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