Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 1-7



Lynne Arriale at the Artists Quarter this weekend


© Andrea Canter



The weekend is off to an icy start but steamy hot jazz should warm you inside and out, with a glow to last through the week.



Highlights This Week

Friday-Saturday, February 1-2. One of the most lauded pianists of her generation and leader on 13 critically acclaimed recordings, Lynne Arriale makes a welcome return to the Twin Cities. The Motema recording artist (and one of my long-time favorites) played the AQ years back on Jackson Street and since has performed several gigs at the Dakota. After a decade heading one of the most telepathic trios since Bill Evans, Arriale set off in new directions, adding horns (including the great Randy Brecker) as well as going solo. Long-known for her melodicism and songful compositions, her more recent work has included inventive arrangements of pop and rock hits as well as intriguing originals. On both nights at the AQ, Lynne will be joined by dazzling bassist Adam Linz, with drum masters Jay Epstein (Friday) and Dave Schmalenberger (Saturday). 



Dean Magraw
Tuesday, February 5. “First Tuesdays” at the Black Dog continue under the musical leadership of Dean Magraw and Davu Seru, and tonight it’s an extra-special night with free-improvising Milo Fine on marimba. Fine plays just about everything, it seems, but I have yet to enjoy him on marimba which seems particularly well-suited for the free movements of his improvising heart. And in such inventive company as Magraw and Seru, this might be a major midwinter meltdown.



Over at the Artists Quarter, we can ponder, “What Would Monk Do?” What would have happened if eccentric genius Thelonious Monk had encountered four of the best Twin Cities jazzmen on the stage of one of the premiere jazz clubs in the Midwest? Trumpeter Steve Kenny, pianist Peter Schimke, bassist Billy Peterson and drummer Kenny Horst first asked that question in 2010, and will give us some idea of the answer when they reunite tonight.



Robert Everest
Wednesday, February 6. Brazilian rhythms can insulate us from the next winter blast, particularly when the leader of the pack is world music guru, guitarist Robert Everest. The new trio, Choro Borealis, promises to bring us music rooted in Africa and Europe, with clarinetist Pat O’Keefe and percussionist/Brazilian string specialist Tim O’Keefe joining Everest at the most logical venue for Brazilian music – the Jewish Community Center of St. Louis Park.



Phil Hey
Thursday, February 7. Always filled with inventive energy and new twists on the greatest jazz improvisers, the Phil Hey Quartet fills its almost-monthly slot at the Artists Quarter. With such talents as Dave Hagedorn, Phil Aaron and Tom Lewis as his long-time collaborators, Hey’s gigs keep the Twin Cities jazz scene nipping at the heels of the Big Apple in terms of innovation and savvy.




More Jazz Every Night (and Day)

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:



Brian Courage
Friday, February 1. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Todd Harper at the Black Dog; Steven Hobert and Brian Courage, dinner set at the Icehouse; Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; Vic Volare at Hell’s Kitchen; Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble at the West Bank School of Music



Saturday, February 2. Lila Ammons at Club Saratoga; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Keys Please (Carei Thomas, Todd Harper and Paul Cantrell) at Studio Z; John Devine at the Red Stag



Sunday, February 3. Patty and the Buttons at the Aster Café (brunch); Robert Everest at Maria’s Café (brunch); Mouldy Figs at Shamrocks (1 pm);  Keys Please at Studio Z (2 pm); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar



Monday, February 4. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Southside Aces at Famous Dave’s (Uptown); Neighborhood Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, February 5. Cory Wong Quartet, early show at the Artists Quarter; Café Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Capri Big Band at Edinborough Indoor Park; Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Triose at Café Maude (Penn Av)



Dave Brattain
Wednesdsay, February 6. Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, followed by Dave Brattain Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Connie Evingson with Tanner Taylor and Dave Karr, Jazz in the Lounge at the Minneapolis Woman’s Club



Thursday, February 7. Lee Engele with the Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Sophia Shorai at the Icehouse; Josh Granowski and Patrick Harison at Barbette




Coming Soon!

. February 8-9, Bryan Nichols Trio at the Artists Quarter

. February 9, Zacc Harris/Chris Thomson at Studio Z

. February 10, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota

. February 13, Boot Camp at the Artists Quarter

. February 13-14, Stacey Kent at the Dakota

. February 15-16, Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter

. February 16, Lease/Moriarty Quintet at Studio Z

. February 16, Todd Clouser Love Electric at the Icehouse

. February 20, International Guitar Night at the Dakota

. February 21, X-tet at the Artists Quarter

· February 22, Bill Frisell at Macalester (Janet Wallace Auditorium)

. February 22, Nachito Herrera at the Dakota

. Februrary 22, Kevin Washington Quintet at the Dakota (Late Night)

. February 22-23, Estaire Godinez at the Artists Quarter

. February 23, Patty Peterson at the Dakota

. February 27, Valve Meets Slide at the Artists Quarter

. March 8, Bobby Commodore 60th Birthday Bash at the Dakota

. March 8-9, Dave King Trucking Company at the Artists Quarter

. March 9, McCoy Tyner Quartet at the Hopkins Center for the Arts

. March 9, Randy Brecker with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center

. March 9, Fat Kid Wednesdays, Jazz at Studio Z

. March 10, Bruce Henry, PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center

. March 11, Charles Lloyd Sky Trio at the Dakota

. March 16, Mimi Fox at Sundin Hall (Hamline University)

. March 19, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota

. March 22-23, Atlantis Quartet at the Artists Quarter

. April 1, Bela Fleck and Chick Corea at the Dakota

. April 2-3, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota

. April 4-6, Eau Claire Jazz Festival, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus and beyond

· April 6, John Zorn 60th Birthday at Walker Art Center

. April 8-9, John Scofield Hollowbody Band with Mike Stern at the Dakota

. April 12, 2 Cellos at the Dakota

. April 13, Charanga Tropicale at Studio Z

· April 15-16, Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Dakota

. April 21, Red Planet at Landmark Center (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

· April 26, Craig Taborn at Walker Art Center

. April 28, Diana Krall (Glad Ragdoll Tour) at the State Theater

. May 19, Illicit Sextet at Jazz Central (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

. June 18-19, Reid Anderson at Music Space (SPCO), rescheduled from December

. June 27-29, Twin Cities Jazz Festival at Mears Park

. July 5-7, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Iowa City, U of I Pentacrest)

Tuck and Patti return to the Dakota, February 10th

















Monday, January 28, 2013

Heads Up! 2013 Iowa City Jazz Festival-- No Conflict With TCJF!



Iowa City Jazz Festival --Music for All Ages!

© Andrea Canter


It was so frustrating last year when two of my favorite jazz festivals collided – and all because the end of June and start of July fell on the same weekend! As an Iowa City native, I have always taken great pride in my hometown’s festival, at least since I stumbled upon it about ten years ago during a family visit. Now drawing around 25,000 on the first weekend of July, ICJF draws a bigger line-up every year.  Meanwhile, up north in the Twin Cities, the “hot summer” jazz festival has similarly been growing in attendees and national acts, centered around Mears Park in St Paul on the last weekend of June. Unfortunately in 2012, the TCJF dates were June 29-30. The ICJF dates were June 29-July 1. No choice – after all, I am based in the Twin Cities (for three times as many years as I lived in Iowa City) and handle photography for TCJF. And it was tempting to just drive down to Iowa City on Sunday to hear the Paul Motian tribute band with Matt Wilson and a stellar cast. Maybe a few more energetic souls from the Twin Cities did just that.



Fred Hersch
No problem in 2013. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival runs June 28-29. The Iowa City Jazz Festival runs July 5-7, one of the few times in its history that the full festival follows the 4th of July. I suspect fireworks will nevertheless be part of that Saturday night’s program. While we are awaiting the Twin Cities line-up, I’ve been cleared to release the list of headliners in Iowa City; schedule will follow soon. And you don’t want to miss this! It’s only a 5-hour drive south, four-lane all the way. You have a week between festivals to rest up before you enjoy:




Sachal Vasandani
  • Pharoah Sanders
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith
  • Christian Scott Quintet
  • J.D. Allen Trio
  • Philip Dizack Quartet
  • Sachal Vasandani
  • Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola
  • Fred Hersch Trio (closing set Sunday night)

City High Jazz Combo on the Youth Stage

And as always, Iowa City’s side stages, which only run in-between the main stage sets, will include the best of regional, college and youth ensembles, and an international array of concessions. Like the Twin Cities Festival, it’s all free.



Two consecutive weekends of great (and free) jazz for us here in the Upper Midwest. Surely that warrants fireworks. 

Jazz Fest and Fireworks in Iowa City

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 25-31



Kenny Horst celebrates #70!

© Andrea Canter



A week of all-star jazz begins with a birthday party at the Artists Quarter for owner Kenny Horst, continues into the week with a welcome return of the legendary Dave Holland Quintet, and a homecoming for one of the brightest lights in the vocal music sky, the eclectic/electric José James. That should be enough to warm our temps back to a comfortable level!



Highlights This Week

Kenny Horst
Friday, January 25. Self-effacing drummer and Artist Quarter owner Kenny Horst would never think to throw himself a birthday party. And undoubtedly it took some fast talking to convince him to let friends and family plan the celebration of his 70th. But the birthday party of the year honors one of the legends of the local jazz community, and the line-up of musicians and well-wishers is long and tall, requiring an earlier-than-normal start (at 8 pm) and likely going on into the wee hours. Through good times and downturns, through two relocations, the AQ has never wavered in its support of local jazz musicians, students, and curious listeners. Truly, this is now the only full-time club offering an exclusive jazz menu, cited in the February 2013 issue of Downbeat as the Twin Cities only venue on its list of the world’s “150 Top Jazz Clubs.”



Framework
Friday – Saturday, January 25-26. The inventive artists of Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) join forces with fellow members of the Bach Society of Minnesota for a second annual night of “Baroque ‘n Jazz” at Patrick’s Caberet. Bassist Bates has been hinting at some altered tunings. Altered or not, the collision of bop and fugue seems to intriguing to pass up. To quote Chris Bates on Facebook, “The Framework Boys with Harpsichord, Viola da Gamba, Violin, Soprano, and drinks.”



 Maud Hixson
Saturday, January 26.  Warming up for her New York recording project, songbird Maud Hixson presents “Skyscraper Wits” as this month’s installment of Jazz @St. Barneys (St. Barnabas Lutheran Church in Plymouth). With Rick Carlson and Gary Schulte providing their always-swinging accompaniment, Maud highlights the “tall” masters of Tin Pan Alley – Noel Coward, Lorenz Hart and Cole Porter. And who better than Maud—a singer who knows the lyrics inside out, no matter how silly or complicated.



Dave Holland, Steve Nelson
Sunday-Monday, January 27-28. It’s been a few years since the Dave Holland Quintet came to town. Too long to go without another dose of one of the world’s finest quintets. Maybe the finest? Anything bassist Holland touches turns to gold, but his mythical stature comes largely from this ensemble and his equally impressive Big Band (the core of which, not surprising, is the quintet). Although usual tenorman Chris Potter is taking a leave to focus on some other projects, his “sub” Mark Turner unquestionably is worthy of the gig, having built his reputation with the trio Fly. Joining Holland and Turner at the Dakota are long-time collaborators, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, trombonist Robin Eubanks, and drummer Nate Smith. I’ll let my friend Mario Carrington sum up the Dave Holland Quintet, from his review of the 2010 gig at the Dakota: “The musicality of their individual improvisations, which were impressive, was surpassed by their collective simultaneous improvisations that defined harmonic rapture… The manner in which Holland orchestrates his band is ultra cool and you could easily imagine him playing the part of the most interesting man in the world in those Dos Equis beer commercials—‘stay musical, my friends’...”



Jose' James
Tuesday, January 29. Just a couple miles apart, two young talents with unlimited futures take their very different musics to very different stages. I need to clone myself. At the Cedar Cultural Center, the man many consider to be the star male vocalist of the future returns home, celebrating a much anticipated new CD, No Beginning, No End. That title might describe the career of José James, although locally we know his beginning was at South High and Fireside Pizza. His end however will surely be in the stratosphere, and impossible to predict otherwise. Working hard to shed the label “jazz singer,” Jose’s current efforts intentionally defy classification- “no beginning, no end.” And with inspirational sources as diverse as Billie Holiday and Gil-Scot Herron, and collaborators as divergent as McCoy Tyner and Robert Glasper, the possibilities are endless.



Adam Meckler Orchestra
Across campus and down Central Avenue to Jazz Central, it’s the monthly engagement of the Adam Meckler Orchestra, an 18-piece ensemble headed by one of busiest and most creative jazz minds in the Twin Cities. He’s not yet on the national radar but that seems just a matter of time and exposure for trumpeter/composer/bandleader Adam Meckler. Some of the most exciting young performers can be found on the bandstand tonight, and we can expect some new works as well as new arrangements. And you have not really experienced a big band until you sit with ten feet of the horn section! And no, you do not need ear plugs. This is an acoustic experience of the best kind.



And the veterans are on the scene tonight as well, with guitar wizard Dean Magraw and Friends at the Artists Quarter. Likely friends? Billy Peterson, Brandon Wozniak, Kenny Horst, Phil Aaron… who knows for sure? It will be very cool regardless. Dean can certainly mesmerize and audience all by himself.



Chris Lomheim
Wednesday, January 30. It’s always a good night for jazz when the Chris Lomheim Trio is on stage, and tonight they return to the Artists Quarter. Relative to area pianists, Chris is most influenced by the great Bill Evans, and his annual Evans tributes are always a treat. But his repertoire expands well beyond Evans, covering the canons of bebop, post bop and some original works as well. Come early for some energetic arrangements and playful exchanges with Steve Kenny and the Bastids.



Thursday, January 31. As happens almost monthly, the Artists Quarter tonight has a monopoly on top jazz musicians – ten of the best will be on stage (and in front of the stage) with the Pete Whitman X-Tet. Often building the sound of a big band with the finesse of a trio, the X-Tet guarantees an evening of intelligent, intriguing, glorious music.



More Jazz Every Night (and Day)

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, January 25. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Todd Harper at the Black Dog; St. Peter Street Stompers at the Eagles Aerie Club; Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; Joel Shapira at Hell’s Kitchen



Saturday, January 26. Sophia Shorai, brunch at Hell’s Kitchen; Century Jazz Festival with Ed Calle and Charmin & Shapira at Century College; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; How Birds Work at the Artists Quarter; Pigs Eye Jass Band at the Eagles Aerie Club;  Paul Harper Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; James Buckley and Bryan Nichols, dinner set at the Icehouse; Choro Borealis followed by Rhizosphere at the Black Dog



Sunday, January 27. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria’s Café; Maurice Jacox and Thom West at Eat Street Social (1 pm); Century Jazz Festival with Ed Calle and Charmin & Shapira at Century College; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Maurice Jacox and Friends at the Red Stag



Monday, January 28. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Brian Grivna at Jazz Central; Patty and the Buttons at the Red Stag



Vinnie Rose (Triose)
Tuesday, January 29. Milo Fine, Davu Seru and George Cartwright at the Black Dog; Cory Wong Quartet at the Artists Quarter (early show); Triose (Vinnie Rose) at Hell’s Kitchen



Wednesday, January 30. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza


Thursday, January 31. Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Wabasha Street Caves; Rhonda Laurie and Robert Bell at Barbette.



Coming Soon!

. February 1-2, Lynne Arriale Trio at the Artists Quarter

. February 6, Choro Borealis at the St. Louis Park JCC

. February 8-9, Bryan Nichols Trio at the Artists Quarter

. February 10, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota

. February 13-14, Stacey Kent at the Dakota

. February 15-16, Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter

. February 16, Lease/Moriarty Quintet at Studio Z

. February 16, Todd Clouser Love Electric at the Icehouse

· February 22, Bill Frisell at Macalester (Janet Wallace Auditorium)

. February 22-23, Estaire Godinez at the Artists Quarter

. March 8, Bobby Commodore 60th Birthday Bash at the Dakota

. March 9, McCoy Tyner Quartet at the Hopkins Center for the Arts

. March 9, Randy Brecker with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center

. March 9, Fat Kid Wednesdays, Jazz at Studio Z

. March 16, Mimi Fox at Sundin Hall (Hamline University)

. March 19, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota

. April 1, Bela Fleck and Chick Corea at the Dakota

. April 2-3, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota

. April 4-6, Eau Claire Jazz Festival, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus and beyond

· April 6, John Zorn 60th Birthday at Walker Art Center

. April 8-9, John Scofield Hollowbody Band with Mike Stern at the Dakota

. April 12, 2 Cellos at the Dakota

. April 13, Charanga Tropicale at Studio Z

· April 15-18, Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Dakota

. April 21, Red Planet at Landmark Center (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

· April 26, Craig Taborn at Walker Art Center

. April 28, Diana Krall (Glad Ragdoll Tour) at the State Theater

. May 19, Illicit Sextet at Jazz Central (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

. June 18-19, Reid Anderson at Music Space (SPCO), rescheduled from December

. June 27-29, Twin Cities Jazz Festival at Mears Park

. July 5-7, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Iowa City, U of I Pentacrest)

Lynne Arriale, coming to the Artists Quarter Feb 1-2














Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 18-24



Snowblind at the Artists Quarter
 © Andrea Canter

Baby, it’s cold outside, but we have our jazz to keep us warm! And on the move, given the number of venues offering temptations this week. The weekend starts off with another local CD release party; one of the greatest jazz singers of all time stops in Minneapolis Sunday night; and as always, there’s one gig after another throughout the week.



Highlights This Week

Dorothy Doring
Friday, January 18. Two veteran performers, one a long-time resident, one a recent transplant, join forces to highlight the songwriting magic of Duke Ellington, celebrating the release of their duet recording at the Artists Quarter. Vocalist Dorothy Doring and pianist/arranger Phil Mattson found plenty of magic in the songs that Duke wrote with Billy Strayhorn and others, and those who have heard Dorothy’s “big voice” might be surprised by the gentility of Compositions by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. With Phil’s tasteful comping, Dorothy brings her softer side to the recording, although she notes that the CD Release Party will have a more diverse playlist.



Reid Kennedy of Snowblind
Saturday, January 19. Often a mid-week gig, the brass ensemble Snowblind plays a rare weekend show at the Artists Quarter. Comprised of a handful of rising stars (Shilad Sen, Scott Agster, Adam Rossmiller, Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy), Snowblind features playful and energetic original compositions and some inventive reworkings of great jazz covers. Each of these musicians keeps busy with a long list of other projects, but when they come together, brass is boss!



Sunday, January 20. NEA Jazz Master and 17-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett makes a rare Twin Cities appearance at the State Theater. And if you don’t already have tickets, you may be out of luck. Dubbed “the best in the business” by Frank Sinatra, Bennett’s career seems to have peaked twice.. and the second peak is a high plateau of the past 2 decades. Now 86, Bennett continues to tour and record with no plans for retirement.



Brian Courage
Monday, January 21. I loved the name of this band from its debut gig. Courageous Endeavors is an ensemble of some very young, very talented jazzmen, including recent Lawrence U graduate Brian Courage on bass and his “Endeavoring” mates, Nelson Devereaux on sax, Joe Strachan on piano, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. All in their early 20s, these guys define the next decade of jazz in the Twin Cities.



Tuesday, January 22. I am not going to try to define José Feliciano as a jazz musician, but let’s just say that anyone with some affinity for guitar knows that his gig  at the Dakota is both rare and very special. Now in his mid-60s, Feliciano continues to dazzle no matter what language or style.



Miguel Hurtado
Wednesday, January 23. You can hear one of the fastest rising stars in area jazz when Miguel Hurtado appears in a second configuration this week, this time leading his own quartet at the Artists Quarter. The Manhattan School of Music trained drummer has been hanging out with the best lately, including Jeremy Walker’s Boot Camp and with Walker, Kelly Rossum and Michael O’Brien. Heavy company but Miguel is clearly ready for the challenge. And he’s already proven to be steady in the driver’s seat.



Thomas Bruce
Thursday, January 24.  Singer Thomas Bruce came to gigging rather late – in his 50s. But his roots ran deep, brother of the late Roberta Davis and uncle of Moore by Four’s Yolande Bruce. A hairdresser by day, Thomas gets out often in the evening, polishing his tenor chops that at times sound uncannily like Chet Baker. Tonight he pairs up with pianist Phil Mattson for a sublime evening at Jazz Central Studios, part of the weekly Vocalists series.



More Jazz Every Night

Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Police and KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, January 18. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Maryann Sullivan at the Wine Market; Alden Ikeda Trio at Café Maude (Loring Park); Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; James Buckley and Bryan Nichols, dinner set at the Icehouse; Kavanessence at 318 Cafe;  Paul Renz’ Caterwaul and Night Owl Band at the Riverview Wine Bar



Sophia Shorai
Saturday, January 19. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Phil Aaron and Chris Bates, dinner set at the Icehouse; Maryann Sullivan at the Eagles Aerie Club; Lila Ammons Jazz Quintet at Honey; Alden Ikeda Trio at Café Maude (Loring Park); Sophia Shorai at the Red Stag



Sunday, January 20. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria’s Café; Mouldy Figs at Mainstreet Bar and Grill (Hopkins); Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Dan Musselman Trio at the Red Stag



Monday, January 21. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse (Embezzler with Metzger, Linz and Bates); Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave’s (Uptown)



Tuesday, January 22. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and Friends at the Artists Quarter; Haining/Agster Explosion at Jazz Central



Wednesday, January 23. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early set at the Artists Quarter; Connie Evingson at the Dakota



Thursday, January 24. Cassondra Lea CD Release at the Artists Quarter; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at the Red Stag; Emily Davis and Robert Bell at Barbette



Coming Soon!

. January 25, Kenny Horst’s 70th Birthday Bash at the Artists Quarter

. January 26, How Birds Work at the Artists Quarter

. January 26, Maud Hixson, Jazz @St Barneys

· January 27-28, Dave Holland Quintet at the Dakota

. January 29, José James at the Cedar

. January 29, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Jazz Central

. January 31, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet at the Artists Quarter

. February 1-2, Lynne Arriale Trio at the Artists Quarter

. February 8-9, Bryan Nichols Trio at the Artists Quarter

. February 10, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. February 13, Jeremy Walker's Boot Camp at the Artists Quarter

. February 13-14, Stacey Kent at the Dakota

. February 15-16, Bill Carrothers at the Artists Quarter

. February 16, Lease/Moriarty Quintet at Studio Z

. February 16, Todd Clouser Love Electric at the Icehouse

· February 22, Bill Frisell at Macalester (Janet Wallace Auditorium)

. February 22-23, Estaire Godinez at the Artists Quarter

. March 9, McCoy Tyner Quartet at the Hopkins Center for the Arts

. March 9, Randy Brecker with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center

. March 9, Fat Kid Wednesdays, Jazz at Studio Z
. March 16, Mimi Fox, Minnesota Guitar Society at Sundin Hall,  Hamline

. March 19, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota

. April 1, Bela Fleck and Chick Corea at the Dakota

. April 2-3, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota

· April 6, John Zorn 60th Birthday at Walker Art Center

. April 8-9, John Scofield Hollowbody Band with Mike Stern at the Dakota

. April 12, 2 Cellos at the Dakota

. April 13, Charanga Tropicale at Studio Z

· April 15-18, Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Dakota

. April 21, Red Planet at Landmark Center (TCJS Jazz From J to Z)

· April 26, Craig Taborn at Walker Art Center
. April 27, Eric Marienthal with the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center

. April 28, Diana Krall (Glad Ragdoll Tour) at the State Theater

. June 18-19, Reid Anderson at Music Space (SPCO), rescheduled from December

. June 27-29, Twin Cities Jazz Festival at Mears Park

. July 5-7, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Iowa City, U of I Pentacrest)


Jose' James, coming to The Cedar on January 29





With Acts Like Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac and Willie Nelson, Jazz Should Be More Popular




© Andrea Canter

Jazz is dead. Jazz is too cerebral. Jazz doesn’t sell. I can’t figure it out. The biggest names in the music business are performing at “jazz clubs” and “jazz festivals.” How can it be that jazz is not more popular these days?

I just got a promotion for the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, held in mid-spring.  The promo carries a poster-like image of festival headliners—Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Widespread Panic, Daryl Hall and John Oates, Frank Ocean, Willie Nelson, Maroon 5. Reading below the image, there’s a more complete listing, including B.B. King; Earth, Wind and Fire; Phoenix; Little Big Town….  If you keep scrolling you find George Benson, Dianne Reeves, Joshua Redman, Stanley Clarke and George Duke, Wayne Shorter. Apparently not enough of a draw to list as “jazz festival” headliners but at least they will be on the schedule. Jazz fans will find them. And who knows, maybe the expected hoards jamming the park to hear Billy Joel will somehow find themselves drawn to a Wayne Shorter set. I guess this is the new strategy to revive interest in jazz?  Maybe it will work. Heck, I would even stop by to hear Billy Joel enroute to Wayne’s set.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jazz Face: Omer Avital and His Dancing Bass





© Andrea Canter

When I think about my favorite bassists (and I seem to have many these days), it’s more than their rich tones and digital dexterity that wins me over. My favorite bassists, at least those playing upright double bass, are also dancers. Their sound seems to come as much from a physical bond with the instrument as a musical one, a partnership that reflects a mutual choreography. Bassists tend to hug and caress their instrument as much as pluck and bow, sometimes swaying or twisting as if on a dance floor.

The imagery of dance partners is most apparent in the artful music of Omer Avital, the native Israeli bassist/oud player who is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after and admired musicians in New York and beyond. Loaning his skills to bands led by the likes of Kenny Garrett, Wynton Marsalis, Avishai Cohen and Lynne Arriale, Avital has also surfaced as a powerhouse bandleader, leading a number of projects including his Band of the East which performed last week in St. Paul at the Jewish Community Center. (At least once per year, the JCC becomes the best jazz club in town, typically bringing in top Israeli artists who are elevating the practice of “American” jazz.)

We were treated not only to a mesmerizing two hours of stunning improvisation and group collaboration, we also witnessed the most joyful interaction between artist and instrument. Avital shows no restraint in his love of his bass, and he literally dances on stage, his fingers flying across the strings while his entire body twists and turns as if coaxing more and more sound, not only from his bass, but from his cohorts as well.

If there is a true klezmorim in jazz, his name is Omer Avital. Every song is a dance in celebration of life.