Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Jazz Day - April 30th!


© Andrea Canter


All over the world, April 30th is celebrated as International Jazz Day, a three-year old global event sponsored by UNESCO and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. In addition to the internationally webcast live concert from host city Osaka, Japan, there are events ranging from club gigs to workshops to panel discussion registered as Jazz Day activities from all corners of the planet.



Jazz Day, like a concentrated edition of April's Jazz Appreciation Month, is a time to reflect on the contribution of jazz to our lives and ears and minds, to our interactions with others, to the underlying concepts of freedom, collaboration, and improvisation-- however narrowly or broadly defined. Jazz can be appreciated and promoted in many ways. Today, I'll take time out to take five (with apologies to Brubeck and Desmond):



Dave Mitchell, MN Youth Jazz Bands
     Jazz educators. Hats off to the many school band directors who squeeze jazz into their budget-slashed curricula and/or direct school jazz ensembles with limited time, limited space, limited resources and still manage to put together terrific concerts and bring students to area festivals to learn and perform. And another nod to the many jazz performers who also spend considerable time in classrooms as clinicians, passing on their knowledge and even more important, their passion. Jazz can be contagious.



Jazz venue owners/managers. This group is unfortunately shrinking as more clubs revamp their music priorities to better meet the bottom line. A full-time jazz club that really focuses on jazz is not easy to find, even in a large metropolitan area. Some nonprofit organizations are finding a niche as producers of jazz events and gigs, and we still have some clubs that cater to local and/or national acts. But those clubs that are part-time purveyors of jazz, local or national, need support to ensure musicians have opportunities to play, to build audiences, to keep the music vital and ever-changing. Jazz once per week is better than no jazz - we need to patronize such venues on jazz nights to remind owners that jazz still has an audience. Thanks to every venue that keeps jazz on the calendar.


Broadcasting Planet Jazz at the Detroit Jazz Fest
Jazz promoters. There's many ways to promote the music without performing or teaching or hosting. The Jazz Journalists Association exists to lend a supportive arena to those who write about it, tell the world about it, broadcast it, evaluate it as a serious art form, show the world what it looks like, and remind listeners to just go and hear it! Then there are those who organize and manage jazz festivals, from small neighborhood gatherings to the largest jazz events in the world -- the mega-festivals, and those who manage and promote individual performers. And there are the organizations that exist to ensure that jazz exists by promoting education and performance from the smallest advocacy foundation to the largest alliance.

Graydon Peterson and Dave Karr
Jazz artists. The music has stayed alive for over 100 years because musicians devote their lives to it, even if doing so means continual debt, long hours of travel hauling instruments and music, performing at times before sparse audiences, and the hassles of gigs and contract negotiations.


Jazz audiences. Remember the old riddle, "If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is a around, does it still make a sound?" If a jazz musician blows a riff in an empty club, does it still swing? Is it jazz if there is no one to react? There's art for art's sake, but is there art without response? Audiences range from kids in a classroom hearing an introduction to jazz history to residents of a nursing home enjoying a recording of Basie, from subscribers to jazz concert series to those fans who seek out after-hours jam sessions, from diners in a restaurant to bar patrons, from tourists seeking a "hot" night spot to neighborhood regulars, from those who simply dig the rhythms to those who can analyze that extended voicing.


Jazz Day is a good time for all the consumers of jazz to think about the value of this music and how we can ensure another, and bigger Jazz Day. Every day.

Keep jazz alive.  It makes us "pleased and flipped."



Friday, April 25, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 25- May 1




© Andrea Canter



It's been Jazz Appreciation Month and on April 30th, it's the third annual International Jazz Day sponsored by UNESCO, and featuring hundreds of registered Jazz Day events throughout the world. Minnesota was the last of the 50 states to register this year -- but now at least two local venues have joined the international listing -- note April 30th gigs at Jazz Central (Kevin Gastonguay Quartet) and the Black Dog (Foreman/Feily/Schmidt/Musselman), ensuring both cities are on the map and, in both cases, boasting some of our most inventive young artists. And of course, there is more jazz this week (including visits from Miguel Zenon and Joe Lovano; the return of the Atlantis Quartet, Jazz Noir and Soul Cafe; an Earth Day Celebration with Dave Milne's One World Consort) and on April 30th. Let's make every day Jazz Day!



Big Gigs This Week

Atlantis Quartet
Friday, April 25. Busy individually and as a band, the Atlantis Quartet returns to action at Jazz Central on the Bridge Series. As a frequent attraction at the Artists Quarter, it's been a bit harder to catch this band of composers and explorers lately, but fortunately their music transcends venue. BTW, the guys will headline the Mears Park Main Stage opening night of the upcoming Twin Cities Jazz Festival! 

Tommy Bruce
At Parma 8200, Thomas Bruce returns to soften your week-end stress levels with sophisticated vocals to accompany your pasta or dolce indulgences.



Miguel Zenon
Saturday, April 26. At the Hopkins High School Auditorium, JazzMN Orchestra closes out a season of dazzling concerts with one more, this time featuring one of the hottest alto saxophonists of the new millenium, Miguel Zenón. He's been to town with the SF Jazz Collective, of which he is a founding member, and he's appeared with his Esta Plena ensemble; this will be his first local gig with a big band. Expect to hear some injections of the folk traditions of his native Puerto Rico. And earlier in the day, come over to the MacPhail Center for Music (1-2 pm) for a free public clinic headed by Zenón.



Mike Lewis
Sunday, April 27. Perhaps this should be Minnesota Jazz Day! Start your day with brunch at the Icehouse and a new trio -- Mike Lewis (on bass, not sax!), Jeremy Ylvisaker on guitar, and Adrian Suarez on drums.  Mike and Jeremy play together in Alpha Consumer; Adrian gets around but most often with Graydon Peterson and Vinnie Rose. Mike is not new to the bass but his long tenure with Happy Apple and Fat Kid Wednesdays has kept his saxophone in the spotlight.



Your choices later in the day might give you serious conflict: At the Dakota, KBEM radio brings the second installment of Jazz Noir, a live radio broadcast in the style of old-time radio. The Black Hand Side That Feeds You --a story about social upheaval and the rise of jazz on Minneapolis' North Side of the late 60s-- was written by Christina Ham and scored by John Penny, and features actors, vocalists and instrumentalists in two performances, the later show broadcast live.

 
David Milne
Or consider celebrating Earth Day with an unusual ensemble merging jazz quartet and string quartet under the leadership of saxophonist/educator David Milne, dubbed the One World Consort. Milne has rearranged Fred Strum's Mother Earth suite, which puts together classical and folkloric themes with an improvisational element. The concert takes place at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community with sponsorship from several area eco-advocacy groups.



It's also a night of jazz and poetry with Soul Café at the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, with a theme of "The Wisdom of Uncertainty." Soul Cafe's latest configuration includes Steve Blons (guitar), Dave Graf (trombone), Brad Holden (alto sax) and Darryl Boudreaux (percussion). Three unusual ensembles and contexts...all on Sunday evening.



Joe Lovano
Monday, April 28.  It's hard to come up with new accolades for Joe Lovano's Us Five, which returns to the Dakota for just one night. Lovano has always surrounded himself with great artists and composers, from his days with Woody Herman to more recent collaborations with Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Hank Jones, and now a quartet with Jack DeJohnette and Esperanza Spalding. But perhaps Us Five has been the capstone of his career thus far, a two-drumset ensemble that has released three acclaimed recordings in the band debuted in 2009. Spalding remains as bassist in the recording studio and occasionally on tour, but typically bass duties belong to Peter Slavov, who has proven himself more than worthy of the position, along with pianist James Weidman (Matt Wilson), drummer Otis Brown III (Lovano Nonet), and drummer Francisco Mela (Kenny Barron, Melissa Aldana, McCoy Tyner, and his Cuban Safari). Lovano never rests on his laurels, which explains his taking top tenor sax honors in the most recent Jazz Times, Downbeat and Jazz Journalists Association polls, as well as a first win in JJA's Multi Reeds category. Expect him to turn up with a taragato, G-Mezzo saxophone and Aulochrome in his box of horns.



Arne Fogel
Tuesday, April 29. There's a fifth Tuesday this month, meaning Jazz Central can squeeze in another big band. Making their JC debut will be the Acme Jazz Company, directed by Doug Rasmussen,  and it's also a celebration of their first CD. On hand will be vocal titan Arne Fogel, guitarist Joan Griffith, alto saxman Miles Mortenson, tenor saxman Bob Parsons, trumpeter Pete Davis, and guest Bruce Thornton on tenor and clarinet, along with the rest of the Company of topnotch big band artists. Acme has performed since 2008 and has amassed one of the largest collections of original charts in the U.S.



Kevin Gastonguay
Wednesday, April 30, International Jazz Day. Perhaps a coincidence but International Jazz Day in Minnesota features two young hip bands on each side of the metro. At Jazz Central, the Kevin Gastonguay Quartet features prolific composer and pianist Gastonguay (founder of Sol Spectre), Zacc Harris on guitar, Andrew Bergmann on bass, and Greg Schutte on drums. This is Jazz Day at Jazz Central, but don't expect purity -- Kevin is known for blurring the lines between jazz, R&B, rock and more.   

Andrew Foreman
Over at the Black Dog, it's another gathering young explorers-- Andrew Foreman (bass), David Feily (guitar), Zach Schmidt (drums) and Dan Musselman (piano). They also straddle genres, blending jazz, indie rock and alternative pop.



Although not a registered Jazz Day event, a new trio at Barbette is certainly worthy: (Park)Evans/ (Brian) Courage/ (Pete) Hennig is a new collective of active metro jazzers who have worked with Parker Paisley, the Atlantis Quartet, and Courageous Endeavors. Their repertoire draws from a mix of original compositions, fresh new arrangements, and lesser known standards. (See other gigs that fall on Jazz Day on the calendar below.)



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 25. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, solo piano followed by Rhizosphere at the Black Dog; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel);  Bryan Nichols and Brian Courage, dinner sets followed by Black Market Brass at the Icehouse; Red Baraat at Orchestra Hall; Brass Messengers at Sweet 317



Saturday, April 26. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar ; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Cory Wong and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Jon Pemberton at Loring Pasta Bar



Sunday, April 27. Off the Cuff at the Aster; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Concordia University Jazz Ensemble and Vox 9 at Buetow Music Center (Concordia University)



Charmin Michelle
Monday, April 28. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; University of Minnesota Jazz Ensemble I and II at Ted Mann; Lars-Erik Larson and the No Coast Quartet at the Icehouse; Dave Karr Quartet at Jazz Central



Tuesday, April 29.  Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar



Wednesday, April 30, Jazz Day!  Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza;  Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Midweek Mambo with Charanga Tropicale at Loring Pasta Bar; Josh Granowski and Joe Strachan at Cafe Maude



Thursday, May 1. Erin Radtke at Jazz Central; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @Christos (Union Depot)   



Coming Soon!

. 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 Trio, Jazz at the Steeple Center (Rosemount)

. May 5, Peter Vircks Quartet at the Icehouse

. May 6, Dean Magraw and Eric Gravatt at the Black Dog

. 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 24, Diane Schuur at the Dakota

. 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)

. June 30, Craig Handy at the Dakota

. July 1, Nels Cline and Julian Lage at the Dakota

. 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



Women in Jazz, Workshop ( 2pm) and Concert (7 pm) May 3rd, Maplewood Community Theater















Monday, April 21, 2014

Take Five




Adam Linz and the Dakota Combo at Chippewa Middle School (Mounds View)
© Andrea Canter
Five cool things in jazz last week:

Good Vibes Trio
Good Vibes Trio CD release at the Icehouse (April 14). A week after a private gathering to preview his latest recording project, Chris Bates brought his Good Vibes Trio (with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey) into the often-raucous Icehouse for the official celebration. And what a joy to be in a venue with a room full of listeners as serious as the musicians on stage. The lighting was more punk rock but the music was post bop magic, drawn from the album as well as the out-takes, originals from band members and elegant arrangements of Mingus, Coleman, Coltrane and more. Good vibes, indeed.

Levi Schwartzberg, Dakota Combo
The Dakota Combo Annual School Tour (April 17). Every year since 2007, the all-star high school ensemble, the Dakota Combo, has taken a day to visit 2-3 metro-area schools to perform and inform. The touring day was initiated by Kelly Rossum during his tenure as Jazz Coordinator and combo director at MacPhail Center for Music. Since 2009, the Combo has been guided by Adam Linz. By all accounts, the 2014 tour was the best yet, in terms of audience and young artist enthusiasm as well as logistical comfort. Many in the three school audiences were only marginally acquainted with jazz, but asked great questions about the music, the instruments, practicing, etc. It was a good day selling jazz!

Christopher McBride
Eden Prairie High School Band Fundraiser (April 17). It takes a village.... or at least supportive parents! The jazz program, as well as the entire music department, got a boost with a day of student clinics and an evening of performance featuring the five musicians of the Christopher McBride Quintet. Sponsored by parents, the evening was a fund-raiser for the EPHS band program, and featured three student jazz ensembles as well as two sets from McBride's band. McBride (alto saxophonist) himself is a good ambassador for jazz-- his enthusiasm is contagious and his music is joyful.  Hats off to band director Mike Whipkey, parents, and student musicians.

Ragamala ensemble
Ragamala Dance and Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rehearsal for "Song of the Jasmine." The only thing more cool than rehearsal will be the performances May 15-18 at the Walker Art Center. Walker co-commissioned this collaboration between locally based Ragamala Dance and world renowned saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa, now in rehearsal for the world premiere performances. Traditional South India dance melds with jazz improvisation and traditional Carnatic music. My sneak preview is high on my list of cool things-- for the year. Tickets still available.

Bobby McFerrin's spirityouall at Orchestra Hall (April 19). One-time resident Creative Director for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, McFerrin now is only rarely on stage in the Twin Cities, but whenever he's in town, it's like we've been hit with a lightning rod of invention. McFerrin has found unusual and satisfying ways to manipulate the human voice -- aptly demonstrated by his multi-voiced solo rendition of the National Anthem and his delightful duet with local protegé Judi (Donaghy) Vinar.

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















Monday, April 14, 2014

Take Five: Studio Vibes, Jazzin Mandolin, 2 Drums, 7 Psalms, and Desert Island Picks


 
A Tale of Two Drummers: Matt Slocum and Phil Hey at Landmark Center

© Andrea Canter
The Star Tribune has a good idea -- every Sunday you can read about recent arts happenings from two perspectives, dubbed Pick Six. Two writers -- usually a Strib staffer and an invited guest--each select three highpoints in their arts week. Once in a while, a jazz event makes the cut. Not often enough. So I decided if the Strib can "Pick Six," surely I can "Take Five" of my favorite jazz-related events of the past week. So here's my picks:


Good Vibes Trio
  • April 6, Creation Audio "Parlor" Music, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio. In what will hopefully be the first of many such "parlor concerts," Steve Wiese opened the studio at Creation Audio to a small audience to hear a preview of the Good Vibes Trio's debut, self-titled recording. The music was actually recorded at Terrarium Studios but no matter, the studio with real sound engineers managing the acoustics was an ideal setting for such glorious music, from Mingus to Coltrane to Bates, Hagedorn and Hey.
Brad Mehldau
  • April 8, McGuire Theater (Walker Art Center), Brad Mehldau and Chris Thile. Mehldau alone or with his trio (who performed the next night) is a major force in American jazz, but who knew his most formidable partner yet would be a bluegrass mandolinist? Thile seems to have the chops to be a major force in anything he attempts, and with Mehldau he proved to be a perfect fit to the sounds of jazz, country, folk, classical and of course bluegrass, all of which melded together beautifully in this unexpected duo format. But the highlight of the evening was an even more unexpected, breathtaking vocal performance by Thile on "I Cover the Waterfront."
Matt Slocum
  • April 9-10, Landmark Center's Weyerhaeuser Auditorium, Matt Slocum and Friends. Former area resident and now acclaimed drummer Matt Slocum finished a short CD release tour back home, setting up his drumkit for two nights at Landmark Center and inviting some friends to play additional sets. I caught night two, featuring a stunning solo set from Bryan Nichols, the centerpiece trio set from Slocum (with Sam Yahel on piano and Massimo Biolcati on bass), a two-drum duo with former mentor Phil Hey, and the closing set from the Dave Karr Quartet with Hey on drums. (The Phil Hey Quartet with second drummer was featured on the previous night.) Each set had its own agenda, overlapping influences and personnel giving the full show some cohesion.  Favorite moments-- the friendly fire of the two-drum interaction; the friendly exchange between Hey and Karr in the closing quartet.
Jeremy Walker and Jason Harms
  • April 11, Bethel College Benson Great Hall, Jeremy Walker's 7 Psalms CD Release.  A year ago, Jeremy Walker premiered his concert-length suite, 7 Psalms. A few tweaks to the score and a new choir later, Walker recorded in a St. Paul church and released the result in a St Paul college hall. The texts were simply taken verbatim from seven of Jeremy's favorite psalms; the music bears the imprint of Walker's muse Duke Ellington, as well as other influences from classical and jazz idioms. Vocal soloist Jason Harms and the 17-voice 7 Psalms Chamber Choir added some soulful energy to an already-soaring score; saxman Brandon Wozniak played High Priest, honoring Coltrane.
Connie Evingson
  • April 13, Jungle Theater, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber's "Desert Island Picks."  Sharing the stage on a Prairie Home Companion cruise, Connie and Jon started listing the music they would hope to have in hand if stranded on a desert island.  Soon they had the ingredients for a Jazz at the Jungle show, adding bassist Gordy Johnson. Their choices included Peggy Lee, Lerner and Lowe, Dave Frishberg, the Beatles, and more, with special turns by both Weber and Johnson on solo vocals and a smirk-inducing "My Attorney Bernie" by Connie.