Friday, July 20, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, July 20-26

Young lion drummer Miguel Hurtado leads a new trio at the Artists Quarter July 25th

© Andrea Canter

Decisions, decisions. Avant garde solo bass? Mainstream chamber finesse? Brunch-time swing?New York rising stars? Cuban fireworks? Cutting edge trio? A revue of Minnesota’s Jazz Legends? This week has it all, right here in the Minni-apple.

Brian Roessler
Friday, July 20. The second installment of this season’s “Crow With No Mouth” concert series at Studio Z features three sets of solo improvised music featuring bassist Brian Roessler, instrument builder Eloine (Bryan Day) and electronics artist Ernst Karel. Notes the concert promo, “All three musicians work in areas of sound, however divergent their approaches and instrumentation, in which the abstract and the personal narrative can both be heard.” Eloine and Karel are new to me, but I have already developed a fondness for the basswork of Roessler, who among other ensembles provides the bottom notes for the Fantastic Merlins and co-curates the Community Pool/Deep End series at the Black Dog. Studio Z’s promo notes that all proceeds ($10 cover) go to the musicians.

Laura Caviani with Chris Bates
Friday/Saturday, July 20-21. In any configuration, pianist Laura Caviani offers music that is accessible, interesting, and ever evolving. This weekend at the Artists Quarter she returns to the quartet format, featuring the talents of her musical/life partner Pete Whitman on saxophone, Chris Bates on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Over the past year, Laura has been exploring original jazz arrangements of classical works (“From Bach to Bop”), and will include some of those pieces at the AQ, as well as her own and Pete’s original compositions and their inventive takes on jazz standards.

Saturday, July 21. How about some classic and virtuosic swing with your eggs and toast? Brunch today at Hell’s Kitchen rises on the musical Richter Scale with music provided by pianist Rick Carlson and violinist Gary Schulte. You won’t find two more accomplished purveyors of their craft, and if you don’t understand the nature of swing after this morning’s fare, you are probably doomed to an unswinging life. And a life without swing is… well… unswingable.

Joel Shapira

The Loring Pasta Bar pulls a few surprises now and then and tonight is one of the most interesting – at trio with Joel Shapira on guitar, Tom Lewis on bass and Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums. This could be the start of something big.

Nancy Harms
Speaking of the start of something big, our “local girl makes good” Nancy Harms, currently making her mark among rising star vocalists in New York, returns to her home state as part of the Jeremy Siskind Trio, celebrating the release of Finger Songwriter at Jazz Central. An exciting young pianist and composer, Siskind has set poetic texts to new music, enlisting the ever-growing voices of Harms and young saxophonist Lucas Pino. Definitely the start of something big.

Nachito Herrera

Sunday, July 22.  We almost take pianist Nachito Herrera for granted now that he has at least monthly gigs around town, usually at the Dakota. But don’t forget this is an artist with an international reputation and resume, from his early days with Cubanissmo to more recent tours with the Afro Cuban All-Stars and his own mini-tour of the West Coast. Herrera is also a noteworthy composer and bandleader who will show off both talents in a ground-breaking concert in Watertown, MN at the community’s Performing Arts Center. Hoping to launch and annual “jazz festival,” Nachito is bringing a multi-faceted program to the Carver County town, opening with the Dakota Combo (Twin Cities’ high school all-stars) and later featuring special guests Debbie Duncan and the Steele Brothers (J.D. and Fred), daughter Mirdalys Herrera on vocals, long-time cohorts Yohannes Tona on bass and Kevin Washington on drums, and the young artists of the Minneapolis Youth Symphony – all in all, a 22-piece ensemble. Nachito plans to unveil some new compositions, and you can count on a lot of energy and firepower.

Monday, July 23. Minnesota Jazz All-Stars is an aptly title production at the Old Log Theater, with no less than Jeanne Arland Peterson, Cliff Brunzell, Irv Williams, Dave Karr, Clyde Anderson, Reuben Ristrom, and Mac Santiago, with special guest vocalist Charmin Michelle. Part of Old Log’s “Sounds of Summer” series –and what a collection of sounds! Reuben, Mac and Charmin are mere teens in comparison to the years of experience of the veterans in this band. Hard to find this much music on one stage.

Michael Nelson
With all that talent out in Excelsior, is there any left in the city tonight? Indeed. Trombonist and master arranger Michael Nelson takes a break from JazzMN and the Hornheads to lead a small group at Jazz Central, while a new trio of  Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz and Eric Gravatt take the stage at the Ice House for the first of two consecutive Monday nights of “Jazz Implosion.”

Tuesday, July 24. Jazz Central continues two of its “traditions,” Tuesday night Big Band and presenting new ensembles. Tonight is the maiden voyage of the Doug Haining/Scott Agster Big Band. Promising a cadre of the area’s top jazz artists, this debut will feature “a wide variety of material from legendary big band composers such as Duke Ellingtion, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, and others.” In St Paul, a too-infrequent gig with Framework is on tap at the Artists Quarter, with Jay Epstein, Chris Olson and Chris Bates providing original music and arrangements that are typically sublime, even a bit cerebral, but always fascinating.

Wednesday, July 25. Youthful energy dominates the Miguel Hurtado Trio at the Artists Quarter tonight. Following the always boppin’ Steve Kenny and the Bastids on the early set, drummer Miguel brings in a new ensemble, with guitarist Zacc Harris and newcomer bassist Brian Courage. Miguel led a weekend  gig at the AQ last month, and was back last weekend manning the trapset for John Raymond, providing ample reason for Kenny Horst to book him again as bandleader. Surely one of the best pieces of evidence that our area is an expanding cauldron for jazz talent.

Rhonda Laurie
Thursday, July 26. Capping a hot week at the AQ, Pete Whitman returns with his X-Tet, showing off our best times ten. In Minneapolis, enjoy a late gig at the Red Stag with vocalist Rhonda Laurie and guitarist Robert Bell. I just heard the duo at Barbette and they are definitely creating some late night magic, reinventing standards and introducing some new or seldom heard tunes as well.

More Jazz Every Night
Pamela Espeland announced earlier that she would discontinue her Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar on Bebopified as of August 1, but Don Berryman stepped into the breach and announced he would take over the live jazz postings on Jazz Police, effective at the end of July. The Bebopified calendar has been posted on the Jazz Police site all along (on the Twin Cities page) so this should be a relatively painless transition. Musicians and venues should send gig listings via email to

Meanwhile, a few more recommendations for the coming week:

Friday, July 20. Dan Musselman, Altamir Coelho and Josh Alfaro at Rodizio Grill (Maple Grove); Zacc Harris Trio with Lucia Newell at Hell’s Kitchen; Joel Shapira solo guitar at Ingredients Café;  Matt Turner and Viv Corringham at the Black Dog; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Patty Peterson and Friends at School II Bistro; James Buckley and Bryan Nichols, dinner set at the Ice House

Patty Peterson
Saturday, July 21. Pig’s Eye Jazz Band (swing dance) at the Eagles Aerie Club; Patty Peterson Trio at The Lexington; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Jim Anton/Dean Magraw, dinner set at the Icehouse

Sunday, July 22. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Jazz in July with Rhonda Laurie at All Saints Lutheran Church (Cottage Grove); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, July 23. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Ronnie Laws and Tom Browne Super Group at the Dakota; George Maurer’s Autumn Song at St Joan of Arc Auditorium

Tuesday, July 24. Cory Wong Quartet, opening set at the Artists Quarter; Charles Lazarus Quartet at Plymouth Congregational Church (Minneapolis); Moonlight Serenaders with Lee Engele at the Minnesota History Center; Ronnie Laws and Tom Browne Super Group at the Dakota; Jack Brass Band at the Driftwood CharBar

Wednesday, July 25. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Linda Peterson at School II Bistro; Adrian Legg at the Dakota; Deconunisms (Luke Polopnik, Devin Drobka, Jon Christiansen) at Nomad World Pub

Coming Soon!
·         July 27-28, Jay Young & the Lyric Factory at the Artists Quarter
·         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 & Wes Montgomery with Joey D’Francesco, Larry Coryell & Jimmy Cobb at the Dakota
·         August 2, Bloomington Jazz Festival (Steve Clark and Working Stiffs, George Maurer Big Band)
·         August 3, Pat Mallinger at the Artists Quarter
·         August 4, Atlantis Quartet at the Artists Quarter
·         August 9, Tribute to Blossom Dearie with Joann Funk at the Artists Quarter
·         August 11, Dave King Trucking Company at the Dakota
·         August 12, PipJazz Sundays with Yolande Bruce at Landmark Center
·         August 18, Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival (Nicollet Commons Park)
·         August 18, Jake Baldwin Quartet at the Dakota (late night)
·         August 20, Erin Bode at the Dakota
·         August 24, Boot Camp (Jeremy Walker) at the Dakota (late night)
·         September 4-5, Pat Metheny Unity Band at the Dakota
·         September 8, Selby Avenue Jazz Festival
·         September 9, Dakota Combo Auditions at MacPhail Center for Music
·         September 11-12, Marcus Miller at the Dakota
·         September 14-15, Chris Bates’ Red 5 CD Release at the Artists Quarter
·         September 15, Arne Fogel, Jazz @St. Barney’s (St. Barnabas Arts Center, Plymouth)
·         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
·         September 30, Men With Mics (Gregg Marquardt, Reeves Carey, Dan Ristrom) at the Artists Quarter (TCJS, Jazz From J to Z)
·         October 13, Connie Evingson, Jazz @St. Barney’s (St. Barnabas Arts Center, Plymouth)
·         October 14-15, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
·         October 30-31, Maria Schneider Orchestra at the Dakota
·         November 4, Spiral Visions (Milne, Hagedorn, Aaron, Lewis, Hey) at Landmark Center (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

Pat Mallinger returns to the Artists Quarter on August 3rd   

All photos by Andrea Canter