Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, March 28 - April 3

Babatunde Lea at Jazz Central Friday Night

© Andrea Canter

The weather experts say March came in like a Polar Bear and is going out like a Lion. Lions are always welcome in jazz! And there are plenty around in the coming week, from one of our newer resident percussion gurus to a pair of virtuosic trombonists to a good handful of modern improvisers, fleet-fingered guitarists, silver-tongued vocalists, and more. Maybe soon spring will jump up and we'll remember April!

Big Gigs This Week

Babatunde Lea
Friday, March 28. The Bridge Series at Jazz Central -- initiated to fill the gap left by the closing of the Artists Quarter--continues with the JC debut of percussion master Babatunde Lea. Relatively new to this area, Lea is a pioneer in applications of African rhythms to American jazz. At one time or another he played with Stan Getz, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston, Van Morrison and, particularly, Oscar Brown, Jr, and counts Leon Thomas as a significant mentor. Tonight he mixes it up with two terrific string players, guitarist Zacc Harris and bassist Chris Bates.

Maud Hixson
For your vocal listening pleasures, look no further than Parma 8200 and the almost monthly gig with Maud Hixson and her swinging cohorts, Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal, who are going to warm up for their Jazz @St. Barneys show (see Saturday!).

Saturday, March 29. One of the best bargains for a concert-like jazz experience, the Jazz @ St. Barney's series brings top area jazz artists to the "stage" mostly monthly. Tonight, one of the longest-running instrumental duos, typically heard in supporting roles, takes the spotlight. Pianist Rick Carlson and bassist Steve Pikal swing hard no matter what the material, but expect them to draw from the books of Basie, Ellington and other great composers and bandleaders of the Swing Era. Don't be surprised if they make you laugh along the way.
Steve Pikal and Rick Carlson

Monday, March 31. A couple gigs featuring long-running partnerships: At the Dakota, Charmin & Shapira and Friends is a Foodie Night special featuring vocalist Charmin Michelle (just back from her annual tour of Spain) and guitarist Joel Shapira, with talented friends Paul Harper (sax), Tom Lewis (bass) and Nathan Norman (drums) and an evening of swing, bossas, ballads and more -- and no cover.   

Dave Graf
At Jazz Central, tonight's featured artists are dueling bonemen, Brad Bellows (valve) and Dave Graf (slide) -- the popular Valve Meets Slide ensemble. If one trombone is fun, imagine two!

So if Charmin Michelle is at the Dakota, who is performing with Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza? Check out Maryann Sullivan, a veggie special, and one of those meatballs. Songs, accordion and pepperoni? Sounds like a great way to start the week! And you can keep it going into the early morning at Barbette, where young Turk pianist Joe Strachan pairs up with bassist Josh Granowski. Late night menu, no cover. No kidding.

Eric Gravatt
Tuesday, April 1. Usually the first Tuesday at the Black Dog means Dean Magraw and Davu Seru, but tonight Eric Kamau Gravatt sits in at the trapset. The veteran of Weather Report and McCoy Tyner is seldom heard in such a sublime setting. Over at Jazz Central, you can take in one of the metro's finest large ensembles, the Bill Simenson Orchestra, featuring a stellar cast of the region's top big band artists.

Davu Seru
Wednesday, April 2. Wednesdays at Jazz Central are reserved for "new music" -- often so new it does not exist before the first note sounds. Tonight it's the TCOB Trio headed by percussion star Davu Seru. And if you want to hang out later, Barbette hosts savvy singer Rhonda Laurie and prolific composer/guitarist/vocalist Reynold Philipsek.

Joel Shapira
Thursday, April 3. It was supposed to be a return engagement of the Joel Shapira-Dean Granros duo, but Dean had to cancel so instead, Joel has assembled a hot trio with bassist Tom Lewis and drummer Haralds Bondaris tonight at the Black Dog. This will be just the second gig for this threesome and they are ready to burn!

Lila Ammons
Vocalist Lila Ammons comes by boogie woogie naturally, granddaughter of the great Albert Ammons. A few years ago she connected with Austrian boogie woogie pianist Axel Zwingenberger, and the two have toured throughout Europe. Axel is briefly in town and the duo will perform at Schmitt Music's intimate concert space (Southdale) for some "Hot Classic Blues & Foot-stomping Boogie Woogie."

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, March 28. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Patty Peterson and Friends at Bunkers

Saturday, March 29. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Kronick Quartet at the Black Dog; Jazz in the Dark at Zeke's Unchained Animal

Sunday, March 30. Mill City Hot Club, brunch at Hell's Kitchen; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Century Jazz Ensemble at Jethro's Charhouse (Mahtomedi); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar;  Off the Cuff at the Aster Café; Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social

Monday, March 31. JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, April 1. Cafe Accordion at the Loring Pasta Bar; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's

Wednesday, April 2. Jazz in the Lounge - Connie Evingson with Tanner Taylor and Dave Karr at the Woman's Club (Minneapolis); Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; the Wolverines at Hell's Kitchen; Patrick Harison at Cafe Maude; Foreman/Feily/Schmidt/Musselman at the Black Dog

Chris Lomheim
Thursday, April 3. Patty and the Buttons with Jack Klatt at the Dakota; Benny Weinbeck and Gordy Johnson at Pairings Food and Wine Bar; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim at Christo's (Union Depot); Jon Wood at Jazz Central;  Maurice Jacox with Bobby Ekstrand and Tom Wells at Dusty's

Coming Soon!

. April 4, Sound Skirmish (Young Artists Showcase) at Jazz Central
. April 4, Daniel Zamzow and Andrew Foreman Trio at Sweet 317

. April 5, Dakota Combo with PipJazz Live, Capri Theater

. April 5-6, Charmin and Shapira and Friends, Black Box Theater (Bloomington)

. April 7, Efrain Toro Percussion Workshop and Concert at Jazz Central, followed by the Tyler Anderson Quartet

. April 8, Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau at the Walker

. April 8, Cedar Ave Big Band at Jazz Central

. April 9, Brad Mehldau Trio at the Walker

. April 9, Fall of the House of Usher at Jazz Central

. April 9-10, Matt Slocum Trio CD release with Phil Hey Quartet, Bryan Nichols and more at Weyerhaeuser Auditorium of Landmark Center

. April 10, Delfeayo Marsalis at the Dakota

. April 10, Jana Nyberg at Jazz Central

. April 11, Catherine Russell at the Fairmont Opera House (Fairmont, MN)

. April 11, Jeremy Walker, CD Release (7 Psalms) at Bethel College

. April 12, Doc Severinsen at Orchestra Hall

. April 13, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber, Jazz at the Jungle (Theater)

. April 14, Good Vibes Trio, CD Release at the Icehouse

. April 15, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota
. April 17, Christian McBride Quintet at Eden Prairie High School (fundraiser)

. April 18, Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli at Orchestra Hall

. April 18, Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears at the Dakota

. April 19, Bobby McFerrin at Orchestra Hall

. April 19, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)
. April 19, Steve Kenny Quartet at Sweet 317

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. April 21-22, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota

. April 25, Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200
. April 25, Brass Messengers at Sweet 317

. April 26, Miguel Zenon with the JazzMN Orchestra, Hopkins High School

. April 27, Jazz Noir with John Penny, live broadcast on KBEM from the Dakota

. April 27, Earth Day Concert, Dave Milne's One World Consort at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community

. April 28, Joe Lovano Us Five at the Dakota

. May 3, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" workshop and concert at Maplewood Community Center

. May 7, Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge at the Dakota

. May 10, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. May 13, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

. May 15, Jazz Thursdays with the Dakota Combo at MacPhail Center for Music

. May 15-17, Ragamala Dance Company and Rudresh Mahanthappa at the Walker

. May 19-20, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota

. May 20, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Amsterdam Bar

. May 26-27, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

. May 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

. June 16-17, Maceo Parker at the Dakota

. June 18, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis and more), Mears Park (St Paul)

. July 3-5, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, Anat Cohen, Ingrid Jensen, Jared Gold)

. July 7-8, Bill Frisell Quartet (Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen) at the Dakota

Brad Mehldau - 2 nights at the Walker, April 8-9