Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, August 10-16

Anthony Cox
 © Andrea Canter

Local heavyweights provide all the jazz muscle we need in the coming week. From post-bop experimenters to the music of Bill Evans to hard-core swing, these “dog days of August” mean plenty of cool cats!

Highlights This Week
August 10-11. It’s been a while since internationally acclaimed bassist Anthony Cox led his own bad at a major local venue. This weekend, he brings his Anthony Cox Group to the Artists Quarter. Despite his local address, Anthony’s resume includes stints with Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Steve Lacy, John Scofield and Dewey Redman; he’s worked more recently with Debbie Duncan, Chris Lomheim, Phil Hey, Jay Epstein and more. And when you read the resume of other local bassists, you will often find “studied with Anthony Cox” among their credentials.

Dave King
August 11. The Dave King Trucking Company has played most of the major venues in the Twin Cities, from the Artists Quarter to Studio Z, as well as some other hot spots on the East Coast and in Europe. So it seemed inevitable that they would one day take the stage in prime time at the Dakota. That night has arrived. The Bad Plus drummer selected his cohorts wisely—Brandon Wozniak on saxophones, Erik Fratzke on guitar, Adam Linz on bass, with additional reed work from New York-based Chris Speed when the band tours. The debut recording for DKTC, Good Old Light,  landed on many “best of 2011” lists. Almost as iconic as the music is King’s commentary between compositions.

Richard Johnson
The Icehouse continues to offer piano-centric jazz on weekends. Tonight, pianist Richard Johnson continues his monthly series of gigs at a variety of area venues. Johnson is sort of based on the East Coast but has been spending most of his time in the Twin Cities lately. Dazzling, swinging and as energetic as anyone out there, Johnson might remind you a bit of Marcus Roberts and Cyrus Chestnut. And those are good memories to have!

Pippi Ardennia
August 12. Pippi Ardennia had a vision of presenting the best jazz in a family-friendly setting, of bringing virtuosic soloists into the spotlight, and  promoting the talents of area youth in the context of a professional and. Not just any pros, either. In addition to Pippi herself—and she has one of most powerful and versatile voices you will here, the PipJazz Band includes Peter Schimke on piano, Billy Peterson on bass, Glenn Swanson and drums, and new additions, Lincoln Berry on keyboards and Dean Magraw on guitar. Special guest this week (Sunday at Landmark Center) is the incomparable Yolande Bruce (Moore By Four); youth guest is trumpeter Jake Baldwin, a grad of Minnetonka High School now entering his senior year at the New England Conservatory of Music. Concerts start at 5 pm, so it’s late enough to allow you to complete your weekend chores and early enough to fit into family “work night” schedules.

Esteemed arts photographer Ann Marsden passed away last month. On Sunday afternoon (2:30 pm), her friends will gather to honor her memory at the Fitzgerald Theater. Vocalist Prudence Johnson and pianist Laura Caviani will be among those paying musical tribute to Ann.

Dave Hagedorn
August 13. The jazz event of the year in 2010 was the opening of Jazz Central Studios in Northeast Minneapolis. Under the management of Tanner Taylor and Mac Santiago, this venue “by the cats, for the cats” continues to grow in its audience and in the stature of the music presented in the intimate “underground” performance space. This week, the Monday night jam series stars vibes master Dave Hagedorn, seldom heard in a leading role. You can travel the world, here the big names of Bobby Hutcherson, Stefon Harris, Gary Burton, Joe Locke…. and you won’t hear a more masterful vibes artist than Dave. Be sure to leave a donation in the drum “bucket” to help keep Jazz Central afloat. We really need it!

In a different but equally impressive vein, the Wolverines Big Band takes the stage at the Old Log Theater. Led by Jendeen Forberg with a veteran horn section, Rick Carlson on piano and Maud Hixson on vocals, it’s always a special event when the full Wolverines band is knocking off the charts, from Basie to Ellington and anything inbetween.

August 14.  It’s a busy month for the Atlantis Quartet. They were just at the AQ fo a weekend and now they’re going prime time weeknight at the Dakota. Which just means the Atlantis Quartet is hip enough to appeal to both the hard core jazz audience of the AQ and the downtown “in crowd” at the Dakota. Maybe that’s why City Pages dubbed them the best jazz band of 2011? The band features Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig. Four reasons to put it on your calendar.

Jana Nyberg and Adam Meckler
August 15. No matter which direction you head, you will find some great ensembles with cool leading voices. Start out early evening at the Dakota as Maud Hixson and French 75 return with a showcase of tunes from Britain, the Continent and compatible American songwriters. Robert Bell is usually on guitar but tonight it’s Patrick Harrison on accordion. Perhaps making it more French, Maud suggests. Oolala! Cap off the evening in St Paul where the Jana Nyberg Group makes its Artists Quarter debut. Coming off their annual Door County tour and a coveted spot in the Twin Cities Jazz Festival’s library preview series, the JNG is led, of course, by vocalist/flautist Jana Nyberg, who covers everything from songbook standards to 60s pop hits and grungy blues. And her band, including trumpeting husband Adam Meckler, fits her arrangements perfectly.

Charmin and Shapira
August 16. Another night to hit the major clubs back to back:  At the Dakota, the great duo Charmin (Michelle) and (Joel) Shapira augments their collaboration with sax (Dave Brattain), bass (Tom Lewis) and drums (Nathan Norman), the same configuration that supported their latest recording, Dawning and Daylight.

Chris Lomheim
Nearly every year, pianist Chris Lomheim pays homage to chief muse Bill Evans, celebrating the legend’s birthday with an evening of mostly Evans and Evans-influenced piano trio music at the Artists Quarter. This year he’s joined by Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein…. shades of Evans’ most harmonious trios. Nearly all modern-day pianists claim some allegiance to Evans, but Lomheim brings Evans back to life without stooping to imitation.

More Jazz
The Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar is now up and running on the Jazz Police home page ( Musicians and promoters should send gig information to Thanks to Don Berryman and Lena Kobett for taking on this tedious but important task! Listen to KBEM and KFAI radio for updates, announcements and interviews. More jazz this week:

Friday, August 10. The Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Thomas Bruce with Phil Mattson and Steve Pikal at The Lexington; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley at the Icehouse

Zack Lozier
Saturday, August 11. Zack Lozier Trio at Harriet Brewing (3 pm); Jeanne, Patty and Linda Peterson at The Lexington; Joel Shapira, solo guitar at Ingredients Café; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D’Amico Kitchen; Zacc Harris Quartet at Harriet Brewing

Sunday, August 12. Mary Louise Knutson, brunch at Eat Street Social; Connie Evingson and the Phil Aaron Quartet at the Dakota; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; River Falls Cultural Project with Steve Kenny at Emma’s Bar (River Falls); Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom

Monday, August 13. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, August 14. Cory Wong Quartet at the Artists Quarter (7 pm); Cedar Ave Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at Driftwood CharBar

Wednesday, August 15. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, Artists Quarter (7 pm); Robb Henry Trio at the Red Stag

Coming Soon!
·         August 17-18, Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz, Eric Gravatt at the Artists Quarter
·         August 18, Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival (Nicollet Commons Park)
·         August 18, Jake Baldwin Quartet at the Dakota (late night)
·         August 18, Dorothy Doring at The Lexington
·         August 20, Erin Bode at the Dakota
·         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 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)
Esperanza Spalding : Radio Music Society at the State Theater

(All photos by Andrea Canter)