Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 26 - March 6



Dave King -- at MacPhail and the Walker this week

 © Andrea Canter



It's hard to believe that the Twin Cities Jazz Festival begins in 4 months - is "hot summer" really that close? At ten below, as I write this, summer seems pretty remote. At least there is music to warm our ears and hearts if not our heads and feet! This week, both Patty Peterson and Dave King pop up a couple times; our own New Orleans style brass band celebrates Mardi Gras; Bach meets jazz; the U of M hosts its annual jazz festival with Minnesota's First Family of Music as guest artist; and one of the world's most popular vocal ensembles returns to town. That's enough to keep the jazz fires burning.



Big Gigs This Week

Jack Brass Band
Friday, February 28. The performance season at the Bloomington Center for the Arts goes south tonight as the Jack Brass Band celebrates Mardis Gras and the history of New Orleans brass bands. Led by drummer Mike Olander and featuring some of the best brass artists in town (Adam Rossmiller, Adam Meckler, Scott Agster, Gus Sanberg, Mike Mello, Scott Moriarty), along with snare drum ace Reid Kennedy, JBB will help melt the snow as they take us into Crescent City.  Not far away at Parma 8200, popular singer Patty Peterson makes her debut in the bar/lounge, one of the more intimate settings to hear this remarkable musician.



Milo Fine
For avant garde fans, it's a rare appearance these days for multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine, performing at the Black Dog with "Davu Seru and Friends," with Seru on percussion and Andrew Lafkas on bass. And for those lamenting the closing of the Artists Quarter, Jazz Central presents a new installment of The Bridge series, tonight with vibes master Dave Hagedorn, guitarist Zacc Harris, bassist Brian Courage and drummer JT Bates. In other words, a killer quartet, doing a "Bags and Wes" tribute.



Patty Peterson
Saturday, March 1. The U of M hosts its annual jazz festival, bringing in 13 middle and high school ensembles for a series of clinics and adjudications. In the evening, the festival concert features vocalist Patty Peterson and the First Family of Music (siblings Billy, Ricky, Paul and Linda) with U of M jazz ensembles. The concert is free -- surely the bargain of the weekend.



Chris Olson (Framework)
In St. Paul at the History Theater, it's the third annual collaboration among the Bach Society and jazz trio Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein), along with special guest Pete Whitman, exploring the connections between Baroque and Jazz. "This year is very exciting as Chris Olson has created some pieces for the entire group that integrate us into an ensemble," says Bates. "I can't think of another ensemble that has this instrumentation of harpsichord (Paul Boehnke), viola de gamba (Julie Elhard), baroque violin (Jin Kim), sax, guitar, bass and drums." Me either.



Dakota Combo
Sunday, March 2. The MacPhail Center for Music again hosts a day of clinics and critiques for small student ensembles in its annual Combo Festival, culminating in an evening concert that features guest clinicians of the Dave King Trucking Company. Dave joins the Dakota Combo (high school student ensemble) for the opening set, followed by the full Trucking Company -- including saxophonist Chris Speed, in from New York, with fellow Truckers King, Adam Linz, Erik Fratzke and Brandon Wozniak. It's an early evening -- concert at 5 pm in Antonello Hall.



Dave Karr at the Icehouse
Monday, March 3. First Monday at the Icehouse! That means JT's Jazz Implosion features local legend Dave Karr with Adam Linz and JT Bates. You may never hear a finer example of cross-generational improvisation. Over at Jazz Central, saxophonist Dave Brattain has a too-rare evening leading the house ensemble and late jam session.



Manhattan Transfer
Monday-Tuesday, March 3-4.  The revered Manhattan Transfer doesn't play too many club dates but fortunately the Dakota is a favorite stop. For nearly 40 years now, the vocal quartet has been swinging around the world with its signature harmonies and terrific soloists --with only personnel change since the beginning, and even that was a few decades ago! Joining Tim Hauser, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel this tour is Katie Campbell, filling in for Cheryl Bentyne. It's the second time we've missed Bentyne in the last three visits, but no doubt Campbell is up to the task given her history with Sheryl Crow and Bobby McFerrin.



Debbie Duncan
Wednesday, March 5. Foodie Nights are always a bargain at the Dakota-- no cover, usually some deals on food and wine, and typically stellar local talent. No exception tonight as Debbie Duncan takes the stage -- and she takes no prisoners! From ballads to blues, from sweet to sassy, Debbie is a favorite entertainer. And her band is the best-- Sanford Moore, Kenni Holmen, Gary Raynor and Nathan Norman.



Thursday, March 6. Walker Art Center presents the series "Sound Horizon" in conjunction with the current Jim Hodges exhibit, and tonight's free 6 pm concert features Bad Plus drummer, Trucking Company CEO Dave King. A rare opportunity to enjoy King in a solo set. Did I say "free"?



Lila Ammons
Vocal Night at Jazz Central presents very accomplished singer Lila Ammons and a favorite cohort, pianist Thom West. West was one of Lila's early partners as she got established on the Twin Cities jazz scene. He swings hard and fast, and she has no trouble keeping pace! Enjoy this rare duo performance in an perfectly intimate space.



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, February 28. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota followed by Seven Steps to Havana; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Carleton College Jazz Ensemble, Concert Hall at Carleton College; Steve Kenny at Senor Wong



Saturday, March 1. Pig's Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Club; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Zacc Harris Trio at the Loring Pasta Bar; Phil Aaron and Jeremy Boettcher, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen



Sunday, March 2. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Cafe; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social; Klezmatics at the Dakota



Monday, March 3. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Southside Aces at Famous Dave's (Uptown); the Neighborhood Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, March 4. Bill Simeonson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at the Amsterdam Bar; Three Loud at Cafe Maude; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's



Wednesday, March 5. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Retro Swing Sister at the Eagles Club; Anthony Cox Presents at Jazz Central; Gypsy Mania at Barbette



Thursday, March 6. Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves



Coming Soon!

. March 7, Harrelson Trumpet Duets at Jazz Central

. March 8,  Eric Gravatt and Source Code, Jazz at Studio Z

. March 8, Steven Hobert at Jazz Central (Midwest Solo Tour)

. March 9, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota

. March 10, Tyler Anderson at Jazz Central

. March 11, Cedar Av Big Band at Jazz Central

. March 12, Mountain King at Jazz Central

. March 13, Vicky Mountain at Jazz Central

. March 15, Connie Evingson, Jazz @ St Barney's (St Barnabas Church, Plymouth)

. March 16, JazzMN Orchestra with New York Voices (matinee) at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. March 16, Pat Metheny Unity Group at the Fitzgerald Theater

. March 17, Joe Strachan (tribute to Sonny Clark) at Jazz Central

. March 17, Fantastic Merlins at the Black Dog

. March 18, Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central

. March 21-22, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall

. March 22, Todd Clouser and Chris Bates at Harriet Brewing

. March 25, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central

. March 29, Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal, Jazz @St Barney's (St Barnabas Church, Plymouth)

. April 3, Dean Granros and Joel Shapira at the Black Dog

. April 5, Dakota Combo with PipJazz, Capri Theater

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

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

. April 9, Brad Mehldau Trio at the Walker

. 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 12, Doc Severinsen at Orchestra Hall

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

. April 15, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota

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

. April 19, Bobby McFerrin at Orchestra Hall

. April 19, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. 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 10, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. 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 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)

Monk Competition winner, Grammy nominee Cecile McLorin Salvant comes to the Dakota March 9th



















Friday, February 21, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 21-27



Terence Blanchard coming to the Dakota, February 24-25
© Andrea Canter



There's so much music this weekend -- hopefully we will be able to dig out from the winter's biggest storm and enjoy it! And even if you are snowbound for a couple days, there's plenty more jazz in the metro through next week, with visits from Terence Blanchard and Bobby Watson completing a two-week jazz binge at the Dakota.



Big Gigs This Week

Donald Washington
Friday, February 21. The Donald Washington Quartet returns to the Black Dog, with tenor/bari veteran Washington heading a heady band with Eric Jacobson on sousaphone, Brian Rosslear on bass and Davu Seru on drums. Sounds like there will be a lot of very deep conversation!  Over at Jazz Central, the new Friday "Bridge" series (aka Bridging the Gap without the Artists Quarter) features a bunch of young (and youngish) lions --Nelson Devereaux (tenor sax), Jake Baldwin (trumpet), Zacc Harris (guitar), Brian Courage (bass) and Lars Larson (drums). And for a more causal gig, check out Maryann Sullivan in her debut at the Riverview Wine Bar, singing standards and more with guitarist Dave Martin.



Steve Kenny
Saturday, February 22. Steve Kenny kicks off a new band at the Black Dog -- a quartet featuring Kenny on trumpet, Brandon Wozniak on sax, Billy Peterson on bass and Babatunde Lea on drums. Kenny's gigs for the past five years or more have largely been on the Artists Quarter stage, but he wasted no time finding new venues with recent performances at Jazz Central, the Icehouse and Black Dog with his Group 47 and the Illicit sextet. The new band promises to be another winner, tackling Monk and more.



Maud Hixson and Arne Fogel
Vocalists have a big weekend, starting tonight as Connie Evingson swings to the hot club vibe of Robb Henry, Matt Senjem and Dave Karr on the Jazz @ St.Barney's concert series. Curated by Jeff Whitmill, this series has been going strong for years at St. Barnabas Church in Plymouth with at least monthly presentations of the Twin Cities' finest. In Bloomington (Schneider Theater), the team of Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson takes the stage in Arne's new production, The Envelope Please, a revue of Oscar winners and also-rans that have brightened Hollywood film soundtracks. Music direction from pianist Rick Carlson adds to the glow.



Pippi Ardennia
Saturday-Sunday, February 22-23. Singers Charmin Michelle and Pippi Ardennia each have a long resumé of performances and recordings, but never together. The Capri Theater's production of Girl Talk will remedy that, and then some, adding an all-gal band (Laura Caviani, Kathy Jensen, Joan Griffith, Jendeen Forberg) to the show.  Saturday night and Sunday matinee.



Andrew Foreman, Off the Cuff
Sunday, February 23. It's the first anniversary of the Off the Cuff series of improvised music at the Aster Cafe. Curated by bassist Andrew Foreman, this monthly series has brought diverse musicians together in the very cool environment of the Aster. Celebrating tonight: Set A with Jon Davis (reeds), Anthony Cox (bass and cello), Mike Lewis (bass and horns), and Alden Ikeda (drums). Set B with Nelson Devereaux (saxes), Jake Baldwin (trumpet), Miguel Hurtado (drums), Andrew Foreman (bass), Eric Mayson (keys) and Big Cats (samples).



Terence Blanchard and Joshua Crumbly

Monday-Tuesday, February 24-25. Much lauded trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard brings his stellar "Magnetic" quintet to the Dakota for two nights. Blanchard alone is a powder keg but add in more ammunition -- heavy hitter Brice Winston on sax, young Fabian Almazon on piano, Joshua Crumbly on bass and recent Monk Competition runner-up, Justin Brown on drums. Even if you haven't heard Blanchard's latest recordings (Magnetic placed on many critics' "best of 2013" lists), you've probably heard his music on film soundtracks, including most everything from Spike Lee.



Adam Meckler Orchestra
Tuesday, February 25. The Adam Meckler Orchestra started out with a monthly gig at Jazz Central, but soon their audience outgrew the studio space. Next Adam became the first big band with a regular monthly gig at the Artists Quarter, where the audience typically filled the club space. With the closing of the AQ, the AMO needed a new home, and now will be playing almost monthly at The Amsterdam Bar, fourth Tuesdays. Unlike most area big bands, this one is devoted to original music, trying out and refining works by Adam Meckler as well as a handful of innovative arrangements. The size of the Amsterdam Bar should guarantee ample space for the AMO's growing fan base.



Bobby Watson
Wednesday, February 26. One of the very first national shows I saw at the old Dakota at Bandana Square was Bobby Watson's Horizon. A one-time Minneapolis resident and director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Watson has revived Horizon with much of the original crew--trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Essiet Essiet, and drummer Victor Lewis. They headlined the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years ago, returning now stronger than ever.



Stanley Clarke
Thursday, February 27. Stanley Clarke makes a rare local appearance, bringing back "School Days" to The Cedar. Clarke performs the entire 1976 album along with other material, accompanied by Ruslan Sirota (piano/keys), Michael Mitchell (drums), and Brady Cohan (guitar).



Hopefully vocal jazz night at Jazz Central will not get snowed-out! Tonight Tommy Bruce charms in the company of pianist Rick Carlson. Over in St. Paul, it's the monthly gig at the Black Dog with the Talking Strings, usually featuring Pavel Jany (guitar), Gary Schulte (violin) and Dan Weston (bass).



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, February 21. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Vic Volare at Hell's Kitchen; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Arne Fogel with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200; Good News Big Band/Metropolitan Male Chorus with special guest Connie Evingson at the Diamond Lake Lutheran Church; Patrick Harison and Keith Boyles, dinner sets at the Icehouse; "Playing It Close to Home" (winners of the Eric Stokes Songwriting Contest hosted by Zeitgeist) at Studio Z



Patty Peterson
Saturday, February 22. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Tommy and the Liebermen at the Aster Cafe; Patty Peterson and Friends "Celebrate Life" concert (music only or dinner show) at the Icehouse; "Playing It Close to Home" (winners of the Eric Stokes Songwriting Contest hosted by Zeitgeist) at Studio Z; Jon Pemberton Trio at Loring Pasta Bar



Sunday, February 23. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Cafe; Medicinal Jazz Band at the Black Dog (4 pm); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Robert Robinson fundraiser at the Dakota



Monday, February 24. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Pete Hennig at Jazz Central; Embezzler (JT's Jazz Implosion) at the Icehouse



Tuesday, February 25. Nova Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central; Rick Carlson at Cafe Maude; Zacc Harris and Friends at the Black Dog



Wednesday, February 26. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Graydon Peterson at Jazz Central; Minnesota Youth Jazz Band I at Famous Dave's (Uptown)



Thursday, February 27. Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Connie and Herb at The Bean (Andover); JoAnn Funk Trio at the Dakota; Swingbeat Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; new Thursday Late Night series at Jazz Central (9:30) with Carlo Gesualdo Group



Coming Soon!

. February 28, Jack Brass Band Mardi Gras at Schneider Theater, Bloomington Center for Arts

. March 2, Dave King Trucking Company at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music

. March 3-4, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota

. March 4, Jack Brass Band at Amsterdam Bar

. March 6, Dave King at the Walker Art Center

. March 8, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. March 9, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota

. March 16, JazzMN Orchestra with New York Voices (matinee) at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. March 16, Pat Metheny Unity Group at the Fitzgerald Theater

. March 29, Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal, Jazz @St Barney's (St Barnabas Church, Plymouth)

. April 3, Dean Granros and Joel Shapira at the Black Dog

. April 5, Dakota Combo with PipJazz, Capri Theater

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

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

. April 9, Brad Mehldau Trio at the Walker

. 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 15, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota

. April 19, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. 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 Octet 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 10, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. 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 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

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





Manhattan Transfer returns to the Dakota, March 3-4
                         

Friday, February 14, 2014

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



Grammy winner Gregory Porter comes to the Dakota, Sunday 2/16

© Andrea Canter

This week, there jazz for Valentine's Day, jazz to celebrate a new label collective, and of course the usual jazz that celebrates creative collaboration. Although we have a few months to wait, we can also celebrate the announcement of the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival headliners -- Dianne Reeves, Branford Marsalis, Joe Krown and the 2013 Monk Institute saxophone competition winner, Melissa Aldana.



Big Gigs This Week

Sophia Shorai
Friday, February 14. It's Valentine's Day and what goes better with love and chocolate than jazz? Among the options tonight, Maud Hixson  sings of romance and more with Laura Caviani and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200;  Ginger Commodore and Connie Evingson team up as "Sultry Divas" with some ballads, blues and more at the Dakota; Sophia Shorai serenades in the intimate space of Jazz Central.



Friday-Saturday, February 14-15. It's Valentine's Day all weekend in the Lobby Bar of the St Paul Hotel--surely one of the most romantic destinations in the Metro. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske augment their usual weekend of song with saxophonist Pete Whitman, bringing  a new voice to their diverse repertoire of standards from Cole Porter to Blossom Dearie.



Fat Kid Wednesdays
Saturday, February 15. It's billed as a Winter Jazz Festival and the line-up certainly reinforces that idea. Jazz at Studio Z hosts a special evening with five of the region's most creative collaborations, celebrating the launch of a new collective label (Shifting Paradigm Records). Start off early (5 pm) with the internationally acclaimed Fat Kid Wednesdays (Mike Lewis, Adam Linz, JT Bates), followed by the Atlantis Quartet (Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates, Pete Hennig), Bryan Nichols Quintet (Nichols, Brandon Wozniak and Mike Lewis, James Buckley, JT Bates), the Graydon Peterson Quartet (Peterson, Adam Meckler, Vinnie Rose, Adrian Suarez), and closing with the Zacc Harris Group (Harris, Nichols and the Bates brothers).



Koplant No
Even if you stay for the full festival at Studio Z, you should be able to make it across town to catch a visit from Koplant No at the Icehouse (11 pm). Originating in Iowa City, this quartet would fit right in at Studio Z, playing their unique brand of jazz-rock electronica. Led by St Paul native saxophonist Joel Vanderheyden, the band includes the trumpet and electronic keys of Brian Lewis-Smith, bass and synths from Drew Morten, and vibes, samples and percussion from Rob Baner. This marks a fourth visit to the Twin Cities for Koplant No. And no, I haven't any idea where the name comes from.



Aaron James with Gregory Porter
Sunday, February 16.  Making his long-awaited Dakota debut, Grammy-winning vocalist Gregory Porter is a force of nature. To date he has released three albums -- the first two were Grammy nominees, and his 2013 Blue Note debut, Liquid Spirit, won the 2014 Grammy for Best Vocal Jazz Album. And there's been a raft of other awards and accolades from the worlds of jazz, soul, blues and R&B -- Porter manages to meld it all together in one gorgeous baritone and book of original compositions. You can enjoy his albums, but you must see him live. And note it's homecoming for St Paul native Aaron James, long-standing bassist with Porter's ensemble.



Steve Kenny
Monday, February 17. JT's Jazz Implosion tonight at the Icehouse features the too-seldom heard Illicit Sextet (Steve Kenny, Paul Harper, Chris Lomheim, Dave Roos, Tom Pieper, Nathan Norman), still celebrating their 2013 release, Chapter Eleven. One of the area's most popular bands of the 90s, the Illicit Sextet proves that you can go home again, and raise the bar even higher. After their 9:30 set, stick around for a new project from Adam Linz, Percheron, featuring Adam with Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Joe Strachan, Brandon Wozniak, and  JT Bates. Yeah-- one of those ensemble where the "old veterans" are under 40.



Adam Meckler
At Jazz Central, the Monday Night featured artist is trumpeter Adam Meckler, more often heard these days with his orchestra so consider it a treat to be able to focus on this awesome trumpeter/composer. Over in St. Paul, it's Fantastic Merlins night at the Black Dog -- Nathan Hanson, Brian Rosselar and Pete Hennig tossing around musical ideas and generally having a lot of fun with it.



Tuesday, February 18. Last year an unusual double header at Jazz Central brought together old middle school pals, trumpeters Benje Danemann from Kalamazoo, MI and local favorite Adam Meckler, with their vocalist wives, Ashley Danemann and Jana Nyberg. Tonight, it's a double header again, this time at the Dakota with Benje's instrumental quartet in the opening set followed by the Jana Nyberg Group. But you can assume Benje and Adam are going to mix it up along the way! Meanwhile, it is big band night at Jazz Central, and tonight the gig belongs to the Haining-Agster Explosion, and indeed it's an explosive ensemble!



Rhonda Laurie
Wednesday, February 19. A great late night menu combines with some terrific small ensembles at Barbette, tonight featuring vocalist Rhonda Laurie and guitarist Robert Bell. Rhonda's book keeps growing, from a core of classics from the 30s and 40s to jazzy takes on more contemporary material.



Romero Lubambo
Wednesday-Thursday, February 19-20. If you enjoy good guitar from any genre, you need to come down to the Dakota tonight for  "Guitar Passions," featuring three of the best on the planet - Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan and Romero Lubambo. Of the three, Stanley Jordan is most familiar to Dakota audiences, having appeared in trio and solo performances several time over the past few years, wowing us with his "finger-tapping" technique and covering everything from standards to originals to Mozart. Brazilian Lubambo has often been in the company of vocalists like Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves and Louciana Souza, but is a star in his own right. And three-time Grammy winner Isbin has been lauded world-wide for her classical, Spanish, and jazz fusion chops. The threesome has been touring for the past year with this wide-ranging show of incredible talents.



Dorothy Doring
Thursday, February 20. Jazz Central has set aside Thursday nights for vocal jazz but the series finally gets a boost as Maryann Sullivan, with help from Rhonda Laurie, takes over booking the talent. And Maryann reports that she has Thursdays booked into May! Making it even easier, Thursdays songfests run 7-9 pm. Tonight it's a too-rare chance to hear the very versatile Dorothy Doring, whose book runs from Ellington to the Big Easy.



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, February 14. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Charmin Michelle and the Twin Cities Jazz Imports at House of Pizza (Sartell); Tim Patrick and his Blue-Eyed Band at Hell's Kitchen



Saturday, February 15. Charmin & Shapira, Midtown Global Market (12:30-2:30 pm); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Chris Lomheim and Adam Wozniak, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Ticket to Brasil at Loring Pasta Bar; Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson and Patrick Harison, Valentine's show at Squire House Gardens (Afton); Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Peter Ostroushko and Dean Magraw at Riverview Wine Bar



Sunday, February 16. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Cafe; Fuzzy Math (4-6 pm) at the Black Dog; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar



Monday, February 17. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Neighborhood Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, February 18. Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar



Pete Whitman
Wednesday, February 19. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Pete Whitman Presents at Jazz Central; Viv Corringham with Pat O'Keefe, Steve Goldstein and Nathan Hanson at the Black Dog



Coming Soon!

Lots coming but a particular recommendation. Cecile McLorin Salvant won the Monk Vocal Competition a few years ago when she was just 20. Her first CD, Woman Child, had a 2013 Grammy nomination and #2 Best Jazz Recording in the 2013 Downbeat Critics Poll, finishing behind Wayne Shorter's Without a Net. She sings without a net. She composes like Betty Carter and Abbey Lincoln. Hear her at the Dakota on March 9. Next time she comes to town, the price will be a lot higher than $25 and the venue probably a lot bigger.



. February 21, Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog

. February 22, Connie Evingson, Jazz @ St. Barneys

. February 22, "The Envelope Please" with Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson, Bloomington Center for the Arts

. February 22-23, "Girl Talk" (Pippi Ardennia, Charmin Michelle) at the Capri Theater
. February 23, Robert Robinson fundraiser at the Dakota

. February 24-25, Terence Blanchard Quintet at the Dakota

. February 26, Bobby Watson and Horizon at the Dakota

. February 27, Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen

. February 27, Stanley Clarke "School Daze" at The Cedar

. February 28, Jack Brass Band Mardi Gras at Schneider Theater, Bloomington Center for Arts

. March 2, Dave King Trucking Company at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music

. March 3-4, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota

. March 8, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. March 9, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota

. March 16, JazzMN Orchestra with New York Voices (matinee) at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. March 16, Pat Metheny Unity Group at the Fitzgerald Theater

. April 5, Dakota Combo with PipJazz, Capri Theater

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

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

. April 9, Brad Mehldau Trio at the Walker

. April 9-10, Matt Slocum Trio CD release at Weyerhaeuser Auditorium of Landmark Center

. April 10, Delfeayo Marsalis at the Dakota

. April 19, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. April 21, José James at The Cedar

. 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 Octet 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 10, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. 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 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

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



Terence Blanchard (with Joshua Crumbly), coming to the Dakota, February 24-25


















Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 7-13



Kurt Elling returns to the Dakota on February 13
© Andrea Canter

Winter jazz is heating up, thanks in part to the weekend's jump start of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival -- a night of music at the Saint Paul Hotel sponsored by the festival as a casual fundraiser. A new weekly series gets underway at Jazz Central where there's also a memorial for its senior founder, Luis Santiago. Kurt Elling returns to the Dakota at the end of the week, and there's a lot more in-between.



Big Gigs This Week

Festival favorite Jon Weber
Friday, February 7. For the past few winters, the Artists Quarter has hosted a night with pianist Jon Weber as a fundraiser for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The venue has changed and the program expanded as the TCJF invites jazz fans to take a "winter break" at the iconic Saint Paul Hotel. You can enjoy JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar where they have a long-running weekend gig filled with songbook standards and less standard fare from the likes of Blossom Dearie and Peggy Lee; and for a mere $5 cover you can be entertained by the Jon Weber Trio (with AQ stalwarts Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst) in the Promenade Ballroom, with cash bar and an opportunity to make a donation to support the festival. With Weber, of course, you get more than the music-- test his ability to play any song in any key in any style!



Southside Jazz Combo
At Jazz Central, a new series launches to "Bridge the Gap" left by the closing of the Artists Quarter, as some of the younger AQ regulars offer early evening sets. Tonight hear Brandon Wozniak, Zacc Harris, Jeremy Boettcher and Cory Healey starting at 6. Following around 8:30, it's the first installment of the Jazz Police Young Artists Showcase, displaced from the AQ and now taking up residence at Jazz Central approximately every other month. Tonight here a tight quintet from South High, the Southside Combo.  And another young lions ensemble, Courageous Endeavors, takes over Late Night at the Dakota, with Nelson Devereaux, Joe Strachan, Brian Courage and Miguel Hurtado.



Bryan Nichols
Friday-Saturday, February 7-8. Among the artists I most miss from the AQ roster is pianist Bryan Nichols. Fortunately he is often on stage for the weekend dinner sets at the Icehouse, and this weekend pairs up with a favorite cohort, bassist James Buckley. If you want to hear these guys--and you do!--ask for a table near the stage as dinner chatter can be intense on weekends.



Luis Santiago
Sunday, February 9. When musicians Tanner Taylor and Mac Santiago found a vacant studio space on Central Av SE a few years ago,  they considered the pros and cons of opening a performance and teaching space that would help support the local jazz community and expand the audience for live jazz. Mac's dad Luis Santiago jumped right in, offering his financial as well as artistic support for the venture, and Jazz Central was born. Two weeks ago, Luis passed away at age 88, but his spirit and musical talents (Latin percussion) will be remembered today at a memorial event at Jazz Central (2-6 pm). The beat goes on.



Phil Aaron
Monday, February 10.  Veterans have a field day tonight! At Jazz Central, the Monday "featured artist" is pianist Phil Aaron, reuniting with former trio mates Terry Burns and Mac Santiago. Phil is so often associated with his elegant backing of vocalists that we might forget about those sterling post bop chops in instrumental settings. And we don't see enough of bassist Terry Burns on public gigs these days.  At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion brings back the Regional Jazz Trio of Anthony Cox, Mike Lewis and JT Bates. If that doesn't keep your ears open, nothing will.



Chris Bates
Wednesday, February 12. Know more as a soul and pop vocalist, Dionne Farris teams up with noveau jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn who's re-arranged the Farris songbook into a vibrant and jazzy set, at the Dakota. At Jazz Central, Chris Bates' monthly (second Wednesdays) improvisation night brings in a team of young lions with trumpeter Jake Baldwin, pianist Joe Strachan, and drummer Cory Healey. This is a perfect snapshot of the direction of local jazz.



Kurt Elling
Thursday, February 13. There is only one Kurt Elling, and fortunately the perennial Grammy nominee keeps the Dakota on his touring schedule nearly every year. The band will have a new look as vocalist Elling has parted ways with long-time pianist/arranger Laurence Hobgood, putting versatile Gary Versace on keys. He's working on a new recording of ballads, but primarily is promoting his 2012 release, 1619 Broadway.



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, February 7. Debbie Duncan at Parma 8200; Todd Harper followed by the Kronick Quartet at the Black Dog



Saturday, February 8. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JP Jazz Trio (John Paulson) at Michael's (Red Wing)



Sunday, February 9. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Cafe; Fuzzy Math at the Black Dog (4 pm); Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social



Patty Peterson
Monday, February 10. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Benefit for the Southdale YMCA with Patty Peterson and Friends at the Dakota; Paul Renz Trio at Barbette



Tuesday, February 11. Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central; Nova Jazz Orchestra at the Minnesota Music Cafe



Wednesday, February 12. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Capri Big Band at Golden's Deli; Jazzband Wonderband at Barbette; Joey Van Phillips Trio at Cafe Maude



Thursday, February 13. Retro Swing Sister at Jazz Central; Gypsy Mania at Hell's Kitchen




Coming Soon!

. February 14, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. February 14-15, JoAnn Funk Trio with special guest Pete Whitman in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel)

. February 15, Shifting Paradigm Records Launch Party at Studio Z (Fat Kid Wednesdays, Atlantis Quartet, Bryan Nichols Quintet, Zacc Harris Quartet, Graydon Peterson Quartet)

. February 15, Koplant No at the Icehouse

. February 16, Gregory Porter at the Dakota

. February 17, Illicit Sextet at the Icehouse

. February 17, Adam Meckler at Jazz Central

. February 18, Benje Danemann Quartet/Jana Nyberg Group at the Dakota

. February 19-20, "Guitars of Passion" (Romero Lubambo, Stanley Jordan and Sharon Isbin) at the Dakota

. February 22, Connie Evingson, Jazz @ St. Barneys

. February 22, "The Envelope Please" with Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson, Bloomington Center for the Arts

. February 22-23, "Girl Talk" (Pippi Ardennia, Charmin Michelle) at the Capri Theater

. February 24-25, Terence Blanchard Quintet at the Dakota

. February 26, Bobby Watson and Horizon at the Dakota

. February 28, Jack Brass Band Mardi Gras at Schneider Theater, Bloomington Center for Arts

. March 2, Dave King Trucking Company at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music

. March 8, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. March 9, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota

. March 16, JazzMN Orchestra with New York Voices (matinee) at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. March 16, Pat Metheny Unity Group at the Fitzgerald Theater

. April 5, Dakota Combo with PipJazz, Capri Theater

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

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

. April 9, Brad Mehldau Trio at the Walker

. April 9-10, Matt Slocum Trio CD release at Weyerhaeuser Auditorium of Landmark Center

. April 10, Delfeayo Marsalis at the Dakota

. April 19, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. 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 Octet 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 10, Jazz at Studio Z (TBA)

. 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 29, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota

. June 26-28, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (St Paul)

Grammy winner Gregory Porter debuts at the Dakota, February 16th