Friday, August 16, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 16-22

Jake Baldwin,  prime time slot at the Dakota on Monday
© Andrea Canter

Those “dog days” of summer might be back, but it’s the “cats” of live jazz that keep me going as we hurtle toward Labor Day Weekend.  This weekend brings Maud Hixson back to Parma, Chris Bates’ Red 5 back to the Artists Quarter, the Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet back to the Black Dog, and the vocal duo of Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears back to the Dakota. Veteran saxophonist Dave Brattain, never heard often enough, has back to back gigs as headliner early in the week, while young lion trumpeter Jake Baldwin gets his first prime time gig at the Dakota after pulling Late Night duties for the past few years.

Big Gigs This Week

Maud Hixson
Friday, August 16. Last month was my first evening at Parma in Bloomington, and it was a great introduction with the opportunity to enjoy Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson as well as some mighty fine dinner options in the bar/lounge. With Maude’s always-expanding treasure chest of magical songs and her cohorts’ serious comping chops, tonight brings another chance to get acquainted with a cozy new venue or to just come back and try something new on the menu. And most likely on the set list.

Speaking of chops, you can hear a couple talented improvisers at the Black Dog when the Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet to stir the musical pot. This is the ensemble’s home turf – and it is a small piece of real estate so come early, enjoy a pizza or one of the Dog’s great sandwiches and bar selections.

Chris Bates
Friday-Saturday, August 16-17. It was just about a year ago that Chris Bates’ Red 5 released its first recording (New Hope) to wide acclaim, and they have performed rather infrequently over the past year. Not surprising, given the band is filled with some of the busiest musicians on the planet, from bassist Bates and drummer/brother JT to the hornline of Zack Lozier, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Thomson. This weekend, Thomson was only available Saturday, so rising star Nelson Devereaux will ably fill in on Friday. What that really means is that you need to plan to come to the AQ both nights!

Dennis Spears
Saturday, August 17. Over 25 years ago, a vocal ensemble of stirring young voices was launched by pianist Sanford Moore. Dubbed Moore By Four, the group is still going strong although the singers individually have gone on to stellar careers of their own. It’s a treat when even a pair of MB4 voices come together these days, and Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears are surely among the best vocal pairings in this or any other town. They bring their individual and collective charms to the Dakota for one volcanic Saturday night.

Jake Baldwin and Nelson Devereaux
Monday, August 19. He’s paid his dues, earned his degree, and pushed his horn through a big handful of Late Night at the Dakota gigs. Now trumpeter Jake Baldwin gets to bring his quintet to the Dakota stage in prime time. “I'm really excited to finally be playing at a time when most of the world is awake,” says Jake. Not that one could easily sleep through a Jake Baldwin set. The 2013 graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and 2011 finalist in the International Trumpet Guild Competition has been performing around the Twin Cities since his days at Minnetonka High School, when he spent two years with the Dakota Combo and several youth-directed bands. His band on Monday night “is essentially Courageous Endeavors plus me,” he notes—Nelson Devereaux on saxes, Joe Strachan on piano, Brian Courage on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums, all frequent cohorts in the past few years. Come early. Stay awake.

Dave Brattain
Down river at Jazz Central, saxophonist and high school band director Dave Brattain takes the lead with Tanner Taylor and Mac Santiago, trying out new music and inviting all-comers to jam after the first set. Just another night of unpredictable music at the musicians’gallery. And if you miss Dave tonight….

Will Kjeer
Tuesday, August 20. Dave Brattain gets little rest as he comes to the Artists Quarter tonight hot off his gig at Jazz Central. This newly, if accidentally, formed quartet brings together veterans Brattain and drummer Kenny Horst with young bass master Brian Courage and exceptional and exceptionally young pianist (16!), Will Kjeer. Will is fast becoming a veteran himself, handling the keys weekly for Steve Kenny and the Bastids and turning up at other gigs around town.

And back at Jazz Central, the heat will be turned up a few notches for the Doug Haining/Scott Agster Explosion on Big Band Night. The air conditioning will be running full blast to keep thing comfortable underground, and the 18 musicians spilling into the audience will keep things from getting too comfortable! Modern big band, as good as it gets in as intimate a space as humanly possible.

Pete Whitman
Wednesday, August 21. We usually catch Pete Whitman in his X-Tet or sideman duties with JazzMN or smaller ensembles, so it is a treat to enjoy him in a leading role with just a couple cohorts. Pete is in the catbird seat at Jazz Central tonight, and it promises to be a night of exciting modern jazz. Across town at the Artists Quarter, the brass-heavy Snowblind returns with new music and plenty of energy—Adam Rossmiller, Scott Agster, Shilad Sen, Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy.

Retro Swing Sisters
And if you have a yearning for some old-time swinging girl duos, check out the dance floor and expecially the music at the Eagles Club with Retro Swing Sisters, aka Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie. Recently on stages from the Landmark atrium to Jazz Central, Maryann and Rhonda have a growing book of the world’s most beloved tunes from (mostly) the Swing Era, which they deliver with charm, wit, and of course, a lot of classy swing, solo and together.

More Jazz, Every Night

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. TCJS Jazz Notes lists gigs monthly. A few more gigs of note:

Friday, August 16. Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano early evening at the Black Dog; Tanner Taylor and James Buckley, early evening at the Icehouse; Brio Brass in Sounds of MN, Ettinger Field (South St Paul)

Saturday, August 17. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Tanner Taylor and James Buckley, early evening at the Icehouse; Lila Ammons Quintet at Honey; East Side at Hell’s Kitchen; Jon Pemberton Trio at Loring Pasta Bar

Jerry O'Hagan and Orchestra
Sunday, August 18. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria’s; Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at the Medina Ballroom (2 pm); The Steeles at the Dakota

Monday, August 19. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, August 20. Patty and the Buttons at Café Maude (Penn Av); Cory Wong Quartet, early show at the Artists Quarter

Wednesday, August 21. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Zacc Harris Trio at Café Maude (Penn Av); Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen; Midnight Serenaders at Centennial Lakes Amphitheater; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early show at the Artists Quarter

Thursday, August 22. Patty and the Buttons at the Dakota; Connie and Herb at The Bean (Andover); Swingbeat Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; Faye Lewis and Tanner Taylor at Jazz Central; Dave Karr Quartet at the Artists Quarter

Coming Soon

. August 23-24, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter

. August 24, Freedom Jazz Festival, Martin Luther King Park

. August 27, Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Artists Quarter

. August 27-28, Jeff Lorber at the Dakota

. August 29, Ben Sidran at the Dakota

. August 29, Nichola Miller and Tanner Taylor at Jazz Central

. August 30-31, JazzMN Orchestra at the Artists Quarter

. September 4, Nancy Harms CD Release at the Dakota

. September 5, Dave King Trio at the Dakota

. September 6-7, Concrete and Grass Festival at Mears Park

. September 6-7, Graydon Peterson CD Release at the Artists Quarter

. September 7, Dakota Combo Auditions at MacPhail Center for Music (12:30 – 4 pm)

. September 10, ETHEL Quartet at Macalester

. September 11, Trumpet Summit (Randy Brecker, Jeremy Pelt) at the Dakota

. September 14, Selby Ave Jazz Festival (Milton and Selby Av)

. September 16, Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Dakota

. September 18, JazzMN Orchestra Fundraiser at the Dakota

. September 19, Ravi Coltrane Quartet

. September 19-29, “Belmont Hotel” at the Southern Theater (jazz vocals, dance featuring Katie Gearty)

. September 20-21, Diane Witherspoon at the Artists Quarter

. September 23-24, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota

. September 27, Lila Ammons CD Release at Hell’s Kitchen

. September 27-28, Red Planet at the Artists Quarter

. September 28-29, Prism (Dave Holland, Craig Taborn, Kevin Eubanks, Eric Harland) at the Dakota

. October 1, Billy Cobham Spectrum 40 at the Dakota

. October 2-3, Gary Burton at the Dakota

. October 15-16, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. October 18-19, CD Release, Cory Wong at the Artists Quarter

. November 1, Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein at the Walker Art Center

. November 3, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Fundraiser featuring Lynne Arriale Trio at the Dakota

. November 12-13, José James at the Dakota

Capri Big Band headlines the Freedom Jazz Festival, August 24th at King Park