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