Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, October 26-November 1

Maria Schneider Orchestra, coming to the Dakota October 30-31

© Andrea Canter

I think I saw snow mixed with this morning's rain. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are pretty much done, and we have an election to survive. Add to that, in the Twin Cities we now have both of our major classical orchestras locked out over stalled contract negotiations. The only solution--live music, wherever you can find it, and be advised that there are no area jazz ensembles locked out over salary disputes! If you find yourself with some open evenings, just trade in your Beethoven and Chopin for some Miles Davis and Bill Evans. Or whatever. There's plenty to choose from this week, including one of Minnesota's most acclaimed music makers, Maria Schneider. 

Big Gigs This Week  
Connie Evingson
Friday, October 26.  Lauded locally and nationally, vocalist Connie Evingson returns for a night at the Dakota, bringing her signature swing to a very wide-ranging repertoire, from the Gershwins to the Beatles, from bebop to gypsy jazz to samba. Her latest recording, Sweet Happy Life, celebrates the under-appreciated talents of songwriter Norman Gimbel. But whatever Connie sings, and with a band that includes Tanner Taylor, Dave Karr, Terry Burns, and Mac Santiago, you will have at least one evening of a "sweet happy life."

For a more casual, still classy evening, check out the dinner set at the Icehouse where pianist Peter Schimke and bassist Jeff Bailey will vye with table chatter for attention, but the effort will be worthwhile and you can't beat the "no cover" charge for music at this level. 

Eric Kamau Gravatt
Friday-Saturday, October 26-27. Since he "retired" from his day job at Lino Lakes, Weather Report veteran drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt has led Source Code, usually performing at the Artists Quarter where they will take the stage this weekend. Also touring regularly with McCoy Tyner, Gravatt and his powerhouse chops collaborate with vibes master Dave Hagedorn, bassist Ron Evaniuk, and pianist Gene Rush on interpretations of bop and post bop compositions. This isn;t the sort of music, or talent, that you can readily find in a midwest club for a $12 cover.

Just back from her latest boogie-woogie tour in Bavaria, vocalist Lila Ammons and her quintet play back to back gigs this weekend, Friday at Hell's Kitchen and Saturday at the Honey Lounge. In addition to her soulful vocals, Lila and company offer an entertaining evening complete with trivia quiz. She's back by veteran saxman Dean Brewington, bassist Bruce "Pooch" Heine, drummer Tim Zhorne, and up-and-coming pianist Ted Godbout.

Charmin Michelle
Monday, October 29. It's not a slow start to the week. At the Dakota, Charmin (Michelle) and (Joel) Shapira are back for Foodie Night (no cover), joined by the extended Charmin & Shapira band of Paul Harper (sax), Tom Lewis (bass) and Nathan Norman (drums).  They swing hard through the Great American Songbook and other popular fare, from Latin to Bop and more.  For the later evening, stop by the Icehouse for the return of Chris Bates' Red 5, his newly launched quintet that released its first recording in September. Playing original music, Bates and friends will help you sharpen your ears and wits for the week ahead.

Big band fans will delight in the appearance of the Army Jazz Ambassadors in the high tech auditorium of Farmington High School--and this is a free concert. The Ambassadors are one of the premiere military bands on the scene, playing charts arranged by band members at a level on par with any big band working today. An added treat will be Farmington HS band director Jeff Gottwig leading his Jazz Ensemble I through an opening set.

Bryan Nichols
Tuesday, October 30. It's the second of two Tuesday nights at the Artists Quarter with Dean Magraw, Bryan Nichols, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst. This quartet is stuffed with so much talent, they deserve a name! If modern big band is on your radar, the Adam Meckler Orchestra returns to Jazz Central for their almost-monthly gig. If you only think of big dance floors and vocal soloists when you think of big bands, come to Jazz Central and experience the big band sounds of modern jazz, acoustically presented in an intimate space.

Maria Schneider
Tuesday-Wednesday, October 30-31. The stage at the Dakota might seem too small for 17 musicians, but it has been done before and perhaps never this well as the Maria Schneider Orchestra comes to town. This might be the best Halloween treat you'll get! The Windom, MN native was here recently to conduct the St Paul Chamber Orchestra with Dawn Upshaw for a new recording, and to receive an honorary doctorate from the U of  M; now she's back with her Grammy-winning jazz orchestra in an uncommon appearance in a small club space. Not since Gil Evans and Bob Brookmeyer has a big band leader had such impact on the development of the art form.  Coming to town with Maria are such well-established talents as pianist Frank Kimbrough -- worth a night at the club in his own right.

Vicky Mountain
Thursday, November 1. Vocalists are in the spotlight tonight. Arne Fogel launches a new Thursday night series at Jazz Central, starting with his own gig tonight and presenting other area talents each week. In St Paul at the new Third Floor (in the old Vintage mansion), Vicky Mountain and guitarist James Allen will shower you with a wide range of songs as you sip at the very classy bar and try one of the chocolate creations from two flights down--Dr. Chocolate's Chocolate Chateau. So far jazz and chocolate are proving to be a perfect combination.

More Jazz Every Night 
There's always more music than you can hear. But check out the local calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM to find more. 

 . Friday, October 26. Trio Bossa Nova at the 318 Cafe; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien Hotel)

. Saturday, October 27. Leisure Valley at Cafe Maude (Loring Park); Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien Hotel); Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal at Parma; Gypsy Mania at the Red Stag

. Sunday, October 28. Donald Thomas Birthday Bash and Benefit with the Lincoln Berry Trio, at the Bay Street Grill and Pub; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom. 

. Monday, October 29. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Maryann Sullivan and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Pete Emblom at Jazz Central

. Tuesday, October 30. Cory Wong Quartet, early set at the Artists Quarter; Patrick Harrison Duo at Cafe Maude (Penn Av); Rahjta Ren and Scott Fultz at the Black Dog

. Wednesday, October 31. Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early show at the Artists Quarter, followed by AQ Halloween Party; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza;  Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Firebell at Cafe Maude (Penn Av); Robert Bell and Maud Hixson at Barbette

. Thursday, November 1. Erin Schwab at Hell's Kitchen;  Rhonda Laurie at Barbette  

Coming Soon!

·         November 2, Pat Moriarty and Phil Hey at the Black Dog
·         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 8, Maud Hixson at Jazz Central
·         November 8, JazZen at Third Floor
·         November 9-10, Patty Peterson, CD Release and Birthday Celebration at the Artists Quarter
·         November 10, Dave Karr Quartet at Studio Z
·         November 10, Anat Cohen at the Dakota
·         November 11, PipJazz Sundays Youth Showcase at Landmark Center
·         November 11, Nova Jazz Orchestra 20th Anniversary at the Artists Quarter
·         November 12-13, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
·         November 16, Donald Washington and Brad Bellows Quartet at the Black Dog
·         November 17, JazzMN Orchestra Tribute to New Orleans, Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
·         November 17, Sidewalk Café at Jazz @ St Barneys (St Barnabus Church)
·         November 19, Dorado Schmitt and the Gypsy All-Stars at the Dakota
·         November 25, Meshell Ndgeocello at the Dakota
·         November 26-27, Karrin Allyson at the Dakota
·         November 29, Dakota Combo (Young Artists Series) at the Artists Quarter
·         December 6, Maryann Sullivan CD Release at the Third Floor
·         December 7-8, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota
·         December 9, PipJazz Sundays Holiday Showcase at Landmark Center
·         December 12-13, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
·         December 14-15, Reid Anderson, Jeff Ballard, SPCO, Liquid Music at SPCO Music Room
·         December 21-22, A Hot Christmas (Lee Engele, Joan Griffith, Reynold Philipsek, Gary Schulte), Bloomington Center for the Arts Black Box Theater
·         December 27-29, Bad Plus at the Dakota
·         December 29, Peterson Family Holiday Concert at Hopkins Center for the Arts
·         December 28-30, Pat Mallinger at the Artists Quarter
·         January 12, Vicky Mountain, “Voice of Van Heusen” at the Black Box Theater, Bloomington
·         February 22, Bill Frisell at Macalester (Janet Wallace Auditorium)

Spiral Visions at Landmark Center, November 4

 All photos including Spiral Visions collage by Andrea Canter