Friday, March 6, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, March 6-12

Jack Dejohnette leads a band with AACM alums at The Walker (March 12)

© Andrea Canter
It's a weekend of local heroes followed by a week of visiting legends and legends-in-the-making, from JT Bates' Organ Trio, Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw launching a new weekly jazz series and Anthony Cox and pals in a live recording gig to visits from David Sanchez, Cassandra Wilson, and an ensemble with Jack DeJohnette and Roscoe Mitchell. Be still, my ears!

Big Gigs This Week
Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw
Friday, March 6. If one weekly series is good, another is even better. That was the thinking of Steve Kenny, whose Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog has proven to be a welcome addition to the area jazz scene. So why not bring a similar series to Minneapolis? Tonight he starts Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet, bringing such heady music as tonight's Eric Gravatt/Dean Magraw Duo to the relaunched coffee shop (now serving wine and beer) on the corner of Nicollet and Franklin. The idea is to start at 8:30 pm (that's jazz time) and encourage folks to come over from Jazz Central's 7:30 pm "Bridge" Series for a nightcap. Hard to imagine a better opening draw than Gravatt and Magraw, whose Fire on the Nile was one of the best jazz releases of 2014.

JT Bates
And indeed, start the evening earlier at Jazz Central with JT Bates' B-3 Organ Trio, a melding of the drummer's sonic antics with the guitartistry of Zacc Harris and the B-3 magic of Kevin Gastonguay. These three musicians can easily shake the basement walls on Central Av.

Avery Sharpe
One of the unsung heroes of jazz bass, Avery Sharpe and his trio are on the road with dancer/singer/actress Jasmine Guy to celebrate the Harlem Renaissance in the multi-media production of Raisin' Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Oddysey, on stage tonight at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium.  It's a rare opportunity for Minnesotans to see these artists.

Nothing beats a relaxing Friday evening than a few hours at Parma 8200 with vocalist Maud Hixson  and her trio (with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson), maybe some pasta and a cannolli? Help Maud warm up for her London gig at the end of the month!

Andrew Walesch
Friday-Saturday, March 6-7. Young crooner and bandleader Andrew Walesch celebrates one of his muses at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater (Fireside Stage) this weekend with "100 Years of Sinatra." Old Blue-Eyes would have hit the century mark, and thanks to a new generation of singers like Walesch, his legacy continues in live performance. For this production, Andrew brings in his big band to take a tour through Sinatra's career and most beloved songs. Tickets remain for Friday night only.

Anthony Cox (DD7)
Saturday, March 7. At the Black Dog, the youngest local stars will open tonight for one of the most star-studded area bands. At 7 pm, check out the talent in the Charles Lincoln Group. This sextet is led by bassist (South High senior) Charlie Lincoln, who has made quite a name for himself playing with Eric Gravatt, Central Standard Time and his own ensembles, as well as nabbing "youth" titles for innovative music and songwriting via Zeitgeist. Charlie's band includes U of M freshman Levi Schwartzberg on Rhodes, high schoolers Peter Goggin on sax, Aidan Sponheim on trumpet, and Sam Stroup on electronics, and St Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists grad Joey Hayes on drums. The headline band tonight, DD7, brings together acclaimed veterans Anthony Cox on bass, Mike Lewis, Brandon Wozniak, and Steve Kenny on horns and JT Bates on drums, along with the trappings for a live recording. Come early and stay put.

Hugh Masekela
One of the faces of global jazz, South African flugelhornist Hugh Masekela is touring with vocalist Vusi Mahlasela (known in South Africa as "The Voice") in a musical celebration of "20 years of Freedom." We've heard both in shows at the Dakota, but tonight they perform together at The Ordway.

Zack Lozier
Sunday, March 8. There's a relatively new club in a relatively overlooked neighborhood of Falcon Heights -- the Underground Music Cafe. The former coffee shop still looks like a coffee shop, but there's a stage and decent sound system and some of our jazz veterans are turning up and building a following. Tonight, enjoy the Zack Lozier Trio, featuring a trumpeter who spans the gamut of jazz (and beyond), from NOLA to avant garde. His mainstream chops likely will rule tonight.

David Sanchez
Monday, March 9. David Sanchez was last in town a few years ago when he was touring with Kenny Barron, but the Latin Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist returns to the Dakota now with his own quartet and new project, Bamboula. Tracing the history of West African rhythms (Yuba, Calinda, Sika) from points of origin to the Caribbean and New Orleans, Bamboula reflects the origins and soul of jazz itself. The Sanchez quartet includes three of today's most sought-after jazzers, Luis Perdomo on piano, Ricky Rodriguez on bass and Obed Calvaire on drums.

Joan Griffith
Jazz Central shines its "spotlight" on an esteemed veteran performer and educator, guitar/mandolin specialist Joan Griffith. Joan brings along a crew of her talented students and we can expect originals and arrangements of her favorite Brazilian composers.

Tuesday, March 10. In Minneapolis, savvy singer Vicky Mountain takes the stage at The Nicollet. Covers, original songs, and even a scat attack?

Cassandra Wilson*
Tuesday-Wednesday, March 10-11. There are few voices in jazz as distinctive and distinguished as Cassandra Wilson, who returns to the Dakota less than a year since her last visit. This tour celebrates the 100th birthday of Billie Holiday, and like some of her contemporaries, Wilson is releasing a tribute recording. And no doubt, Wilson's interpretations will be unique and wholly Cassandra.

Jay Epstein
Two different venues but the same duo! Long-time collaborators Chris Bates and Jay Epstein duke it out for the first time as a duo, first at the Black Dog on Tuesday and then at Jazz Central on Wednesday for Bates' monthly night of new music. Dubbing themselves Wood and Bronze, "anything can happen," and probably will.

Jack DeJohnette
Thursday, March 12. Keeping with its tradition of bringing some of the most revered purveyors of modern jazz to town, the Walker Art Center presents drum legend Jack DeJohnette with three of the genre's  true pioneers of free jazz-- Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill. Yes, all on the same stage (McGuire Theater) at the same time, these magicians of jazz pay tribute to the 50th anniversary of Chicago's Academy for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM). Mitchell, Abrams and Threadgill are among the AACM's alums. The quintet is completed by bassist Larry Gray.

More Jazz!
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, March 6. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper, happy hour at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Patty Peterson Trio at Crooner's Lounge; John Paulson with Swing, Inc. at Signatures (Winona); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel)

Saturday, March 7. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Talking Strings Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Pig's Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Club; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooner's Lounge; Caprice Saxophone Quartet at Studio Z

Sunday, March 8. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Fuzzy Math at the Black Dog; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

Reuben Ristrom at Fireside Pizza
Monday, March 9. Charmin Michelle and special guest Reuben Ristrom at Fireside Pizza; Dean Granros Party with '58 Belvedere and Tall Tales (Dean Granros, Zacc Harris, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) at the Icehouse; BZ3 Organ Trio at The Narrows Saloon; Vinnie Rose Trio at Crooners' Lounge

Tuesday, March 10. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central; Nova Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Salsabrosa at Crooners' Lounge

Wednesday, March 11. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Matra at the Black Dog; Andrew Walesch Quartet at Crooners' Lounge

Thursday, March 12. Gypsy Mania at Hell's Kitchen; Shoop at Jazz Central; Big Band Swing Night with the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra at Wabasha Street Caves; Embezzler at Khyber Pass Cafe

Coming Soon!
. March 13, Foreign Motion at The Nicollet
. March 13, Peter Vircks Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 13, Charanga Tropicale "Two Nights in Cuba" at The Bedlam
. March 14, Chris Botti at Orchestra Hall
. March 14, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Quartet followed by What Would Monk Do at the Black Dog
. March 14, Charanga Tropicale "Two Nights in Cuba" at The Cedar Cultural Center
. March 15, Jazz Mn Orchestra with Pete Christlieb at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 16, Joe Mayo at Jazz Central
. March 17, Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central
. March 20, Invisible Guy (Ben Goldberg and more) at the Icehouse
. March 20, Luke Polopnik Trio at Jazz Central
. March 20, Jake Baldwin Quintet at The Nicollet
. March 21, Nachito Herrera and Francisco Mela at the Dakota
. March 21, Reynold Philipsek, Jazz @ St Barneys
. March 21, The Illicit Sextet at the Black Dog
. 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 27, Phil Aaron Quartet at Jazz Central
. March 28, Dakota Combo followed by Daley/Brattain Report at the Black Dog
. March 29, Tierney Sutton and Mark Summer at the Dakota
. March 29, Joel Shapira solo guitar at the Black Dog
. March 31, Eliane Elias Trio at the Dakota
. April 1, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. April 2, Chris Potter Quartet at the Dakota
. April 3, Mancrush at The Nicollet
. 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 17, Patty Peterson and Friends at the Dakota
. April 18, Jay Young's Lyric Factory at the Dakota
. April 19, Chris Thomson Quartet CD Release at the Icehouse
. April 19, Soul Cafe at Hennepin Ave Methodist Church
. April 21, Eden Prairie High School Jazz Band with John Raymond at EPHS
. April 22, Danilo Perez at the Dakota
. April 24, Tuck and Patti at the Dakota
. April 24, Endeavors followed by the Dakota Combo at Jazz Central
. 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 (TBN)
. April 26, Nellie McKay at the Dakota
. April 29-30, Madeleine Peyroux at the Dakota
. May 2, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at the Walker
. May 8, Ron Miles with the Atrium Jazz Ensemble at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. May 9, PipJazz "Women in Jazz" -- afternoon workshop and evening concert at The Bedlam
. May 11, Tim Berne's Snake Oil at the Icehouse
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. 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 (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela's Jazz Machine with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacket)
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)

* Cassandra Wilson press photo by Andreas Schulz

Foreign Motion at the Nicollet, March 13