Friday, September 28, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, September 28 – October 4

Esperanza Spalding brings "Radio Music Society" to the State Theater

© Andrea Canter

It looks like a fine fall weekend, perfect weather for those summer's end chores, raking the first round of leaves, and planting bulbs. But don't overdo it--save some energy for live jazz, in all shapes and sizes. And October gets off to a boppin' start with some hot music throughout the week.

Highlights This Week

Dan Musselman
September 28. Dan Musselman has been earning a spot in the area's Most Wanted Pianists list since finishing studies at McNally Smith about four years ago. Now teaching at his alma mater, Musselman has proven himself as a creative soloist, accompanist, composer and bandleader, working with the likes of Rachel Holder, Cory Wong, and most recently with Brazilian talents in Viva Brasil. Dan brings an exciting young quartet to the Late Night at the Dakota series tonight (11:30 pm), featuring one-time schoolmate Hermon Mehari on trumpet, Andrew Foreman on bass and Zach Schmidt on drums. Mehari should hold special attention. A former protege of Bobby Watson, Mehari won top honors in the 2008 National Trumpet Competition and runner up in the 2010 International Trumpet Guild's improv competition. 

Bryan Nichols
September 28-29.  It's been a few months since Bryan Nichols pulled his heavy-duty quintet together, so expect a far-flung reunion when the gang gathers at the Artists Quarter this weekend. Featuring the double sax fireworks of Michael Lewis and Brandon Wozniak, and with Erik Fratzke on bass and JT Bates on drums, Bryan promises some of the compositions he wrote for his debut CD, Bright Places as well as some more recent works and "a few surprises." Well, anytime these guys get together, there's a surprise around every note.

Arne Fogel
More sublime music can be found at The Lexington this weekend as the jazz series continues under curator Arne Fogel. Fogel himself takes the "stage" Friday night (in the more intimate South Room), most likely in the company of Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal, while on Saturday it's Connie Evingson squeezing a quartet into the music space, with Adi Yeshaya on keys, Gordy Johnson on bass and Dave Karr on sax. Connie's latest CD, Sweet Happy Life, just got a terrific review in Jazz Times (October issue).

September 30. Singers dominate this Sunday. If you missed Maud Hixson and Jason Richards' duo at St. Barney's last spring, here's another opportunity on a larger stage. "We'll Be the Same As We Started" is their tribute to the great team of Steve Lawrence and Edie Gormet. The two voices syn together perfectly. And it's a matinee at the Bloomington Center for the Arts (Schneider Theater), leaving plenty of time to add another event in the evening. 

Gregg Marquardt
If the music of the great crooners of the 20th century (and a couple of the more adventurous of the new century) sounds like a great way to end the weekend, come down to the Artists Quarter for an early evening with "Men With Mics." The first of the Twin Cities Jazz Society's concert season ("Jazz From J to Z"), the men in this case are Gregg Marquardt, Reeves Cary and Dan Ristrom, sharing the mics as they present the music of the great male voices of jazz, from Louis Armstrong to Frank Sinatra to Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. And with a 5 pm start, it will be an early night for those facing work or school on Monday morning. (Students, this is a great deal, only $5 with a school ID!) 

If Top 40 radio sounds like an odd context for Esperanza Spalding, think again. The inventive bassist/singer/composer follows up her Chamber Music Society  project with Radio Music Society, a funk-, rock- and hip-hop-infused tribute to pop radio. Presented by the Dakota but down the street at the State Theater, this show features core ensemble talents, Leo Genovese on piano and the great Teri Lyne Carrington on drums, and a large cast including horns, percussion, and more.  Noted Washington Post critic Mike Joyce of the 2012 CD, “Radio Music Society reveals her pop instincts, jazz sensibilities and social awareness with ingenuity.”

Chris Lomheim
October 1. It's about time pianist Chris Lomheim led a trio gig at Jazz Central! One of the most lyrically endowed musicians in the Twin Cities, Lomheim has a special affinity for Bill Evans, but his own compositions and his takes on bebop favorites expand his palette well beyond "Waltz for Debby." 

Jana Nyberg and Adam Meckler 

October 2. You can't help but like the Jana Nyberg Group. In addition to putting some of the most talented young artists on the same stage (singer/flautist Jana, trumpeter Adam Meckler, guitarist Evan Montgomery, bassist Matt Peterson, drummer Zach Schmidt), they have so darn much fun! At the Artists Quarter tonight, you are likely to hear some great songbook standards, ballads, and a few pop classics as well as some original tunes.

October 4. Big night at the Artists Quarter. The early show at 7 pm (no cover) features the UW-Eau Claire student ensemble, Malonious Thunk, part of the TCJS Young Artists Series. This band is led by drummer Mike Malone, featuring original compositions and likely some Monk! Stick around, prime time features the CD Release party for pianist Larry McDonough and saxophonist Richard Terrill. Their duo recording, Solitude, features both covers and original material, some previously recorded by Larry solo or with his quartet.  The piano/sax collaboration is elegant and ear-catching.

Maud Hixson
If heavenly bodies are more your thing, you can't do better than a night at the Como Planetarium, gazing at the moon and listening to the spell-binding harmonies of Maud Hixson and Dean Magraw. They reprise their summer show, "The Moon Belongs to Everyone," with narration provided by a real astronomy expert who points out features of the moon and stars while Maud and Dean mine a repertoire of songs with lunar themes. Moonlight becomes them.

More Jazz, Every Night
Keep up with live jazz in the Twin Cities -- visit the Jazz Police calendar, KBEM and KFAI radio, and you might even find jazz listed in the Strib or Pioneer Press! More suggestions: 

Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek
Friday, September 28. Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at The Wine Market; Maud Hixson and Dan Chouinard at Franco Fete at Our Lady of Lourdes Church (Minneapolis); Lila Ammons with Thom West at Three Crows; Patty Peterson and Friends at Bunkers

Saturday, September 29. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Arne Fogel at Ingredients Cafe; Maud Hixson and Vincent Rose at Parma; Parisota Hot Club at Loring Pasta Bar

Sunday, September 30. Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, October 1. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Sophia Shorai at the Dakota; Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, October 2. Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog; Cory Wong Quartet at the Artists Quarter (7 pm); Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's; Bill Simenson Big Band at Jazz Central; Todd Clouser and Bryan Nichols at Cafe Maude

Wednesday, October 3. Connie Evingson, Jazz in the Lounge at the Womens Club of Minneapolis; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Brian Grivna  Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Charanga Tropicale at the Icehouse

Thursday, October 4. Anton/Gravatt/Schimke/Nelson at the Icehouse.

Coming Soon!

October 5-6, Babatunde Lea Quartet at the Artists Quarter 

October 6, Wayne Bergeron with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center

October 10, Red Planet at the Artists Quarter

October 12-13, Ari Hoenig Trio with Bill Carrothers and Chris Bates at the Artists Quarter

October 13, Connie Evingson, Jazz @St. Barney’s (St. Barnabas Arts Center, Plymouth)

 October 13, Atlantis Quartet, 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 18, Todd Clouser Quartet at the Artists Quarter

October 19-20, Dave King Trio with Bill Carrothers and Billy Peterson, CD Release at the Artists Quarter

October 23, Kurt Elling at the Dakota

October 26-27, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at the Artists Quarter

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

Dave King, CD Release at the Artists Quarter, October 19-20