Friday, May 15, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 15-21

Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw (Saturday at Studio Z)

 © Andrea Canter
 In Northeast Minneapolis, it's Art-a-Whirl weekend. In the Twin Cities metro area, it might be dubbed Jazz-a-Whirl. Actually that title might fit every weekend here.  This weekend is the final gig for former resident bassist Michael O'Brien's current visit, a CD release for JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske's "Jazz in the Lobby Bar," a "comeback" of sorts for veteran guitarist Paul Renz, a grand finale for Jazz at Studio Z's fourth season with Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw, an evening with Maud Hixson at Parma, and an evening at the Dakota with the king of rag and stride piano, Butch Thompson. The whirl continues into the week, with a Monday showdown of two volcanic drummers at the Icehouse (JT Bates and Dave King) and a Wednesday night homecoming at the Turf Club for Todd Clouser and A Love Electric. It's just mid-May but we are already feeling some summer heat!

Big Gigs This Week
Michael O'Brien
Friday, May 15. New York bassist and former Twin Citian Michael O'Brien has been in town for a couple weeks, and he finishes off his performance at Jazz Central tonight with his "Triage" ensemble, featuring pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. The trio played their inaugural gig two years ago at the Artists Quarter-- it's been too long between gigs for such elegant music.

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske turn the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel into an intimate jazz club every weekend (September-May). Tonight they celebrate their seven-year collaboration with the release of Jazz in the Lobby Bar, adding in pals Nathan Norman, Pete Whitman and Richard Kriehn as they recreate the weekly gig in the hotel's larger Promenade Ballroom. The arrangements perfectly display JoAnn's unique phrasing and interpretative sense, as well as Jeff's ability to comp as well as serve as a second voice.

At Parma 8200, another notable songbird, Maud Hixson, draws from an uncommon songlist supported by pianist/husband Rick Carlson and bassist Gordy Johnson.

Eric Gravatt
Saturday, May 16. Zacc Harris brings his fourth annual Jazz at Studio Z season to a close with the daunting duo of Eric Kamau Gravatt and Dean Magraw. About a year ago the two veterans released Fire on the Nile, and the fire just keeps burning. They'll kickoff the evening with a free public master class. Emphasis on "master." 

Paul Renz
Down the hill at the Black Dog, an old favorite from the Artists Quarter resurfaces as Headspace plays the opening set. Also resurfacing after bicep surgery, guitarist Paul Renz and his quartet take the stage for the second part of "Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog," in the company of special guest, flautist Anders Bostrom. Renz is jumpstarting his new ensemble, with Wes Ruelle on piano, Jonathan Thomas on bass, and Jessie Lesmeister on drums.

Butch Thompson
Sunday, May 17. Two Sundays in a row with Butch Thompson at the Dakota? Last week, Thompson was a special guest with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard; tonight it's his show as the ragtime and stride piano/clarinet veteran helps swing the night away.

Katia Cardenas
Monday, May 18.  One of the bright young lights on the local jazz scene, vocalist Katia Cardenas brings sophistication (and a bit of Ella?) to Foodie Night at the Dakota. Her repertoire is evolving to encompass not only the Great American Songbook but her own spin on more contemporary fare.

Dave King
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features Real Bulls --a drum duel with JT and Dave King. More like Raging Bulls!

Tuesday, May 19. Hot club guitar stylist Stephane Wremble returns to the Dakota, going beyond Django and infusing his music with everything from blues to flamenco to rock.

Todd Clouser
Wednesday, May 20. Minnesota native guitarist/composer Todd Clouser has been spending most of his time in Mexico lately where he has initiated some innovative music education programs while honing his composition and vocal chops. His A Love Electric band has evolved into a more rock-oriented ensemble with a firm jazz foundation. He's back in town this week, bringing his current edition of ALE to the Turf Club.

Billed as Boomers vs Millennials, a quartet of Pete Whitman, Jay Young (the Boomers), Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado (the Millennials) will really be a collaborative effort, not a war, as the cross-generational talents merge at Jazz Central.

Martha Alkins
Thursday, May 21. The weekly vocal jazz night at Jazz Central features a newer talent, Martha Alkins, who presents "Generations of Jazz" -- songs from the 20s to the 70s, backed by pianist Ian Carleton and bassist Graydon Peterson.

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, May 15. Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Tim Sparks and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Vinnie Rose Trio at Crooners Lounge; Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog; Minnesota Youth Jazz Band at The Nicollet (7:30 pm)

Saturday, May 16. Art-a-Whirl music: Charlie Lincoln Group at Elias Metal Studio; Fall of the House of Usher at Broadway and Central NE; Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Nick Videen Quartet at Cambridge High School; Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge; Paula Lammers Trio at the Mason Jar; Charmin Michelle at the St. Cloud Eagle's Aerie Club; Maurice Jacox Trio at the Normandy Kitchen; Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network monthly salon at the Town House

Sunday, May 17. Charmin Michelle with Rick Carlson at Seward Co-op; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Mid Level and Jazz III)

Monday, May 18. Adam Rossmiller at Jazz Central

Tuesday, May 19. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge; Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at Famous Dave's Uptown (North Metro Honor Band)

Wednesday, May 20. Stu Blu and Friends at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Andrew Walesch at Crooners Lounge; River City Jazz Orchestra at Como Dockside; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Jazz I and II)

Thursday, May 21. Third Thursday (Joe Damman, Scott Fultz, Davu Seru) at Khyber Pass Cafe

Coming Soon!
. May 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet
. May 22, Travis Anderson Trio at Parma 8200
. May 22, Kristin Sponcia Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 23, Central Standard Time followed by Firebell at the Black Dog
. May 24, Ginger Commodore and Friends at the Dakota
. May 25, David Martin at Jazz Central
. May 26, David Torn (solo) at The Cedar
. May 27, Pat Kuehn Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 1, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, CD Release at the Icehouse
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at SunRay Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vincinius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet with Billy Hart at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

Chris Lomheim Trio (at The Nicollet May 22)