Friday, September 21, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, September 21-27

Chick Corea and Gary Burton, coming to the Dakota September 26-27
 © Andrea Canter

Old lions. Young tigers. A legendary duo. It’s all here in the Twin Cities this weekend and into the new week. Out in Washington, DC, the Monk Institute’s annual international competition turns to drums for the first time in 20 years, meaning a big handful of the top under-30 drummers will duke it out for a serious cash prize and recording contract. But not all of the hot young drum talent is on the East Coast this weekend—we have Miguel Hurtado right here. 
But the real supernova this week passes over the Dakota when Chick Corea and Gary Burton celebrate 40 years of collaboration.

Jazz Highlights, This Week
Bob Sheppard
Weekend, September 21-22. One of the great sax voices of the West Coast, Bob Sheppard comes to town for two nights at the Artists Quarter. Based in Los Angeles, the Eastman School of Music graduate has appeared on countless movie and television soundtracks and has enjoyed associations with Chick Corea’s Origin, the Peter Erskine Trio, Joni Mitchell, Freddie Hubbard, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Elvis Costello, Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves. He’s appeared with Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan, and most recently has toured with Herbie Hancock. His arsenal includes tenor, alto and soprano sax, flute, piccolo, clarinet and bass clarinet.  Bob will also be leading clinics for the MacPhail/McNally Smith Saxophone Day on Saturday at McNally, which is open to the public.

Gary Schulte
Put some swing in your weekend with Sidewalk Café, performing Friday night at the intimate and classy Aster Café down by the river on Main Street. With Reynold Philipsek on guitar, Gary Schulte on violin and Jeff Brueske on bass, they start where Django and Grappelli left off. Plus the Aster is a rather cool place for a Friday night, and a perfect fit for this music.  And if your tastes run totally outside, come inside to the Black Dog Friday night for Merciless Ghost, the avant garde trio headed by monster saxophonist George Cartwright, with Davu Seru on percussion and Josh Granowski on bass. They’re still celebrating the double album release of music recorded live at the Black Dog, Dog Times Two and Cat Times Three.

Jeff Brueske has a busy weekend. After the gig with Sidewalk Café, he crosses the river to rejoin Joann Funk for the return of their Saturday nights in the Lobby Bar of the St. Paul Hotel. Joann adds vocals to her piano, bringing bits of Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee and more to turn “lounge music” into sophisticated jazz. (And the Artists Quarter is an easy walk from the hotel –and you can still catch the late set after the Lobby Bar closes!)

Fat Kids at the Icehouse
Monday, September 24. The Icehouse in south Minneapolis is fast becoming the go-to hang for the young, the hip, and the multi-generational fans of creative music. JT Bates’ “Jazz Implosion” series on Monday nights features top ensembles, and tonight is one of the best, Fat Kid Wednesdays with Bates, Adam Linz and Michael Lewis. They tackle Ornette, Mingus, Coltrane and more, as well as their own compositions, but even the most familiar fare becomes new deconstructions with these wizards on stage. Come early, try something from the inventive menu, grab a table across from the stage and enjoy artistic freedom. 

Phil Aaron
Tuesday, September 25. Tuesdays at the Artists Quarter used to be reserved for B-3 Organ Night, but now it seems the AQ has gotten its Tuesday groove back with a series of ensembles typically including the names Peterson and Horst. This week Billy and Kenny are joined by the veteran of eloquence, pianist Phil Aaron. And you can warm up with the free opening set from young masterful guitarist Cory Wong and his quartet. It’s a great double header, home runs guaranteed. 

At Jazz Central tonight, the Big Band series continues with the newly formed, explosive ensemble headed by Doug Haining and Scott Agster, and filled with top big band musicians. Imagine sitting only a few feet from the trombones! There may be no other venue that will give you such an intimate big band experience (without blowing your ears off).

Miguel Hurtado
Wednesday, September 26. The Artists Quarter welcomes the birth of a new ensemble of young upstarts. Originally billed as the Miguel Hurtado Quartet, it's actually a new collaboration with Miguel on drums, Nelson Devereaux on saxes, Joe Strachan on keys and Brian Courage on bass. And what else? They are calling it Courageous Endeavors. Since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, South High alum Miguel has been tearing up trapsets all over town and proving himself to be a savvy bandleader as well. Joe is finishing studies at the U of M but keeps his hands in a variety of bands between classes. Nelson finished at the U of M a year ago, and is becoming more and more known as he leads his own trio, plays in the Adam Meckler Orchestra and more. Brian just finished his degree at Lawrence and wasted no time joining the list of first-call bassists around town.Come see a fiery young ensemble that ensures the vitality of modern jazz in the Twin Cities for years to come.

Wednesday-Thursday, September 26-27. One of the most eagerly anticipated gigs of the year, the Chick Corea-Gary Burton duo is on tour celebrating their 40-year collaboration and the release of Hot House. The pair has lost none of its sublime energy and graceful harmonizing over the decades, whether playing original compositions or eloquent arrangements of standards. I caught their set at the recent Detroit Jazz Festival and am eager for another dose, at the Dakota.

Thursday, September 27 (through 29). Sorry for those who read this earlier, but The New Trio, with drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, bassist Anthony Cox, and guitarist Brandon Ross, scheduled for the Icehouse, has been cancelled, or at least postponed due to illness. Stay tuned for hopefully a new date. 

More Jazz Every Night
Keep up with jazz in the Twin Cities with the live calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM, broadcasts on KBEM and KFAI, and sometimes, even in the daily newspaper! More suggestions:

Dennis Spears
Friday, September 21. Nichola Miller at Hell’s Kitchen; Rhonda Laurie and Joel Shapira at the Wine Market; Debbie Duncan at The Lexington; Lee Engele and James Allen at Pardon My French; Dennis Spears at the Dakota

Saturday, September 22. Mary Louise Knutson (solo) at The Marsh; Lee Engele and James Allen at the Red Stag; Charmin Michelle at The Lexington; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota

Sunday, September 23.  Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, September 24. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Evan Montgomery/Brian Courage Duo at Jazz Central

Tuesday, September 25. Benefit for Marriage Equity at the Dakota; Bud’s Brass Band at Café Maude

Wednesday, September 26. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids at the Artists Quarter (early show)

Thursday, September 27. Gypsy Mania at Hell’s Kitchen; Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter; Vicky Mountain and the Swing Beat Band at Wabasha Street Caves

Coming Soon!
·         September 28-29, Bryan Nichols Quintet at the Artists Quarter
·         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 4, Larry McDonough/Richard Terrill CD release, Artists Quarter
·         October 6, Wayne Bergeron with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
·         October 12-13, Ari Hoenig Trio with Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter
·         October 13, Connie Evingson, Jazz @St. Barney’s (St. Barnabas Arts Center, Plymouth)
·         October 13, Atlantis Quarter, Jazz at Studio Z
·         October 14, Steve Faison, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center
·         October 14-15, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
·         October 17, Bela Fleck and Marcus Roberts 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 5, Charlie Hunter at the Dakota
·         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
·         November 11, PipJazz Sundays Youth Showcase at Landmark Center
·         November 12-13, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
·         November 26-27, Karrin Allyson at the Dakota
·         December 7-8, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota
·         December 12-13, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
·         December 14-15, Reid Anderson, Jeff Ballard, SPCO, Liquid Music at SPCO Music Room
·         December 27-29, Bad Plus at the Dakota

Kurt Elling returns to the Dakota, October 23rd

All photos by Andrea Canter except Bob Sheppard (courtesy of the artist)