Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, November 14-20

Dean Granros -- quartet at Studio Z on November 15th
© Andrea Canter

We really don't need the drastic plunge in temperatures to remind us that the holidays are coming. Thanks to the ever-impatient media, we have daily (hourly?) hints of the sounds, sights and tastes of the season. On the plus side, it seems more and more special music events are filling the rest of the 2014 calendar, including some jazz CD release celebrations, the launch of the new MacPhail "Spotlight" season, a "spotlight" on a young up-and-comer, and more.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, November 14. Vocalist Barbara Meyer is known among cabaret and theater fans, maybe less so among local jazzers. Her new album with pianist Phil Mattson, Down and Up With Love: The Truth From Harold Arlen, should clarify her talents. Like the great music storytellers, Meyer adds heart and drama to lyric, and Harold Arlen wrote some doozies. Barbara and Phil cover some of the best known including That Old Black Magic, but they also introduce many of us to the less familiar of Arlen's love (or anti-love) songs, including a sarcastic, over-the-top delight, "I Don't Think I'll End It All Today." The CD release will be celebrated at The Nicollet. There will be enough swing for the dance community to turn out but don't let yourself be distracted from the words or the interpretations that Barbara delivers.

The lyrics and stories are also essentials to every performance from Maud Hixson, who tonight joins Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200.  No matter what the context, you can count on Maud to introduce you to a new tune, a new songwriter, or simply a new reading.

Saturday, November 15. Jazz at Studio Z continues its season of Saturday night jazz with a double guitar quartet headed by the dean of guitar, Dean Granros. Dean's partners tonight include fellow guitarist (and series curator) Zacc Harris, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Jay Epstein, and the concert follows a free, public master class with Dean teaching us about blues concepts in improvisation. 

Nachito Herrera
In Minneapolis, the MacPhail Center for Music launches a new season of "Spotlight" concerts, headed by artistic director/conductor Mischa Santoro. Tonight it's "Reflection," original works performed by Cuban jazz master Nachito Herrera, gospel singer, producer and educator J.D. Steele, and high-end accompanist, cellist Jacquelin Ultan. Minneapolis' Riverview Wine Bar also hosts a too-rare solo evening with another of the area's guitar wizards, Dean Magraw. Alone with 2 or 3 guitars, Dean is as likely to channel Coltrane as a rock or folk tale.

Sunday, November 16. Laura Caviani has long been a favorite performer and composer on the Twin Cities Jazz Scene, but this afternoon, she dons a new hat--conductor and director of jazz ensembles at Carleton College in Northfield, presenting the many talents of the student jazz band.

Bethlehem Lutheran  Church will host the fall installment of Framework's collaboration with the Bach Society. The jazz trio (Chris Olson, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein) have joined forces with the classical ensemble for the past three years, and tonight add in the extra musical attraction of recorder specialist Clea Galhano. To quote Chris Bates, "Fun stuff!"

Charlie Lincoln
Monday, November 17. Usually the "Featured Artist" series at Jazz Central brings attention to a veteran artist, or on occasion to a young up-and-coming talent. But a high school senior? Tonight's featured artist is 17-year-old bassist Charlie Lincoln, pride of South High, member of the Dakota Combo, and recently on several area stages with the great Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code.  Tonight Charlie reprises a new band that debuted at the recent Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret, with Levi Schwartzberg, Peter Goggin, Benjamin Beyene, Gavin Brehn and Sam Stroup. Says Charlie, "Original compositions and arrangements by yours truly played by some master musicians... Nonjazzers fear now-- there will be something for everybody at this show!"

Jake Baldwin
A relative veteran in comparison, 20-something Jake Baldwin and Cameron Kinghorn bring their new BDP Quintet back to the Dakota after their auspicious premiere on the Late Night calendar little over a week ago. But tonight it's prime time. Kinghorn, who also plays trumpet, has a voice touched with Chet Baker, perfect for the band's broad repertoire of jazz, R&B and touches of pop. Baldwin, trumpet and sometimes trombone, leads the very musical combinations with Ted Godbout on keys, Andrew Foreman on bass and Andres Crovetti on drums.

Jay Epstein (Framework, Firebell)
Later in the evening, Firebell (Jay Epstein, Graydon Peterson and Park Evans) celebrates its new recording at the Icehouse. Impossible Vacation promises to be filled with intrigue and unique compositions, like this mighty threesome.

Tuesday, November 18. It's Big Band night at Jazz Central, tonight with the Explosion Big Band led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster, and featuring an all-star cast blazing through modern charts. Sit close-- it's not electrically charged! Enjoy big band music as it was intended to be heard! And if one big band is not enough, take in another as the Jack Brass Band holds their monthly gig at The Amsterdam in St Paul. Between the two gigs, there might not be too many big band specialists on the loose tonight!

Thursday, November 19. The Charlie Christenson Standards Trio is the latest project from the nationally renowned jazz vocalist, composer and arranger. And it's a bit beyond the usual for Jazz Vocal Night at Jazz Central, with Graydon Peterson on bass and Matt Edlund on drums. “We’ve left the piano, the guitar behind,” Christenson says, “but that doesn’t mean we’ve forsaken harmony. Our three unique and singular voices play together in ways that can feel exposed – mostly in a good way."

More Jazz!
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, November 14. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano followed by Chris Hagedorn Trio at the Black Dog; Charmin and Shapira at Andrew Riverside Presbyterian Church; Dutz/Wabisch Duo followed by Jazz Crew at Jazz Central

Saturday, November 15. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; Mary Louise Knutson and Gary Raynor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (Minnetonka); Benny Weinbeck Trio, Parma 8200; Parisota Hot Club at Loring Pasta Bar; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Travis Anderson Trio at Normandy Kitchen

Sunday, November 16. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; "Lady Be Good: Women Instrumentalists in Jazz" (film), Sound Unseen at the Trylon Microcinema

Monday, November 17. Judi Vinar and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Charmin Michelle and MN Jazz All-Stars tribute to Cliff Brunzell at the Minneapolis Woman's Club

Tuesday, November 18. Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Zacc Harris
Wednesday, November 19. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; McNally Smith X-Tet at Jazz Central Studios; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Byron Johnson Blanchard Quartet at the Black Dog; Parisota Hot Club at The Tangiers

Thursday, November 20. John Devine and Friends at Loring Pasta Bar; Charmin Michelle and Sam Miltich at MacRostie Art Center Fundraiser (Grand Rapids, MN)

Coming Soon!
. November 21, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. November 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at the Black Dog
. November 22, PipJazz Youth All-Stars at the Maplewood Community Center theater
. November 22, JazzMN Orchestra "Music of Little Big Bands" featuring Charmin Michelle at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. Novembe 22, Kinghorn/Baldwin Inc. at Jazz Central
. November 22, Phil Mattson Singers, Jazz @ St Barneys (St Barnabas Lutheran Church)
. November 25, Guitar Passions with Sharon Isbin and Romero Lubambo at the Dakota
. November 29, Jazz Police Young Artists Showcase at Jazz Central (Emerson Hunton and Friends)
. November 29, Endeavors at the Dakota (Late Night)
. December 1, Joey DeFrancesco Trio at the Dakota
. December 2, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cecile McLorin Salvant at Orchestra Hall, followed by opening of Jazz in Target Atrium series, with Jeremy Walker's Bootet and members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
. December 4, Pete Snell Trio, Benefit for Free Arts Minnesota at Shinola Detroit
. December 6, Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. December 6, Babatunde Lea Quintet, Jazz at Studio Z
. December 13, PipJazz Holiday Concert at Maplewood Community Center theater
. December 14, Maudi Hixson, Wolverines, Bob DeFlores films, "Let It Snow" at the Capri Theater
. December 14, Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood at First Avenue
. December 21-22, Karrin Allyson Holiday Show at the Dakota
. December 25-28, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
. December 27, Fat Kid Wednesdays at the Black Dog
. December 27, Aaron Hedenstrom (CD release), Jazz at Studio Z
. January 9, Joel Shapira/Dean Granros CD Release at the Black Dog
. January 10, Bill Carrothers Trio, Jazz at Studio Z
. January 20-21, Jose James at the Dakota
. January 22, David Berkman at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. January 25, Leigh Kamman Memorial Tribute at the Saint Paul Hotel (Ballroom)
. March 12, 2015, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota
. April 16, Anthony Cox and Jeremy Walker, "Rage of Achilles" at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. April 25, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob Mintzer at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. May 2, 2015, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. May 8, Ron Miles, Target Atrium

Sharon Isbin -- performing with Romero Lubambo at the Dakota, November 25