Friday, February 13, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 13-19

Red Planet at the James J Hill Center on February 19th
© Andrea Canter

A bunch of jazzy Valentine's Day gigs, some new and old configurations, a rare visit from one of the kings of contemporary jazz and more warm up the winter this week.

Valentine's Celebrations
Andrew Walesch
Friday, February 13. A young singer/pianist in the tradition of Sinatra, Andrew Walesch is heard around town (Parma, Crooners Lounge, Chanhassan Dinner Theater) in intimate ensembles and fronting big bands. Tonight he spins romance at Parma 8200.

Pete Whitman
Friday-Saturday, February 13-14.  Pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff  Brueske play in the elegant Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel) every Friday and Saturday night, but for Valentines' Day weekend they have a special guest, tenor saxophonist Pete Whitman to up the romance quotient. JoAnn is known for her affinity for Blossom Dearie, Peggy Lee, Diana Krall and more, but anything can happen when you add in sax!

Yolande Bruce
The owners of the Dakota are dropping live hints as to the next music club to occupy the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul with a series of "pop-up" events. For Valentine's Day weekend, they're showing their eclectic tastes with a jazzy Friday night gig featuring Moore by Four's Yolande Bruce on vocals with backing from drummer Bobby Commodore and friends.  Saturday night, Twin Cities native singer/songwriter Sarah Morris takes the stage. Come check it out before they close for renovations to get ready for their formal opening.

Nachito Herrera
Saturday, February 14.  One of the best known voices in the Twin Cities, Connie Evingson offers a "This Funny Thing Called Love" in the Cabaret of Camp Bar with pals Dave Karr, Adi Yeshaya, Gary Raynor and Mac Santiago. Her repertore is endless, from songbook gems to hot club swing to the Beatles and David Frishberg. At the Dakota, a truly smoldering date night awaits with our best known import from Cuba, pianist extraordinaire Nachito Herrera. Whether playing his native son or rhumba, interpretations of Ellington or Earth, Wind and Fire, or dazzling Rachmaninoff, your ears, and your feet, will never be the same. Reservations essential for either the dinner or cocktail show. 

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson
For a somewhat more snarky approach, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson present "Bad for Each Other: A Bent Valentine" for the dinner sets at the Icehouse. Maud describes it as “an alternative: a cynical and snarky celebration of a syrupy Hallmark holiday." This won't be the usual menu of songbook standards. "Think Cole Porter’s ‘Love for Sale.’ Or ‘Miss Otis Regrets.’" You will have no regrets spending your Valentines' Day evening with Maude and Rick. Unless you fail to make a reservation.

Patty Peterson, "The Girls"
The Hopkins Center for the Arts presents "This Thing Called Love." In varying combinations, these six of the most beloved voices in the Twin Cities have performed as The Girls, and tonight they are all on stage to celebrate Valentines' Day and themes of romance. Lori Dokken, Judi (Donaghy) Vinar, Patty Peterson, Debbie Duncan, Erin Schwab and Rachel Holder-Hennig bring magic to their harmonies. Courtesy appetizers before the show.

Big Gigs This Week
Irv Williams
Friday, February 13. Irv Williams plays happy hour at the Dakota every Friday but this one is special-- he's playing with piano, and the pianist is Mary Louise Knutson! It's a very rare pairing, but hard to imagine a better partner for Mr. Smooth than MLK!

Eric Gravatt
Weather Report alum drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt returns to the Bridge Series at Jazz Central with "Friends." Tonight his friends include Coltranish saxman Brandon Wozniak, wide-roaming guitarist Zacc Harris, and way-too-young-to-be-this-good bassist Charlie Lincoln, who still has a few months left of high school.

Chris Bates
And it is Friday the 13th and only appropriate that we hear from The Fall of the House of Usher at the Icehouse, which describes the band as "East, West, North African, 80s East Village, Qawwali Trance, Early 70s Psychedelic Miles, and Good Old New Orleans Vampire Funk." The ensemble features a multi-generational melange of musicians including Chris Cunningham, Chris Bates, Nathan Hanson, Greg Schutte, Cole Pulice and more.

Romero Lubambo
Less scary but surely as musical is a the three-guitar extravaganza at the Dakota, with the Assad Brothers and Romero Lubambo. Brothers Sergio and Odair Assad have helped create new interest in both Brazilian guitar and guitar duos with a repertoire that includes original music composed by Sérgio and his re-workings of folk and jazz music as well as a wide range of Latin styles, classical works, and adaptations of the likes of Gershwin and Debussy. Another Brazilian, Romero Lubambo has dazzled Twin Cities audiences recently, touring with Sharon Isbin's Guitar Passions and with Dianne Reeves as the headline act of the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Paul Harper
Saturday, February 14. If you are less inclined toward a romantic evening and instead seeking some hot modern jazz, look no farther than the Black Dog's ongoing Saturday night programming. Tonight, veteran saxophonist Paul Harper steps out from his work with the Illicit Sextet and Charmin & Shapira and Friends to lead his quartet with guitarist Mike Cramer, bassist Charlie Riddle and drummer Nathan Norman. Come early-- your best chance for a table plus the opportunity to hear the opening band, in this case Central Standard Time with young Charlie Lincoln and Alex Burgess mixing it up with "old timers" Steve Kenny and David Roos.

Laura Caviani
Sunday, February 15. How about a jazzy Mardi Gras celebration while raising funds for homeless youth? The Longfellow Jazz Sextet includes some familiar names coming together to help support the Metro Homeless Youth Program of Lutheran Social Services in this mid-afternoon gig at Christ Church Lutheran (Minneapolis) -- Laura Caviani, piano; Bill Simenson, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Pete Enblom, trombone; Bruce Heine, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and Judi Donaghy Vinar, guest vocalist.

Andrew Foreman (Chomsky)
It's always cool to hear a new ensemble. Together for just a few months, Chomsky turns up the heat at the Aster Cafe tonight. A collaborative project headed by bassist Andrew Foreman, Chomsky straddles art rock, modern jazz and indie pop through the inventions of Foreman, Thomas Nordlund (guitar, effects), Jake Baldwin (trumpet, effects), and Zach Schmidt (drums). They'll offer a mix of original works and unique covers.

Jon Wood
Monday, February 16. The "featured performer" spotlight at Jazz Central is turned on an ensemble dubbed "Iron Chops"-- with young guitarist Jon Wood and veteran saxophonist Dave Brattain. Jon's been performing all over the metro lately and organized the recent Minnesota Jazz Guitar Summit at Jazz Central.

Chris Thomson
Plan to stay out late to catch the Enormous Quartet on JT's Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse. This band does not perform nearly often enough -- with Chris Thomson on saxes, Park Evans on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and Joey Van Phillips on drums. Four guys with an "enormous" sound and equally big imaginations.

Tuesday, February 17. It's third Tuesday, and Fat Tuesday-- and it's Jack Brass Band night at the Amsterdam. An original New Orleans brass band in Minnesota? You betcha!  And if you want an even bigger band tonight, it's also Explosion Big Band night at Jazz Central. Between Minneapolis and St. Paul, that should be enough brass to send musical messages right down the Mississippi to the Delta.

David Sanborn (Facebook photo)
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 17-18. One of the living icons of contemporary jazz, multi-Grammy winning saxophonist David Sanborn has played with the Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Gil Evans, Paul Simon, James Taylor and more, and has hosted a number of television and radio shows. Recently Dave has returned more often to his jazz roots, and in 2015 will be featured on the Smooth Jazz Cruise and in performance with the great Al Jarreau. Joining Sanborn for two nights at the Dakota is long-time associate and one of Minnesota's favorite sons, Ricky Peterson.
Ricky Peterson

Noah Ophoven-Baldwin
Wednesday, February 18. It must be Young Lions Night at Jazz Central, although the calendar reads "New Music" night. Trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin leads a trio of 20-somethings, with pianist Joe Strachan and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Don't let their youth fool you-- these guys have been playing improvised music since their early teens, and lately a fair amount with each other.

Cameron Kinghorn
Thursday, February 19. Vocal night at Jazz Central features rising star Cameron Kinghorn. Cameron might be better known around town as a trumpeter--with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Black Market Brass, New Sound Underground, Jazzland Wonderband and more, but he's also building a reputation as a vocalist with jazz and R&B leanings -- heard with the new Nooky Jones.

In St. Paul's James J. Hill Center, Red Planet opens the next installment of the Realphonic Radio Hour (featuring Shannon McNally). Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein are never second bananas and always worth the ticket. Plus the setting is just plain elegant.

Dean Granros
Khyber Pass continues its Thursday series of cutting edge jazz improvisers, tonight featuring one of the masters of it all, guitarist Dean Granros. Two sets of solo improvisations!

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

Friday, February 13. Don Strong, happy hour, followed by Larry Dunsmore at Crooners' Lounge; Todd Harper, happy hour at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Classic Big Band and the Nostalgics at Bloomington KC Hall; Jason Squinobal Quartet (with Dave Hagedorn, Chris Bates and Cory Healey) at Studio Z

Saturday, February 14. Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows at Patisserie 46 (3 pm); Don Strong, happy hour at Crooners Lounge; John Paulson with Swing Inc. at Signatures (Winona); Pavel Jany's Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Maurice Jacox Trio at Normandy Kitchen; No Name Jazz at Underground Music Cafe

Sunday, February 15. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jennifer Grimm, Manitou Station

Denny Malmberb
Monday, February 16. Denny Malmberg and guest at Fireside Pizza; BZ3 Organ Trio at the Narrows Saloon

Tuesday, February 17.  Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude

Wednesday, February 18. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Jazz at the Tangiers

Thursday, February 19. Maud Hixson at Crooners Lounge; Beasley's Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; John Devine and Friends at Loring Pasta Bar

Coming Soon!
. February 20, Chris Lomheim Trio at Jazz Central
. February 20, Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 20, Pete Snell and Drew Oliver at Blackwater Bistro (Wayzata)
. February 21, Studio Z Winter Jazz Festival (Adam Meckler Orchestra, Endeavors, Atlantis Quartet, Mancrush, Nichols/Bates/Bates, Graydon Peterson Quartet)
. February 21, Glen David Andrews at the Dakota
. February 21, Good Vibes Trio at the Black Dog (Opening - Central Standard Time)
. February 21, U Wisconsin River Falls Jazz Ensemble with Donny McCaslin, William Abbot Concert Hall at UW-River Falls
. February 21, Twin Cities Cabaret Network Salon at Town House Bar
. February 22, Lulu's Playground at Jazz Central (3 pm)
. February 23, Irv Williams at Jazz Central
. February 23, Quintet Party with Red 5 and Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band at the Icehouse
. February 24, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central
. February 25, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. February 25, Leisure Valley at Cafe Maude
. February 27, Javi Santiago and Friends at Jazz Central
. February 28, U of M Jazz Festival with guest Pat Mallinger (evening concert)
. February 28, Zacc Harris Group at the Black Dog (Opening - Central Standard Time)
. February 28, Arne Fogel & Jennifer Eckes, “What The World Needs Now: The Songs of Burt Bacharach & Hal David” at the Bloomington Center for the Arts
. February 28, Minnesota State University Mankato Jazz Mavericks, with Mike Stern and Kenni Holmen in Halling Recital Hall, MSU Mankato
. March 2, Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands Winter Concert at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
. March 3, Rene Marie at the Dakota
. March 4, Pedrito Martinez Group at the Dakota
. March 5, Katia Cardenas (tribute to Ella Fitzgerald) at Jazz Central
. March 6, Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw at The Nicollet
. March 6, "Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey" with Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium
. March 7, DD7 at the Black Dog (Opening - Charles Lincoln Group)
. March 9, David Sanchez Quartet at the Dakota
. March 10-11, Cassandra Wilson at the Dakota
. March 12, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater
. March 13, Foreign Motion at The Nicollet
. March 13, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 13, Katia Cardenas at Mattie's on Main
. March 13, Charanga Tropicale, "Two Nights to Cuba" at the Bedlam Theater (St Paul)
. March 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 14, Charanga Tropicale "Two Nights to Cuba" at The Cedar
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. March 20, Invisible Guy (Ben Goldberg, Michale Coleman and Hamir Atwal) at the Icehouse
. March 23-24, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
. March 25-26, Delfeayo Marsalis (Southern Gentleman) at the Dakota
. March 27, How Birds Work at The Nicollet
. March 29, Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer at the Dakota
. March 31, Eliane Elias Trio at the Dakota
. April 1, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. April 12, Anat Cohen Quartet at the Dakota
. April 16, Anthony Cox and Jeremy Walker, "Rage of Achilles" at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. April 16, Bettye LaVette at the Dakota
. April 17, Ann Hampton Callaway at Orchestra Hall
. April 24, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. April 25, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob Mintzer at Hopkins l High School Auditorium
. April 25-26, Irv Williams, Legends concert at The Capri
. April 26, KBEM's Jazz Noir at the Dakota
. April 27, Omar Sosa at the Dakota
. April 29-30, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota
. May 2, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at the Walker
. May 9, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" -- afternoon workshop and evening concert at The Bedlam
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)

Good Vibes Trio at the Black Dog, February 21-- Winter Jazz Fest After Party!