Thursday, April 17, 2014

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

Jose James, at The Cedar on April 21st
© Andrea Canter

So it is snowing tonight. April 16th and it is snowing. Waiting for "Up Jumped Spring"? This spring has really hung us up the most, of any I can remember in a long time. Yet I get email from a friend spending April in Paris. OK, enough of that. We are spending April in the Twin Cities, and we are quite lucky to be here where there is too much jazz to mention it all for the coming week!

Big Gigs This Week

Ramsey Lewis
Friday, April 18.  Nat King Cole gets a double dose tonight. Straighten Up and Fly Right is both the name of Cole's first hit album and the show at Orchestra Hall with NEA Master Ramsey Lewis and Grammy nominee John Pizzarelli. Pizzarelli has twice saluted Cole on recordings, and tonight's piano/guitar and vocal duo promises to be the definitive Cole tribute. Lewis is bringing along his touring cohorts (Joshua Ramos on bass and Charles Heath on drums).   

Dennis Spears
Just a block away, at the Dakota, Ginger Commodore hosts a birthday party for Dennis Spears, who has done his part to keep Nat King Cole alive through song and on stage, bringing his one-man Cole show to Kennedy Center and reprising the original at Penumbra. Ginger and Dennis are no strangers, as partners in Moore By Four and frequently appearing together at the Dakota. Good news-- there should be a set to go when the Orchestra Hall concert ends, and it is a short walk to the Dakota!

Tanner Taylor
More songs tonight - Maud Hixson returns to Parma 8200 with Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal.  And two instrumental ensembles offer some cutting edge jazz, with Counterclockwise at Jazz Central, featuring Tanner Taylor in a seldom-heard B-3 organ night with Zacc Harris and Jay Epstein (their first gig since 2009), and the Donald Washington Quartet with son Kevin on drums, across town at the Black Dog. I can not figure out how to do it all.

Cory Healey
Saturday, April 19. Jazz at Studio Z continues its third season with one of the newest members of the Twin Cities Jazz scene, drummer Cory Healey. Recently transplanted from Iowa, Healey is quickly gaining a reputation for his chops behind the trapset and his creative compositions. His "4Tet" tonight includes another young hot shot, trumpeter Jake Baldwin, along with guitarist/series curator Zacc Harris and Happy Apple's bassist, Erik Fratzke. For sure, there will be no ice left after this show. And there's a free workshop at 6 pm, with Healey sharing insights about rhythms of the traditional music of the Indian subcontinent. 

Steve Kenny
The 4Tet might end early enough to head down the block and take in most of the Steve Kenny Quartet at Sweet 317 above the Black Dog. This new salon-like space is starting to book some serious talent -- the quartet tonight features Kenny, Brandon Wozniak, Jeff Bailey and Babatunde Lea digging into Monk and more. That's pretty serious!

Fans of improvised vocal music will find plenty at Orchestra Hall tonight as Bobby McFerrin returns with his spirityouall project -- an exploration of his diverse influences delivered as only McFerrin can.  In addition to influencing just about every modern jazz vocalist, McFerrin has particularly left his imprint in Minnesota after five years as Creative Chair for the SPCO in the 90s.

Steve Tyrell
Monday, April 21. Two vocalists from different generations and different edges of the jazz idiom are in town tonight. Hometown hero and South High alum José James returns to The Cedar with his signature blend of jazz and soul, joined by young Monk Competition winner Kris Bowers on piano. At the Dakota, Steve Tyrell croons and soothes on his first of a two-night stand, elevating the Great American Songbook and more contemporary fare to the level of a Vegas night club show.

Over at Jazz Central, another Haining is in the spotlight. Tonight it's Preston's turn. The recent graduate of the University of North Texas plays bass and trumpet, meaning he should always find work. He's on trumpet tonight, with backing from brother Trevor on drums, Graydon Peterson on bass and Tanner Taylor on piano.

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra
Tuesday, April 22. The Twin Cities is becoming a big band mecca. Part of the Tuesday night big band series, the newly formed Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra holds another "rehearsal" under the leadership of Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago. The rest of the band is a who's who, cross-generational corps of Latin-savvy artists. Over at Café Maude, swing and sway with Rick Carlson on keys.

Retro Swing Sister
Wednesday, April 23. Zeke's Unchained Animal might never be the same! Vocalist Lila Ammons brings a sophisticated approach to song that seldom is heard in a restaurant/bar setting that leans more often toward young generation pop and funk. She's on stage with her quintet and likely will sample from her outstanding CD, The Nearness of You. If you are looking for something more active-- how about swing dancing with Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at the Eagles Club in East Minneapolis? And you can just sit back and listen if you prefer, but your feet will probably insist on a few spins around the floor when this swing band takes off!

Charmin and Shapira
Thursday, April 24. Hats off to Maryann Sullivan and her expert scheduling of the Vocal Jazz nights at Jazz Central. Tonight is another exceptional choice, Charmin and Shapira. Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira have been musical partners for nearly a decade, more often performing these days in quintet format, making this intimate duo in this intimate space a real treat. Swing, samba, balladry and more.

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, April 18. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog (5 pm); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Kronick Quartet at Zeke's Unchained Animal
Bryan Nichols

Saturday, April 19. Ancia Saxophone Quartet at the Black Dog (2 pm); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Dave Karr and Tanner Taylor, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Ticket to Brasil at Loring Pasta Bar; Maurice Jacox Trio at Normandy Kitchen; Jana Nyberg Group at Hell's Kitchen; Twin Cities Cabaret Network monthly salon with Les Block , Heidi Ziman, Eilene Wisniewski, Rhonda Laurie, Vicky Mountain, Joey Babay and Dean Elwell at the Town House

Sunday, April 20. Easter Brunch with the Twin Cities Hot Club at the Dakota; Davu Seru Trio and Carlo Gesauldo Band at Torch House

Monday, April 21. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Fantastic Merlins at the Black Dog; Joey Van Phillips at the Icehouse; Neighborhood Trio at Barbette

Tuesday, April 22. Cafe Accordion Orchestra followed by Mike Salovich and Marcus Wise CD release, at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, April 23. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Midweek Mambo with Charanga Tropicale at Loring Pasta Bar; Graydon Peterson Ghost Tour at Jazz Central; King Baron at Barbette

Thursday, April 24.  Connie and Herb at the Bean; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @Christos (Union Depot); Perius Quartet (Jeff Perry) at Hell's Kitchen

Coming Soon!

. April 25, Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200

. 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 27, Soul Café at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

. April 28, Joe Lovano Us Five at the Dakota

. April 28, Lars-Erik Larson and No Coast Quartet at the Icehouse

. April 29, Acme Jazz Company at Jazz Central

. April 30, Dan Musselman Quartet at the Black Dog

. May 2, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. May 2, Illicit Sextet at the Black Dog

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

. May 3, Paul Renz, Jazz at the Steeple Center (Rosemount)

. May 5, Peter Vircks Quartet at the Icehouse

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

. May 8, Jazz Thursdays with the Dakota Combo at Antonello Hall (MacPhail Center for Music)

. May 9, Jazz Police Youth Showcase featuring Will Kjeer's Blue Haven at Jazz Central

. May 9, Courageous Endeavors at the Icehouse

. May 10, Yohannes Tona with Geoff LeCrone and Demetrius Mabry, Jazz at Studio Z

. May 13, Jane Monheit at the Dakota

. May 15-18, Ragamala Dance Company and Rudresh Mahanthappa at the Walker

. May 19, Jean Brice Godet with the Fantastic Merlins /Atlantis Quartet at the Icehouse

. 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 2, Tom Rainey and Ingrid Laubrock at the Icehouse

. June 8, Jazz in the Library, Joan Griffith at St Paul Central Library

. June 14, Next Generations, Steve Kenny Group 47 LP Release,  Jazz at Studio Z

. June 16-17, Maceo Parker at the Dakota

. June 18, Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion at the Dakota

. June 18, Jazz in the Library, Bryan Nichols Quartet at St Anthony Park Library

. June 25, Jazz in the Library, Tres Mundos at Arlington Hills Library

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival (Branford Marsalis 6/27; Dianne Reeves 6/28; and more), Mears Park (St Paul)

. July 3-5, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano Us Five, Anat Cohen Quartet, Ingrid Jensen Nordic with Geoffrey Keezer, Jared Gold, Pedrito Martinez)

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

. July 10, All Originals Jazz series, The Illicit Sextet at Studio Z

. July 17, All Originals Jazz series, Courageous Endeavors at Studio Z

. July 24, All Originals Jazz series, Zacc Harris Group at Studio Z

. July 31, All Originals Jazz series, Red Planet at Studio Z

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