak at Jazz Central
·         July 31, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Jazz Central
·         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
·         September 30, Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Society at the State Theater
·         October 30-31, Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Dakota

Maria Schenider, coming home to Minnesota October 30-31

All photos by Andrea Canter

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jazz Face: Paul Bollenback

© Andrea Canter

I know New York-based guitarist Paul Bollenback has been to the Twin Cities a number of times. I have missed him a number of times. Seems he comes when I am most likely to be out of town. I almost missed him again. But I returned with a day to spare, and spent my first night back at the Artists Quarter. I hope I don’t miss him again. His balladry reminded me of Joe Pass but his sound came from some where else. Like from everyone I’ve ever heard on guitar and yet not from anyone I’ve ever heard. He does something unique with his pick so you don’t even notice it. Then he does something unique with his harmonies so that you forget whatever he is doing technically, because it doesn’t matter. You just want to listen all night.

Photo: Paul Bollenback at the Artists Quarter, June 15, 2012. Photo by Andrea Canter.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, June 15-21

Dean Magraw, at the AQ and Ice House this week

© Andrea Canter
After a week in northern California, I am ready for my home town jazz haven! And I won’t have to wait given the options this weekend and into the next week, starting with star guitarist Paul Bollenback and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival prelude events in the St. Paul libraries, and the much-anticipated Stanley Clarke/George Duke gig at the Dakota. The local scene is well represented as well, with our own guitar star Dean Magraw featured with Red Planet and with Bryan Nichols and the Peterson/Horst team, and Laura Caviani making her Jazz Central debut.

Highlights This Week

June 15-16. Described by the great George Benson as “a versatile dynamo,” New York-based guitarist Paul Bollenback returns to the Artists Quarter where he is one of our favorite “out of towners.” Recently on tour with Joey DeFrancesco’s organ trio and Steve Gadd & Friends, he has appeared on the Tonight Show, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and Entertainment Tonight, and has played with Gary Bartz, Paul Bley, Charlie Byrd, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Herb Ellis, Geoffrey Keezer, Joe Locke, Jack McDuff, James Moody, David “Fathead” Newman, Stanley Turrentine, and Jeff “Tain” Watts, among others. He also tours regularly as a leader and with his wife, vocalist Chris McNulty.

Jana Nyberg and Adam Meckler
June 16. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival series in St Paul libraries continues this afternoon with the Jana Nyberg Group filling the Hayden Heights library with jazz and pop covers and maybe an original tune or two. Vocalist Jana Nyberg brings a lot of energy to the stage, and her working band similarly knows how to swing and soar, from husband/trumpeter Adam Meckler and guitarist Evan Montgomery to bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Greg Schutte. Another brand of swing is in fine form this evening as the Barbary Coast Dixieland Band honor tradition in the Schneider Theater of the Bloomington Center for the Arts. One of the area’s longest-running bands, BB is also celebrating 45 years of performing and recording. If you ever ponder where modern jazz comes from, look no farther than Barbary Coast.

Laura Caviani
June 18. Ever since opening nearly two years ago, Jazz Central has been a reliable venue for the best jazz artists in town, playing new music and/or in new combinations. Tonight, the Monday Night jam features pianist/composer Laura Caviani leading a trio with young bassist Jeremy Boettcher and veteran drummer/Jazz Central co-director Mac Santiago. It’s a night where the unexpected is always expected, so there’s no telling what Laura has up her sleeve or who will join in to jam in the late set. In south Minneapolis, the new Monday night series at the Ice House continues in inter-stellar fashion with Red Planet. Expect some inventive twists on Coltrane, original compositions, and generally quirky orbits around the jazz galaxy with Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein.

Stanley Clarke
June 18-19, Jazz titans bassist Stanley Clarke and keyboardist/producer George Duke have been working together for decades, in many different projects, first teaming up for the Clarke/Duke Project back in the late 70s. Together they scored a top-twenty pop hit with “Sweet Baby,” and so far have recorded three albums. The Dakota has enjoyed Clarke in different configurations in recent years, with Chick Corea, in duo with Hiromi, and with his own trio. Now we can enjoy the soulful collaboration with Duke, whose resume includes Al Jarreau, Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billy Cobham.

June 19. About a month ago, Dean Magraw, Bryan Nichols, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst tried out their first collaboration at the Artists Quarter, and it worked so well that they are back for two consecutive Tuesday nights this month. Somehow this configuration puts everyone’s best creative foot forward and particularly highlights the tight communication between guitar and piano. In fact among the highlights last time out were a couple duets with just Dean and Bryan.

Maud Hixson with French 75
June 20. Two nods at more or less tradition today. Early evening, the next installment of jazz in the St Paul libraries, in conjunction with the upcoming Twin Cities Jazz Festival, comes to the St. Anthony Library in the form of New Orleans style band, the St Peter Street Stompers led by Chuck Devore. Normally this band stimulates dancing, and perhaps some space will be cleared for the inevitable? Otherwise it will be a nice sampling of traditional Crescent City music. A bit later in the evening at the Dakota, French 75 and Maud Hixson spin through music from the Continent, Britain and the U.S, swinging all the way. Look for virtuoso clarinetist Tony Baluff and his similarly talented cohorts including Robert Bell on guitar, and of course songbird Maud who can put a swing and a smile into any tune.

X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
June 21. Most months there is an opportunity to hear Pete Whitman and his excellent X-Tet at the Artists Quarter, and tonight’s the night. Ten of the top jazz performers in the region form the ensemble, and their repertoire covers the modern jazz idiom along with some original works as well.  It’s been a proving ground for young rising stars like Adam Rossmiller and an incubator of creative expression for such veterans as Laura Caviani, Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey.

More Jazz Every Night
Like the Big Apple, the Mini-Apple has a wealth of choices for jazz fans most every night of the week, from trad to rad, vocalists to brass bands. See the Bebopified live jazz calendar and Jazz Police to find out what and who is on the bandstand.

Friday, June 15. Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); Adam Linz and Tommy O’Donnell at the Ice House; Sophia Shorai at The Lexington; Maryann Sullivan and Dave Martin at the Riverview Wine Bar; Patty Peterson and Friends at Schoolhouse II; Parker Paisley at the Aster Café

Saturday, June 16. Janet Nyberg Group, Hayden Heights Library (2 pm, TCJF Jazz in the Library); Lucia Newell and Zacc Harris at Eat Street Social’s Brazil Party (afternoon); Adam Linz and Tommy O’Donnell at the Ice House; Thomas Bruce and Phil Mattson at The Lexington

Sunday, June 17: Patty and the Buttons at the Aster Café; Charmin Michelle and Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at the Medina Ballroom

Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg
Monday, June 18: Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Butch Thompson, Old Log Theater; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Robert Bell and Naomi Uyama at Barbette

Tuesday, June 19: Vincent Rose and Modern Time at Café Maude; Three Flights Up at The Nicollet; Cory Wong Quartet (early set) at the Artists Quarter; Jack Brass Band at the Driftwood Charbar

Wednesday June 20: St Peter Street Stompers at the St Anthony Library (TCJF Jazz in the Library); Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Off the Map at the Black Dog

Thursday, June 21: Arne Fogel at The Lexington; Jimmy Wallace at Barbette

Coming Soon!

·         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

·         September 30, Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Society at the State Theater

·         October 30-31, Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Dakota

All photos by Andrea Canter