Friday, September 26, 2014



Francisco Mela, new Artistic Director for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, at the Dakota Monday!


© Andrea Canter
  It's been a bountiful harvest of jazz throughout September and the season continues. Colors are peaking up north, and jazz continues on a high plateau in the metro area. This weekend, hear the official CD release of the Adam Meckler Orchestra's first recording; enjoy veteran ace Dave Karr in acoustic trio format; warm up your toes for tango with Pablo Ziegler; enjoy music from the Continent and beyond in a rare performance of French 75 with Maud Hixson. And move through the week with the likes of Jon Weber and Francisco Mela, the Larry Coryell, Victory Bailey and Lenny White, all at the Dakota. And more.


Big Gigs This Week

Adam Meckler Orchestra
Friday, September 26. This is one of those nights when you wish for a clone. Or two. At MacPhail's classy Antonello Hall, the Adam Meckler Orchestra holds is official CD Release (When Clouds Look Like This). There've been several previews lately, from Mears Park to Studio Z, but tonight it's official. It's all original music from Adam, and he also unveils a newer-than-the-recording composition written recently to honor the late Fred Sturm. 

Dave Karr
At Jazz Central, the ageless octogenarian Dave Karr leads a trio with bassist Gary Raynor and drummer Mac Santiago. If this is Dave, then this must be bebop at its finest. And downtown at the Dakota, bring your dancing shoes, or at least your tango heart as pianist Pablo Ziegler brings his New Tango Ensemble to warm up the stage. Ziegler was a protegé of Astor Piazzola --'nuff said?



Peter Schimke, How Birds Word
Saturday, September 27. The new Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series gets underway under the leadership of Steve Kenny. Most Saturday nights through 2014 and beyond, the Black Dog might resemble the late Artists Quarter, judging from a schedule that includes the Illicit Sextet, Atlantis Quartet, Chris Lomheim Trio, Red 5, Fat Kid Wednesdays, and the first installment tonight-- How Birds Work. With the original cast of Kenny Horst, Billy Peterson, Peter Schimke and Dean Granros, the Birds will soar through original tunes and such revered composers as Coltrane, Coleman and more. Note later than usual start times for the Black Dog--8:30 pm.



East Side, sans harmonica
East Side is a swinging quartet with Clint Hoover (harmonica), Reynold Philipsek (guitar), Matt Senjem (bass) and Michael Bissonnette (percussion). Hoover's move to Pittsburgh a few years ago has limited East Side performing at full tilt, but they managed to put together a new studio recording (Astoria) to be officially celebrated early 2015. Meanwhile you can enjoy the music in trio format tonight at Hell's Kitchen.



The Jazz Police Young Artists Showcase kicks off a new season at Jazz Central tonight, featuring a quintet from Stillwater dubbed the St Croix Jazz Quintet. The showcase will be scheduled every other month to provide an opportunity for area high school and college ensembles to perform in a club setting. And it gives the jazz community the opportunity to hear the future of the music!



French 75 with Maud Hixson
Sunday, September 28. About five years ago, a new ensemble devote to music associated with American ex-pats in Europe dubbed themselves French 75 (after the cocktail), hooked up with vocalist Maud Hixson, and began performing around the Metro. Led by clarinetist Tony Balluff, the band quickly gained an audience at such venues as The Dakota and Hell's Kitchen. Busy schedules among the musicians have made gigs few and far between, so take advantage of the opportunity to hear "Café Society: From Piaf to Coward" at the Schneider Theater (Bloomington Center for the Arts). It's a 2 pm matinee and a great way to put off raking and other fall chores!



Jon Weber
Monday, September 29. It's a busy night!  At the Dakota, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival will sponsor an unusual pairing of two of the festival's favorite performers, pianist Jon Weber and drummer Francisco Mela. It's a relatively inexpensive cover show ($10), and in addition to the music, you can hear Steve Heckler's festival news-- in addition to presenting Mela as the new Artistic Director of the festival, there's something even bigger, he promises. Weber has been the "house" pianist for the festival for much of the past decade, while Mela has gained a local following through his appearances with Joe Lovano's Us Five, Melissa Aldana's Crash Trio (he's the "crash"), and his own Cuban Safari.



Thom West
At Jazz Central, the seldom spotlighted pianist Thom West is the featured artist. From his days with Shirley Witherspoon at the old Cafe Luxx to more recent appearances with Lila Ammons, Thom has more often provided support than taken the leading role himself. If you are not familiar with his talent, this is a good opportunity to fix that! And you can surely squeeze in a late show no matter where you start tonight, and the ever-edgy trio Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) will be on stage at the Icehouse as the featured band for Jazz Implosion, with special guest Pete Whitman.



Tuesday, September 30. It's the fifth Big Band Tuesday of the month at Jazz Central, which means the Acme Jazz Company will be in the house. Acme is directed by Doug Rasmussen, wit one of the largest sets of original charts of any band in the U.S. Vocals from Arne Fogel are always a treat.



Zacc Harris
At the Black Dog, a unique event celebrating recent releases on locally owned, musician-run label Shifting Paradigms features live music from Zacc Harris, Bryan Nichols, Nelson Devereaux and the Bates Brothers.



Larry Coryell
Tuesday-Wednesday, September 30-October 1. The Dakota has hosted all-star guitarist Larry Coryell in a range of configurations over the years, and this might be the hottest one yet, with bassist Victory Bailey and drummer Lenny White -- meaning the musicians are collectively connected to Miles Davis, Return to Forever, Chick Corea, Stanley Clark, Gary Burton -- you name it. Jazz icons, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin are all fair game.



Thursday, October 2. Young singer/songwriter/pianist Andrew Walesch is growing an audience in the Twin Cities, gigging at the Dakota, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and smaller venues around town, leading his big band as well as crooning to his own keyboard accompaniment. Tonight he makes his Jazz Central debut on the Thursday Night Vocal Jazz series. Keep an ear on this guy!



More Jazz Every Night!

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and All About Jazz, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:



Friday, September 26. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano followed by the Kronick Quartet at the Black Dog;  Maud Hixson at Parma 8200; Tim Sparks and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse



Saturday, September 27. Autumn Brew Review, with music from Jack Brass Band and Southside Aces, at the Grain Belt Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis (afternoon); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Cory Wong and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Peter Susag Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Paula Lammers at the Mason Jar with Linwood (formerly Pardon My French, Eagan)
Paula Lammers



Sunday, September 28. Tim Sparks, brunch at the Icehouse; Paula Lammers, faculty recital (3:30 pm) with David Martin at Buetow Auditorium (Concordia University); Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar



Monday, September 29. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza



Tuesday, September 30. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar



Wednesday, October 1. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Anthony Cox with Downrange Telemetrics at Jazz Central; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; "Jazz in the Lounge" with Connie Evingson, Benny Weinbeck and Dave Karr at the Minneapolis Woman's Club; Lila Ammons at The Tangiers



Thursday, October 2. Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves



Coming Soon!

. October 3, Foreign Motion and Todd Clouser CD Release at the Icehouse

. October 3, Chris and JT Bates at Sweet 317

. October 4, Illicit Sextet at the Black Dog

. October 7, Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog

. October 7, Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central

. October 10, JT Bates Trio at the Bedlam Theater (noon)

. October 11, JazzMN Orchestra with Dave Weckl at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. October 11, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, Jazz @ St Barney's (St Barnabas Art Center)

. October 11, Zacc Harris Group at the Black Dog

. October 12, Laura Caviani and JazzAX at Carleton College (3 pm)

. October 13-14, Roy Hargrove Quintet at the Dakota

. October 16, Sweet Honey in the Rock at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium

. October 17, Dean Magraw/Eric Gravatt CD Release at Landmark Center

. October 17, Connie Evingson and John Jorgenson Quartet, CD release at the Dakota

. October 18, Chris Lomheim Trio CD release at Studio Z

. October 18, PipJazz at Capri Theater

. October 18-20, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Dakota

. October 25, Steve Kenny Quartet at the Black Dog

. October 27, Charlie Hunter at the Dakota

. November 1, What Would Monk Do at the Black Dog

. November 5-6, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota

. November 8, Bebel Gilberto at the Dakota

. November 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at the Black Dog

. December 1, Joey DeFrancesco at the Dakota

. December 2, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cecile McLorin Salvant at Orchestra Hall

. December 21-22, Karrin Allyson Holiday Show at the Dakota

. December 25-28, The Bad Plus at the Dakota

. March 12, 2015, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater

. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota

. May 2, 2015, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater

The Illicit Sextet, October 4th at the Black Dog