Friday, August 17, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, August 17-23


Eric Kamau Gravatt at the Icehouse
 © Andrea Canter
 This is my favorite weather, sunny and in the 70s. But prefer my jazz either really cool or really hot. And there is plenty of both  to enjoy this weekend and beyond.

Highlights This Week
August 17-18. Last spring, Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz and Eric Kamau Gravatt got together at the Artists Quarter to try out a new trio. It all clicked, and a few weeks ago they gave it another whirl at the new Icehouse. Now they are back at the AQ for a weekend of  free-wheeling improvising on familiar jazz fare (Coltrane, Coleman, Shorter)  and original works. One of the most compelling aspects of this collaboration is the opportunity to hear each musician take extended solos – few ensembles give this much attention to the skills of the bassist, and Adam has plenty to hold our attention. Ditto for drum solos, and Eric Gravatt has a wealth of experience with the best in the business. And hearing saxman Brandon in this context is another blessing, as bass and drums push him to even higher summits of sound experiments, and the solo moments reinforce his reputation as one of the top horn players around.

Chris Bates
The Icehouse is fast becoming a favorite music venue among the most serious jazz fans as well as the most serious musicians. Weekends have been set aside for piano/bass duos this summer, and this weekend  features two of the best imaginable, both featuring bassist Chris Bates, with Bryan Nichols on keys Friday and Tommy O’Donnell on Saturday. This is considered the “dinner sets” starting at 7 pm, but this is hardly “dinner music.”  Figure Friday will have more edge, Saturday will have more swing. Both nights will be extraordinary. And no cover with dinner.

2011, Dakota Combo at Burnsville Fest
August 18. It’s the 9th annual Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival, a day of music and family fun, all free, and featuring some pretty hefty jazz sets. The young lions of the Dakota Combo, playing the last public gig for this 2011-2012 edition of the band, will open at Noon, followed by the Hot Swing Trio (guitarist Robert Bell and vocalist Erin Schwab), Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical, the popular fusion band Super Pilots, and closing out around sunset with the incomparable Randy Brecker. And this is all free.

Jake Baldwin and his new trumpet
Even if you make to the full festival in Burnsville, you will have time to end your jazzy day with an exciting ensemble of young monsters. The Jake Baldwin Quintet reprises their January Late Night at the Dakota gig, with a new twist—two trumpets. And one of those trumpets has a couple extra valves! Jake, soon to begin his senior year at the New England Conservatory of Music, has again assembled a band of talented cohorts, including pianist Joe Strachan (U of M), bassist Cory Grindberg (Northwestern U), drummer Miguel Hurtado (Manhattan School of Music alum), and tonight, a trumpet partner, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin (U of M). But if Jake’s own trumpet looks a bit odd, note that he has been working at a trumpet factory this summer, and finally took matters into his own hands, building his own trumpet with extra valves for quarter notes and for a downward extension of the horn’s range. He tried it out last weekend when he was a guest on the PipJazz Sundays concert at Landmark Center. Not many musicians play an instrument they actually built.

August 20. It’s sort of an update of the old B-3 Organ Night, but now it’s at Jazz Central. Tonight Tanner Taylor shows off his organ chops, with Zacc Harris on guitar and Mac Santiago on drums. And it’s also a fund raiser for some repairs to the Jazz Central organ. We don’t hear Tanner often on the B-3, but he’s as skilled on the organ as he is on the acoustic piano.

Graydon Peterson
August 22. Often a sideman, now Graydon Peterson leads an up and coming quartet of his own at the Artists Quarter, featuring the very busy Adam Meckler (trumpet), Vincent Rose (guitar) and Adrian Suarez (drums). With his own compositions in the forefront here, expect some interesting experiments with time atop some melodic and hard groovin’ tunes. Come early for the weekly bash with Steve Kenny and the Bastids to refuel your bebop ears.  And it is a “taco night” with the best and cheapest concoctions from the Lopez Sisters, making this the best bargain for dinner and music. (Whatever they have for dessert tonight, get it.)
Snowblind
August 23. One of my favorite brass ensembles, Snowblind adds a new wrinkle to their sound with guest pianist Phil Aaron as the guys salute Blue Note Records, particularly the recordings of Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, and Blue Mitchell. The core band includes Shilad Sen (sax), Adam Rossmiller (trumpet), Scott Agster (trombone), Graydon Peterson (bass), and Reid Kennedy (drums). When they started out about six years ago, Sen, Rossmiller and Kennedy were still working their way through music programs at the U of M, relatively unknowns on the Twin Cities jazz scene. Now they are among the elite class of first-call performers as well as educators passing it on. The addition of a rhythm instrument just might stir the pot in all sorts of new directions, even as they pay homage to iconic music.

More Jazz Every Night and Day!
It’s hard to keep up so thank goodness Don Berryman and Jazz Police help to do it for us. Visit the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar on the home page; listen to KBEM and KFAI for daily calendar updates and visit your favorite jazz venue website. A few more suggestions:

Reynold Philipsek and Matt Senjem
Friday, August 17. Reynold Philipsek Trio with Matt Senjem and Michael Bissonnette at the 318 Café; Nichola Miller with Tanner Taylor at Hell’s Kitchen; Maurice Jacox at The Lexington; Todd Harper and Nathan Hanson at the Black Dog

Saturday, August 18. Lucia Newell and Zacc Harris at Eat Street Social (early afternoon); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Dorothy Doring and Phil Mattson at The Lexington

Sunday, August 19. Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; River Falls Cultural Project at Emma’s Bar Downtown (River Falls); Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom

Monday, August 20. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at Red Stag; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Erin Bode at the Dakota; Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Firebell at Barbette

Tuesday, August 21. Cory Wong Quartet followed by the Peter Schimke Trio with Dave Brattain at the Artists Quarter; Doug Haining/Scott Agster Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at the Driftwood Charbar; Carei Thomas and Alden Ikeda at the Black Dog; Orange Mighty Trio at Café Maude

Charmin Michelle
Wednesday, August 22. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen

Thursday, August 23. Viva Brasil at the Dakota; The Neighborhood Trio at the Red Stag; Robb Henry at Barbette

Coming Soon!
·         August 24, Media Addicts CD Release at the Artists Quarter
·         August 24, Nichola Miller at The Lexington
·         August 24, Boot Camp (Jeremy Walker) at the Dakota (late night)
·         August 25, Whitman/Schimke/Lewis/Horst at the Artists Quarter
·         August 25, Lucia Newell at The Lexington
·         August 30, Birthday Bash with Jeanne Arland Peterson, Irv Williams and Cliff Brunzell at the Artists Quarter
·         August 31, Arne Fogel at The Lexington
·         August 31-September 1, Phil Hey Quartet at the Artists Quarter
·         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 9, Ben Sidran at the Dakota
·         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 19, Delfeayo Marsalis at the Dakota
·         September 21, Saxophone Day at McNally Smith College with Bob Sheppard
·         September 21-22, Bob Sheppard at the Artists Quarter
·         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 6, Wayne Bergeron with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
·         October 13, Connie Evingson, Jazz @St. Barney’s (St. Barnabas Arts Center, Plymouth)
·         October 14-15, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
·         October 23, Kurt Elling 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)
·         November 9, Anat Cohen and Evan Christopher at Minneapolis Convention Center (MN Orchestra)
·         November 10, Anat Cohen and Klezmatics at Minneapolis Convention Center (MN Orchestra)
·         November 11, Duke Ellington Orchestra with Evan Christopher at Minneapolis Convention Center
·         December 7, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota

Lucia Newell, coming to The Lexington on August 25th