Friday, February 20, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 20-26


The Adam Meckler Orchestra leads off the Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z, February 21
© Andrea Canter
The Polar Vortex has returned! But so has the Twin Cities Jazz Vortex! This weekend marks the second annual Winter Jazz Festival sponsored by Shifting Paradigm Records and Jazz at Studio Z, along with performances from the Chris Lomheim Trio, Maryann Sullivan's Corner Jazz, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Lulu's Playground, a CD release from East Side, and more.... and then comes another week of music featuring Mr. Smooth Irv Williams, Chris Bates' (again) Red Five, Bela Fleck... That should be more than enough to melt whatever ice and snow comes our way.

Big Gigs This Week
Chris Lomheim
Friday, February 20. After a long break from recording and composing, pianist Chris Lomheim returned to the studio last spring with trio cohorts Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein to lay down tracks for Timelines, an all-originals effort that yielded a sold-out release at Studio Z and several sparkling gigs at other venues. With backing from Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy, Chris performs tonight on the Bridge Series at Jazz Central. And this is no thrown-together trio; this threesome has performed and recorded under Kennedy's leadership and will be releasing a recording (this trio's second) later this year.

Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz
At the Black Dog, Maryann Sullivan returns with her Corner Jazz (Doug Haining, Joe Strachan, Jim Chenoweth, Trevor Haining). There's no room for swing dancing but foot-tapping and swaying can not be suppressed! Corner Jazz adds a new sound tonight as young keyboard sensation Joe Strachan takes the place of the usual guitar.

East Side
At Parma 8200, Friday nights are typically reserved for vocalists, but tonight it's the Joel Shapira Trio, with Joel's guitar serving as the evening's lead voice. Guitar also is prominently featured at Hell's Kitchen, where the quartet East Side (Reynold Philipsek, Clint Hoover, Matt Senjem, Michael Bissonnette) celebrates their CD release, Astoria. It's a special treat since harmonicist Hoover moved to Pittsburgh a few years ago and his Twin Cities gigs are few and too far between. The recording features four compositions from prolific guitarist Philipsek and a pair from Hoover.

Doug Little
Doug Little's Seven Steps to Havana is one of the longest-running (or the longest running?) Cuban jazz ensembles in town. Tonight they will captivate the audience at the Dakota with their hot-from-Havana rhythms. Dancing is allowed.

Friday-Sunday, February 20-22. KBEM presents "Captured Currents", a multi-media production featuring the collaboration of stride pianist Butch Thompson, choreographer Sarah Larose-Holland, and photographer Craig Blacklock at the Lab Theater. The theme of water brings together music, photography and dance inspired by Blacklock's landscape photos.

Zacc Harris
Saturday, February 21st.  There's some good music throughout the metro today, but if you want the most bang for the buck and a true festival of jazz without running between venues in zero-degree weather, just plan on spending your afternoon and evening at Studio Z. Shifting Paradigm Records and Zacc Harris' Jazz at Studio Z have put together an amazing line-up for the second annual Winter Jazz Fest. Starting at 3 pm, you can hear (in order) the many stars of the Adam Meckler Orchestra; a reconstituted quartet of young lions, now called Endeavors; a trio of three of the region's most accomplished improvisers--Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates and JT Bates, dubbed simply Nichols/Bates/Bates; the ever-creative Atlantis Quartet (Brandon Wozniak, Zacc Harris, Chris Bates, Pete Hennig); the original harmonies and compositions of the Graydon Peterson Quartet; and a relatively new ensemble that is making its own waves, Mancrush, led by drummer Lars-Erik Larson with Harris, Wozniak and Nichols. Tickets a mere $15 for the full fest.


Dave Hagedorn (Good Vibes)
Part of its weekly Saturday Night Jazz series and just a bit over a block from Studio Z, the Black Dog hosts the "after fest" with Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio taking the stage (officially at 8:30, more likely around 9). With Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums, Good Vibes is one of the most exciting small ensembles around. The evening's opening set is performed by the new band Central Standard Time, with Steve Kenny, David Roos, Charlie Lincoln and Alden Ikeda.


Robert Everest

Another festival gets underway at International Market Square, with afternoon and evening events -- the 13th Annual Carnaval Brasileiro. Bigger than ever, this year's event covers three performance stages, hosted by acclaimed guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his 10-piece Beira Mar Brasil. Brazilian vocalist Dandara joins Everest, with more music from Brazilian percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheart, and more entertainers.

Out in the western burbs, its another Jazz at St Barney's night, this time featuring vocalist Maurice Jacox. Winner of the Minnesota Music Academy Jazz Award, City Pages Best Male Vocalist, and the Blues Society Best Blues Artist, this veteran crooner salutes Nat King Cole.

Steven Hobert

Sunday, February 22. On a rare Sunday afternoon show, two bands headed by old friends go back to back at Jazz Central. Lulu's Playground features oddball instrumentation that somehow works-- accordion, trumpet, cello and guitar (Steven Hobert, Adam Meckler, Cory Grossman and Ben Abrahamson). Lulu will be followed by the Paul Dietrich Quintet from Chicago, the common denominator here being Meckler and Dietrich who overlapped their studies at Lawrence Univeristy. Trumpeter Dietrich earned his Master's at DePaul in Chicago and is currently touring the Midwest with his ensemble.

Irv Williams
Monday, February 23. It's long overdue-- Irv Williams will take the spotlight on Featured Artist Night at Jazz Central! At 95, Irv has managed to maintain his "Mr Smooth" sound, playing weekly for happy hour at the Dakota and only an occasional gig in-between.

Veterans of another generation but still full of swing, vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira gather their "Friends" (Paul Harper, Tom Lewis, Nathan Norman) for a Foodie Night (no cover) at the Dakota. That has to be the bargain of the week. Or month.


And you can get your improv fix at the Icehouse tonight, with a double header "Implosion" that should keep you wide awake. Dubbed the Sweet Quintet party, the evening starts off (9:30 pm) with Chris Bates and his Red 5 band, with saxophonists Brandon Wozniak and Chris Thomson, trumpeter Zack Lozier, drummer JT and bassist Chris Bates performing new compositions from their first album (New Hope) and beyond. The late set belongs to young drummer Cory Healey and his Beautiful Sunshine Band-- Wozniak again on sax, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Zacc Harris on guitar and Erik Fratzke on bass.  Rest up as you want to be able to hang in for both sets!

Katia Cardenas
Tuesday, February 24. One of the new bright voices in town belongs to Katia Cardenas, who seems as comfortable with Ella as with Aretha and Carole King. She's on stage for another Dakota Foodie Night, in the fine company of Kevin Gastonguay, Andrew Foreman and Trevor Haining. Over at Cafe Maude, Rick Carlson holds his monthly piano lesson -- everything you want to know about sophisticated swing.



Andrew Walesch
Tuesday-Wednesday, February 24-25. If you have not yet checked out the new Crooners Lounge (old Shorewood space) in Fridley, this week offers a good opportunity with back-to-back gigs with pianist-vocalist Andrew Walesch-- in trio Tuesday, quartet on Wednesday. Sinatra is long gone but, with style and talent to burn, Andrew truly fits the intent of Crooners Lounge. And the menu is getting rave reviews.










Bela Fleck
Wednesday, February 25. Co-sponsored by the Dakota, O'Shaughnessy presents one of the most dynamic couples in music--banjoists Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Each is well established on banjo, and together they add vocals for a delightful evening of roots music.

We often take standing gigs for granted. Don't make that mistake regarding Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg's Monday and Wednesday night shows at Fireside Pizza. Fireside will close in a few weeks for a couple months of renovations, so make sure you get to Richfield on an upcoming Monday or Wednesday night for a good dose of swinging duo (vocal and accordion) jazz and a slice (or a whole pie) of some of the area's best thin-crust.

Thursday, February 26. The weekly improvised music series at Khyber Pass Cafe continues with a fascinating double-header. Tuba master Benjamin J. Mansavage Klein presents solo music for tuba, electronics and mechanical instruments, followed by a duo set with percussionist Nick Zielinkski.

An unusual show at the Walker Art Center, the Campbell Brothers celebrate the 50th anniversary of Coltrane's A Love Supreme. With a sound dubbed "sacred steel," brothers Chuck, Darick and Phil Campbell meld African American gospel with electric steel guitars and vocals as they revisit one of the masterpieces of jazz --or any music.

Pat Mallinger
The Underground Music Cafe is a relatively new venue in Falcon Heights. Tonight, the Fireside Jazz Quintet led by  U of M trombone prof Tom Ashworth has a very jazz-worthy guest sitting in, saxophonist Pat Mallinger. Based in Chicago, the St Paul native is in town as guest artist for the U of M Jazz Festival (Saturday, 2/28). Other familiar faces in the quintet include Gordy Johnson, Phil Hey, Phil Aaron and Brian Grivna. 

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 20. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, happy hour at the Black Dog; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; John Paulson with Swing, Inc. at Signatures (Winona); Pete Snell and Drew Oliver at Blackwater Bistro (Maple Plain); Steven Hobert and Firefly Forest at the 331 Club

Donny McCaslin
Saturday, February 21. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Glen David Andrews at the Dakota; UW-River Falls Jazz Ensemble with Donny McCaslin at William Abbot Concert Hall (River Fall, WI); Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network, monthly salon at Town House Bar; Pavel Janey's Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar

Sunday, February 22. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Cafe Accordion at the Como Park Conservatory; Off the Cuff featuring Adam Conrad at the Aster Cafe

Monday, February 23. Sheridan Zuther at Crooners Lounge; Denny Malmberg and Paula Lammers at Fireside Pizza; BZ3 Organ Trio at The Narrows Saloon; Jerry the Jazz Giraffe at Underground Music Cafe; College of St Benedict Jazz Ensemble, Escher Auditoriuim (St Joseph, MN)

Tuesday, February 24. Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, February 25. McNally Smith College of Music X-Tet at Jazz Central

Thursday, February 26. Swingbeat Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; Jazz Showcase with Tom Ashworth at Underground Music Cafe; Erin Livingston at Jazz Central

Coming Soon!
. 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 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 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. 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 28, Dakota Combo at the Black Dog
. 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)


Rene Marie returns to the Dakota on March 3