Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 26-August 1



Babtunde Lea and his "troponga" at the Artists Quarter this weekend


© Andrea Canter



Yet another festival! This weekend marks the return of Dakota StreetFest with its eclectic round-up of local and visiting artists, competing with the Lowertown Roots Festival in St. Paul on what promises to be a relatively cool, dry and pleasant few days. Babatunde Lea brings his volcanic quartet to the Artists Quarter, Kermit Ruffins brings musical barbecue to the Dakota, and the week continues with the Adam Meckler Orchestra’s debut at the Artists Quarter and the inaugural gig in the new Jazz Police Young Artists Showcase at the AQ.



Big Gigs This Week

Babatunde Lea
Friday-Saturday, July 26-27. A couple years ago, a world renowned percussionist quietly slipped into the Twin Cities area and into the local jazz scene. But there is nothing quiet about Babatunde Lea’s drive to educate people of all ages about African percussion and its merger with American jazz, summed up in his own “troponga” – the fusion of African drumming and the standard trapset. A passionate educator as well as musician, Babatunde has reached students in metro schools with his captivating approach to rhythm, and anyone within earshot of one of his gigs will learn as well as enjoy. And Babatunde has wasted no time in identifying compatible cohorts – this weekend at the Artists Quarter, he will collaborate with another recent transplant, pianist Richard Johnson (Wynton Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Bobby Watson), internationally acclaimed bassist Anthony Cox, and one of the newer and brightest stars on the local scene, trumpeter Solomon Parham. It will definitely be Jazz School/Jazz Cool.



Dakota StreetFest
Saturday, July 27. Two free festivals of note for the diversity of the music: In downtown Minneapolis, Dakota StreetFest returns full force, with music between 10th and 12th Streets along Nicollet Mall from noon til dark. In addition to three outdoor stages, the Dakota club stage will offer an indoor respite from 4 pm when 93-year-old Irv Williams holds court with his trio (Peter Schimke and Billy Peterson). Earlier and outside, catch young jazzers (Twin Cities Jazz Workshop, Dakota Combo, PipJazz All-Stars); seasoned jazzers (Walter Chancellor, Rey Rivera, Cory Wong Quartet);  star vocalists Pippi Ardennia, Patty Peterson, Debbie Duncan and Sophia Shorai; some great “roots” artists (Como Avenue Jug Band, Sarah Morris, Kenneth Brian Band, Toki Wright, Kelley Hunt, Davina and the Vagabonds) and more; or finish your evening inside with Paul Metsa and Willie Walker and Nachito Herrera. There’s a lot more, and it is all free, inside and out.



CJ Chenier
Across the river in the festival-friendly Mears Park, it’s the annual Lowertown Roots Festival. Among headliners this year are a couple acts well known to jazz audiences, violinist Randy Sabien and zydeco king CJ Chenier. Music starts mid-afternoon and runs til dark,  and it’s all free. You can get an early start on Friday night at McNally Smith College of Music, with a square dance (and instruction) and jam sessions throughout the school complex.



Eric Gravatt
Another unique event down the street at Studio Z finds star drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt, an alum of McCoy Tyner and Weather Report, holding a rare drum clinic prior to a double-header featuring keyboardist Greg Inhofer’s Cockeyed Band with Gravatt, with David Gerald Sutton's ambient pop group The Electric String Quartet opening the night with music from their debut album The Vertical Horizon.



Sunday-Monday, July 28-29. Although he was not available early enough to don his Barbecue chef hat, New Orleans’s trumpeter and party leader Kermitt Ruffins will arrive at the Dakota in time for two nights of delightful NOLA style jazz. Ruffins not only delivers great music, but any gig transforms into a party from the first note.



Scott Agster
Monday, July 29. Trombonist Scott Agster appears monthly at Jazz Central with the Haining/Agster Explosion (big band), but tonight the young master appears in a much smaller context focusing on his talents as soloist, as the featured performer on the Monday Night series at Jazz Central. And you never know who will sit in.

Fat Kid Wednesdays has been a frequent attraction at the Icehouse as part of JT's Jazz Implosion, but tonight is the last time to see this inventive trio until November, as FKW and individual musicians' touring will keep them on the road for a while.


Adam Meckler
Tuesday, July 30. After more than a year holding down the last Tuesday slot of Jazz Central’s Big Band nights, the Adam Meckler Orchestra simply needed more space to accommodate a growing audience. With 18 musicians on stage, it will still be crowded at the Artists Quarter, but there’s more room for the audience to continue to expand, which is inevitable given the talents of Meckler and his band of mostly young lions. As always, the AMO concentrates on original works, mostly written by Meckler for this band. This is the start of a monthly “last Tuesday” gig schedule.

Wednesday, July 31. Milwaukee based OPUS, an icon of straight ahead and fusion jazz, celebrates 35 years of music making at the Artists Quarter. OPUS members include keyboardist Jim Sodke, guitarist Steve Lewandowski, saxophonist and flautist Curt Hanrahan, bassist, Larry Tresp , and drummer Brian Ford. The band has a long history of club, festival, and college performances, and was nominated in 20013 for the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award for “Best Jazz Group”.

Anthony Cox
Across town at Jazz Central, bassist Anthony Cox performs a too-rare gig. Cox has a lengthy resume including the great Dewey Redman, Stan Getz and Geri Allen. He was a part of Jeremy Walker’s Jazz Is Now, and recently debuted a new ensemble, Happy Spirits, which he brings into Jazz Central.


Thursday, August 1. The Jazz Police online magazine hosts its first Young Artists Showcase at the Artists Quarter at 7 pm. Approximately every other month, the showcase will feature a school or community ensemble of high school and college level performers. With no cover, this is an opportunity to interest young people in jazz and to get a whiff of what lies ahead for the future of jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond. Tonight, three South High grads reunite for an evening of new arrangements and original compositions—Joe Suihkonen on trumpet, Sam Wildenauer on bass, and Emerson Hunton on drums. Joe and Emerson will soon begin their second years of study at the Oberlin Conservatory; Sam has been working around town as a freelancer and free jazzer, sometimes seen with free jazz wizard Milo Fine.


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:



Irv Williams and Peter Schimke
Friday, July 26. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Chris Lomheim and Gordy Johnson at the Icehouse; Dennis Spears as Nat King Cole at Chanhassen Dinner Theater



Saturday, July 27. Dennis Spears as Nat King Cole at Chanhassen Dinner Theater;Rhizosphere at the Black Dog; Luke Polopnik at the Icehouse; Parisota Hot Club at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan with Arne Fogel, Patty Peterson and more, Wolf Park (St Louis Park); Maurice Jacox at Red Stag (Note music at Hotel Ivy canceled tonight due to Dakota StreetFest!)



Sunday, July 28. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria’s; Lucia Newell Quartet at All Saints ECLA (Cottage Grove); Off the Cuff at the Aster Café



Monday, July 29. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter



Tuesday, July 30. Cory Wong Quartet, early set at the Artists Quarter; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood; Nova Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central



Wednesday, July 31. Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early show at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Vital Organ at Hell’s Kitchen



Thursday, August 1. Vocal Night at Jazz Central; the Jana Nyberg Group at the Dakota



Coming Soon!

. August 3, Aakash Mittal Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota

. August 4, Aakash Mittal Quartet at the Icehouse
. August 9, Chris Speed Trio at the Dakota (Late Night)

. August 10, Todd Clouser and A Love Electric with Cyro Baptista at the Icehouse

. August 11, PipJazz Sundays Youth Salute at Landmark Center

. August 14, Jesse Stacken at Jazz Central

. August 16-17, Red Five at the Artists Quarter

. August 19, Jake Baldwin at the Dakota

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

. August 27-28, Jeff Lorber at the Dakota

. August 29, Ben Sidran at the Dakota

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

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

. September 19, Ravi Coltrane Quartet

. September 23-24, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota

. 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

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



Aakash Mittal Quartet, coming to the Dakota and Icehouse



























Thursday, July 25, 2013

Face the Music: Badi Assad and the Sleight of Voice



Badi Assad at the Dakota, July 23, 2013


© Andrea Canter



Back in 2005, Brazilian guitarist/vocalist Badi Assad toured throughout the universe with two iconic American guitarists, Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie. They landed in Minneapolis for a night at the Dakota. In addition to the guitar, I recall an odd tube-like “instrument” that Badi used to add another dimension to her already stunning music. But it was a guitar show and she was but one-third of the attraction. Eight years later, Badi returned to the Dakota with her own back-up team (drums and bass), and this time the focus was on the voice and the songs that have made her a pop/rock star in Brazil and beyond.  But it wasn’t her ethereal renditions of Tori Amos or modern Brazilian hits that really captivated my attention – her talents are indisputable but there are a lot of talented pop and rock singers out there, even those who bring along the added talent of guitar and/or piano.



Toward the latter part of the set, Badi mentioned that she might be described as part Tori Amos, part Bobby McFerrin. An odd combination, certainly. But a fair summation of her solo work at the Dakota as she gave us what can only be described as vocal magic. Like McFerrin and Theo Bleckmann, Badi is not content to merely “sing”. Like a saxophonist using circular breathing, or one of the reed players who manages to blow through two horns at once, Badi finds air in more than one place and creates simultaneously very distinct sounds—such as the percussive pops of McFerrin in harmony with longer, more voice-like tones. Add guitar and she is a one-woman orchestra. Already a commanding visual presence as she tilts back on her stool, long wavey hair flying, Badi creates sounds that literally seem to come from thin air.



And it isn’t a novelty. It’s musical. It’s spell-binding. It’s as much a new science as a new art form. It’s Badi-genics.



Where do those sounds come from? I have no idea. 

Maybe you can figure it out: see  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaBjldGi6kI&list=TLws4SD4_wAIQ
 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Live Jazz in the Twin Cities, July 19-25



Benefit for Jeremy Walker at the Dakota, July 25th


© Andrea Canter



As I write this, I’m listening to the KBEM “Upgrade A Thon”, 24 hours of live programming to help raise money for some essential technology upgrades at Minnesota’s only jazz radio station. One of the last in the country, for that matter. Some of today’s in-studio performers are on the A-List for jazz in the coming week—Laura Caviani (at the Artists Quarter) and Maud Hixson (at Parma).  The eclectic Badi Assad brings her unique Brazilian guitar to the Dakota, where there will be a star-studded benefit for composer, bandleader and jazz entrepreneur Jeremy Walker at the end of the week.



Big Gigs This Week

Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson
Friday, July 19. One of the newest “jazz venues” in the metro is Parma 8200, a new D’Amico spot in Bloomington boasting live jazz every Friday and Saturday night in the bar/lounge. The Benny Weinbeck Trio is firmly planted on Saturday nights (picking up where they left off at the former D’Amico Kitchen); on Fridays, there’s been a revolving cast of mostly vocalists. Tonight Maud Hixson, Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson return for a perfect end-of-the-week cool-down. Very likely we’ll get a few Mickey Leonard songs from Maud’s stunning new release, Don’t Let a Good Thing Get Away. Don’t let this gig get away, either.



Laura Caviani
Friday-Saturday, July 19-20. It’s always worth the cover when pianist Laura Caviani returns to the Artists Quarter, and this weekend she brings along two roaring young lions on the Twin Cities jazz scene, bassist Brian Courage and drummer Lars-Erik Larson. Of course the cover ($10) is pretty low anyway, but at any price, it will be a treat, especially given the promise of “new originals, old standards, and dipping into some new transcriptions.” 



Bryan Nichols
Saturday, July 20. I finally got to the “dinner show” at the Icehouse recently and highly recommend it for music, ambience and menu. Often a bass/piano combination, tonight it’s James Buckley and Bryan Nichols, two of the area’s most inventive musicians. Make a reservation that puts you in the stage area (between stage and bar) for good sight and sound, check out those short ribs and house-made ice creams, great bar list and enjoy. (Great solo and duo jazz every Friday and Saturday from 6:30 to about 10 pm, no cover.)



Badi Assad
Tuesday, July 23. Brazilian artist Badi Assad comes by her guitar chops naturally – her brothers Sergio and Odair tour as the Assad Brothers, recently dazzling a full house at the Dakota this past spring. You might remember Badi’s last appearance here – with John Abercrombie and Larry Coryell for an unforgettable guitar blowout at the Dakota in about 2005. She’s here on her own at the Dakota tonight.



Phil Hey
You can hit the early set at the Dakota and get to the Artists Quarter in plenty of time for Phil Hey and “Friends." With his quartet's pianist (Phil Aaron) unavailable, Phil has put together a "Harmolodic Night" with Chris Thomson, Pat Moriarty, Tom Lewis and Dave Hagedorn. This might be a one-off of the highest order or the birth of a new ensemble. Either way, don't miss it.




Graydon Peterson Quartet
Wednesday, July 24. Jazz Central reserves Wednesdays for an eclectic mix of area ensembles and improvisers. Tonight, it’s one of the fast-rising groups of youngish “veterans” – the Graydon Peterson Quartet, fresh off a Jazz Festival set at the Amsterdam last month. Bassist Peterson is also an accomplished composer; his cohorts are also multi-talented—trumpeter Adam Meckler, guitarist Vinny Rose, and drummer Adrian Suarez.


Ted Nash
Thursday, July 25. Former club owner (Brilliant Corners) Jeremy Walker launched Jazz Is Now! a couple years before he was forced to give up the saxophone due to a mysterious neurological ailment. Undaunted, Jeremy switched to piano and studied with some of the best in New York (Frank Kimbrough and David Berkman). He kept Jazz Is Now afloat, tested the waters in New York, returned to Minnesota with some stellar new projects (Boot Camp, Box Car, Seven Psalms), but that ailment continued to plague him, and finally he has been diagnosed with late stage Lyme Disease. Treatments are expensive, to say the least, and tonight Jeremy’s friends and colleagues will gather at the Dakota for a benefit to support his medical expenses. The level of music speaks volumes of the respect of our community for Jeremy – New York pals Ted Nash and David Berkman; Boot Camp (with Nash and Bryan Nichols on piano); internationally renowned bassist Anthony Cox with his Happy Spirits; singers from the Minnesota Opera; and writer/comic Joseph Scrimshaw. It will be an amazing night of music in honor of one of our amazing musical talents.



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. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, July 19. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Donald Washington/Brad Bellows Quartet at the Black Dog; Patrick Harison at the Icehouse; James Wallace at the Red Stag



Saturday, July 20. Twin Cities Jazz Workshop student concert at the Icehouse (1 pm); Nick Haas Trio, Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Pavel Jany, Dan Musselman and Dan Weston at Hotel Ivy (Porter and Frye lounge); Lila Ammons Quintet at Honey Lounge



Sunday, July 21. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria’s; Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; "The Summer Knows" with Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson at St. Albert the Great (Minneapolis, 1 pm);  Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, Medina Ballroom (2 pm);



Monday, July 22. Tommy and the Liebermen at the Dakota; Headspace at the Dakota; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Ben Doherty at Jazz Central; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse



Tuesday, July 23. Capri Big Band at the Minnesota History Center; Cory Wong Quartet, early set at the Artists Quarter; Bend in the River Big Band at Como Lakeside Pavillion; Joel Shapira Trio at Hell’s Kitchen; Zack Lozier at Café Maude (Penn Av); Minnesota Jazz Orchestra at Normandale Lake;  McDonald All-Star Jazz Ensemble Reunion at Jazz Central



Wednesday, July 24. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early set, followed by the Dave Karr Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Todd Clouser at Café Maude (Penn Av); Wolverines Trio at Hell’s Kitchen; Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan with Arne Fogel, Patty Peterson and more, Town Green (Maple Grove)



Talking Strings at the Black Dog
Thursday, July 25. Connie and Herb at the Bean (Andover); Brio Brass at Hilde Performance Center; Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter; Kristin Sponcia and Phil Mattson at Jazz Central; East Side at Hell’s Kitchen; the Talking Strings at the Black Dog



Coming Soon!

. July 26-27, Babatunde Lea Quartet at the Artists Quarter

. July 26-27, Dennis Spears as Nat King Cole, with the Wolverines at Chanhassen Dinner Theater

. July 27, Dakota Street Fest (Nicollet Mall)

. July 27, Lowertown Roots Festival at Mears Park

. July 27, Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan with Arne Fogel, Patty Peterson and more, Wolf Park (St Louis Park)

. July 28-29, Kermit Ruffins at the Dakota

. July 29, Scott Agster at Jazz Central

. July 30, Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Artists Quarter

. August 1, Jazz Police Young Artists Showcase (the Suihkonen, Hunton and Wildenauer Trio) at the Artists Quarter (7 pm)

. August 3, Aakash Mittal Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota

. August 4, Aakash Mittal Quartet at the Icehouse

. August 10, Todd Clouser and A Love Electric with Cyro Baptista at the Icehouse

. August 11, PipJazz Sundays Youth Salute at Landmark Center

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

. August 27-28, Jeff Lorber at the Dakota

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

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

. September 23-24, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota

. 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

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

Babatunde Lea, at the Artists Quarter July 26-27


Friday, July 12, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 12-18


Stanley Jordan returns to the Dakota on July 18th

© Andrea Canter

Had your fill of jazz festivals yet? For me, it was two glorious weekends in a row, at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival at Mears Park and then the Iowa City Jazz Festival over the holiday weekend. Yet a new, low-key festival is on the schedule this Saturday when the St. Croix Winery in Stillwater hosts an afternoon and evening filled with wine and song. Spoken word and poetry mesh with jazz for the July installment of PipJazz Sundays; the Tuesday Night Band reunites on a Saturday; the Haining-Agster Explosion celebrates its first anniversary; and guitar wizard Stanley Jordan is back in town for a solo gig. Call it the never-ending jazz festival!

Big Gigs This Week
Todd Clouser and Bryan Nichols
Friday, July 12. Since it opened in, literally, an old icehouse, the Icehouse has managed to appeal to jazzers, hipsters and foodies. JT Bates re-creates the Clown Lounge with his Jazz Impolsion every Monday, but there’s another series of more mainstream but equally serious music over the dinner hours on weekends. Tonight, frequent visitor (and former resident) Todd Clouser, guitarist and leader of A Love Electric, pairs up with inventive pianist Bryan Nichols. Clouser has been on a fast rise of late, pumping out a series of recordings with A Love Electric that cover everything from fusion to garage jam to retro rock—and all original compositions. He’s even adding his voice to his strings. He’s been in and out of the Cities this summer in varying configuration. This one promises to be sublime and a bit eccentric. In a good way. (Clouser is back at the Icehouse the next night as well, this time in an all-string duo with creative bassist James Buckley.)

Atlantis Quartet at the TC Jazz Fest
Saturday, July 13. The first (annual?) Wine and Jazz Fest at the St. Croix Winery in Stillwater boasts a very appealing line-up of area artists—world music from Mike Salovich and Mark Anderson; a swinging collaboration of Patty Peterson and Tanner Taylor;  Doug Little’s tropical steamrollers, Seven Steps to Havana; and the savvy inventions of the Atlantis Quartet. The fest starts at 11 am and runs til 6 pm. It’s free admission, and of course there will be plenty of wine!

After an afternoon in the hot July sun, you can cool off at the Artists Quarter with a too-rare reunion of the Tuesday Night Band—Downtown Bill Brown, Billy Franze and Kenny Horst reprising their long-running gig. Brown is a monster on the B-3, which does not get enough of a workout these days at the AQ since the TNB went into quasi retirement.

Pippi Ardennia and Billy Peterson
Sunday, July 14. Every month (March – December), PipJazz Sundays offers some of the most talented area artists in concert with what has to be the strongest “house band” in town—Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson, Glenn Swanson, Dean Magraw, Marcus Wise, with stellar vocalist and host, Pippi Ardennia. Usually featuring a local jazz musician, the July concert presents a special night of poetry and spoken word melded to jazz, with guest Louis Alemayehu and his special guest, poet Marie Chanté. Also on stage will be PipJazz student guest (and student artist in residence) Joshua Jones, a 2013 graduate of Southwest High School and promising tenor saxophonist. PipJazz Sundays takes place in the Weyerhaueser Auditorium of Landmark Center.

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson
Monday, July 15. The Old Log Theater continues its Sounds of Summer concert series with Moon River and Mercer, featuring the very swinging Southside Aces and two other “aces”—vocalist Maud Hixson and pianist Rick Carlson. This will be a delightful evening of Johnny Mercer favorites. And it’s a Foodie Night at the Dakota, with the popular Charmin and Shapira (and Friends) appearing about monthly these days, swinging through songbook standards, some bossa and always a few surprises.

Explosion Big Band
Tuesday, July 16. For the past year, Jazz Central has hosted big bands every Tuesday night, a seemingly impossible feat given the small performance space. Yet there’s still room for 20-30 patrons in the main studio, even with a 15-20 piece big band. And if you have never enjoyed a big band in such an intimate room, tonight is a great opportunity. It’s the first anniversary gig for the Haining/Agster Explosion, a 17-piece band of local talents headed by sax master Doug and trombone titan Scott. “The Explosion is full of the best players in town, and we have a great library full of Basie, Ellington, Thad Jones, some things you may have heard, and a lot of stuff you may not have heard. We have a couple of sets programmed with the most swinging charts in the book”  says Doug Haining. And you won’t need ear plugs, this is largely an acoustic event.

Brandon Wozniak
Over in St. Paul at the Artists Quarter, it’s an explosion of a different sort when saxophonist nonpareil Brandon Wozniak leads a trio with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst. Brandon can conjure Coltrane, Coleman, Potter and Lovano, but ultimately his horn is truly his own.

Ted Olsen Trio
Wednesday, July 17. It’s very gratifying to see former teen prodigies on local stages as the “young lions” of the pro ranks. Two thirds of the Ted Olsen Trio fit that description. Leader/bassist Ted Olsen was on the Artists Quarter stage just a few years ago via the Young Artist Showcase; now he’s back in town after studies at Luther College, finding more and more sideman jobs and heading his own ensemble. One of his long-time gigging partners, Quentin Tschofen, will heat up the piano bench, home on vacation from studies at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan. Filling out the trio will be relative veteran and much lauded drummer Pete Hennig (Atlantis Quartet, Fantastic Merlins).   Come down to the AQ early and catch the latest edition of Steve Kenny and the Bastids, now boasting a teen prodigy of their own, pianist Will Kjeer.

Thursday, July 18. Any gig with Stanley Jordan is worth attending, and when he plays solo guitar, it’s a must-hear, must-see. Jordan returns to the Dakota tonight for one night of magical music, often suggesting far more than ten fingers and two hands. His “fingertapping” technique, original compositions, and elegant arrangements (from standards to Mozart) are truly one of a kind.

Kristin Sponcia at the TC Jazz Fest
At the Artists Quarter, it’s one of the last opportunities to hear pianist/vocalist Kristen Sponcia and her band before Kristen heads off to the University of Miami Frost School of Music to pursue a doctoral degree. The McNally Smith instructor made a fine showing at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival two weeks ago. Local and legendary vocal coach/pianist Phil Mattson is a big fan, noting “Kristin is one of the most musical ‘musician/singers’, in my experience. Her every performance is fresh, few clichés, spontaneous and real jazz, i.e. she doesn’t repeat herself if possible.”



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. A few more gigs of note:

Friday, July 12. Irv Wiliams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour, followed by Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Maurice Jacox at the Artists Quarter; Jon Pemberton at the Red Stag

Saturday, July 13. Yohannes Tona Band at the Black Dog; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Pavel Jany Trio with Chris Lomheim at Hotel Ivy; Todd Clouser and James Buckley, dinner set at the Icehouse

Sunday, July 14. Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom;

Andrew Foreman
Monday, July 15. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Andrew Foreman/Andrew Bergman at the Black Dog; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Clarinet Summit at Jazz Central

Tuesday, July 16. Cory Wong Quartet, early set at the Artists Quarter; Patty and the Buttons at Café Maude (Penn Av)

Wednesday, July 17. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Elaine Evans, Davu Seru and Scott Fultz at the Black Dog; Zacc Harris Trio at Café Maude (Penn Av); Pete Whitman at Jazz Central; Nick Haas at Hell’s Kitchen

Thursday, July 18. Paula Lammers at Jazz Central

Coming Soon!
. July 19, Maud Hixson at Parma
. July 19-20, Laura Caviani Trio at the Artists Quarter
. July 23, Badi Assad at the Dakota
. July 23, Joel Shapira Trio at Hell’s Kitchen
. July 23, Zack Lozier at Café Maude
. July 24, Todd Clouser at Café Maude
.July 24, Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan with Arne Fogel, Patty Peterson and more, Town Green (Maple Grove)
. July 24, Graydon Peterson Quartet at Jazz Central
. July 25, Benefit for Jeremy Walker at the Dakota
. July 25, Kristin Sponcia and Phil Mattson at Jazz Central
. July 26-27, Babatunde Lea Quartet at the Artists Quarter
. July 27, Dakota Street Fest (Nicollet Mall)
. July 27, Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan with Arne Fogel, Patty Peterson and more, Wolf Park (St Louis Park)
. July 28-29, Kermit Ruffins at the Dakota
. July 29, Scott Agster at Jazz Central
. July 30, Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Artists Quarter
. August 3, Aakash Mittal Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota
. August 4, Aakash Mittal Quartet at the Icehouse
. August 10, Todd Clouser and A Love Electric with Cyro Baptista at the Icehouse
. August 11, PipJazz Sundays with Barbara LeShoure at Landmark Center
. August 24, Freedom Jazz Festival, Martin Luther King Park
. September 14, Selby Ave Jazz Festival (Milton and Selby Av)
. September 28-29, Prism (Dave Holland, Craig Taborn, Kevin Eubanks, Eric Harland) at the Dakota
. November 1, Erik Friedlander and Mitch Epstein at the Walker Art Center

Laura Caviani brings her quartet back to the Artists Quarter, July 19-20


Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 5-11



The Talking Strings (coming to the Ivy, July 6)

© Andrea Canter



Sometimes there seems to be a bit of a let-down after the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, but some great weather, fireworks, and strong music calendars should keep everyone in a festive mood this week. The best option might be 5 hours south, but there’s plenty to enjoy closer to home, too.



Big Gigs This Week

Iowa City Jazz Festival
Friday-Sunday, July 5-7. For those willing to drive five hours south to Iowa City, you can’t do better this week than the free Iowa City Jazz Festival, often cited as one of the nation’s best small jazz events, drawing about 25,000 to the campus green for an enviable list of headliners. This year, Sachal Vasandani brings savvy songs to the stage Friday night with the Iowa Jazz Orchestra; Saturday’s headliners include the Charlie Hunter/Scott Amdendola duo, the Christian Scott Quintet, and Dr. Lonnie Smith; Sunday’s shows include J.D. Allen, the Fred Hersch Trio, and Pharoah Sanders. And these are sequential sets, no competing acts. In between the headliner sets you can hear community and youth ensembles, which this year includes the Dakota Combo from the Twin Cities, playing two sets on the Youth Stage Saturday afternoon. The forecast is for sunny, dry, and swinging!



Patty Peterson
Saturday, July 6. Fill out your holiday weekend at the Dakota with an evening of fun and soulful music from Patty Peterson and Friends. With Paul Peterson, Bobby Vandell, Donnie LaMarca, Cory J. Wong, and Ronny Loew, Patty sparkles her way through sets mixing jazz, pop and R&B. Stay late for the Jake Baldwin Quintet, featuring recent New England Conservatory grad Jake on trumpet (and note he headlines at Jazz Central on Monday, July 8).  Or for something more sublime, check out the Talking Strings at Hotel Ivy. This trio of Gary Schulte, Dan Weston (filling in for Andrew Foreman) and Pavel Jany performed a stunning set at the Black Dog during the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, with music hard to define—elements of classical, jazz and global traditions.



Monday-Tuesday, July 8-9. If you don’t get to the Iowa City Jazz Festival this weekend, you can nevertheless enjoy Pharoah Sanders when he comes into the Dakota for two nights. One-time member of John Coltrane’s mid-60s ensembles, Sanders initially made his mark playing experimental, aggressive music, but has shown a more mellow side in recent years. Ornette Coleman referred to him as “probably the best tenor player in the world.”



Dan Cavanagh and Dave Hagedorn
Thursday, July 11. Once or twice each year, the Artists Quarter hosts the sublime piano/vibes duo of Dan Cavanagh and Dave Hagedorn.  Dan was once a student of Dave’s at St. Olaf, and has gone on to lead bands in teach at the University of Texas – Arlington. A couple years ago, Dan and Dave recorded the stunning album, Horizon. Their duets are always feasts of beautiful music.



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. A few more gigs of note:



Friday, July 5.  Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; JoAnn Funk at Parma; Jana Nyberg Group at Hell’s Kitchen; James Buckley Trio at the Icehouse



Saturday, July 6. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma



Sunday, July 7. George Maurer at the Dakota



Jake Baldwin
Monday, July 8. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; JT’s Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Jake Baldwin at Jazz Central; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave’s (Uptown)



Tuesday, July 9. Arne Fogel at Hell’s Kitchen;  Chris Olson Project (with Kristin Sponcia, Graydon Peterson and Dave Stanoch) at the Black Dog; Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and Friends and the Artists Quarter; Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central



Wednesday, July 10. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Chris Bates Improv Night at Jazz Central; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Chris Lomheim Trio at the Artists Quarter; Todd Clouser at Café Maude (Penn Av)



Thursday, July 11. Connie and Herb at The Bean (Andover); Jazz on the Prairie Big Band in Hopkins Downtown Park; Classic Big Band at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Vocal Night (TBA) at Jazz Central; Gypsy Mania at Hell’s Kitchen



Coming Soon!

. July 12, Todd Clouser and Bryan Nichols at the Icehouse

. July 12, Maurice Jacox at the Artists Quarter

. July 13, Tuesday Night Band at the Artists Quarter

. July 13, St Croix Vineyards Jazz Festival in Stillwater (Atlantis Quartet, Patty Peterson and more)

. July 14, PipJazz Sundays with Louis Alemayehu at Landmark Center

. July 15, Charmin & Shapira at the Dakota

. July 15, “Moon River and Mercer,” Southside Aces with Rick Carlson and Maud Hixson at Old Log Theater

. July 18, Stanley Jordan at the Dakota

. July 19, Maud Hixson at Parma

. July 19-20, Laura Caviani Trio at the Artists Quarter

. July 23, Badi Assad at the Dakota

. July 25, Benefit for Jeremy Walker at the Dakota

. July 26-27, Babatunde Lea Quartet at the Artists Quarter

. July 27, Dakota Street Fest (Nicollet Mall)

. July 28-29, Kermit Ruffins at the Dakota

. July 30, Adam Meckler Orchestra at the Artists Quarter

. August 10, Todd Clouser and A Love Electric with Cyro Baptista at the Icehouse

. September 14, Selby Ave Jazz Festival

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

Todd Clouser  - at the Icehouse with Bryan Nichols on July 12th