Friday, May 29, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 29 - June 4



With a shiny new McKnight Fellowship, Atlantis Quartet plays the Black Dog Saturday night

© Andrea Canter
 There's what might be dubbed a mini-jazz fest in St. Paul's Lowertown this weekend-- warming up the neighborhood for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, only 4 weeks away! (And with no Saints home game, parking should be "normal".) The coming week also brings a parade of stars into the Dakota, offering an alternative to the Rolling Stones on June 3 while putting Stones' "backups" on the jazz club stage. The week also brings the debut release from Dean Granros' new band, Tall Tales and a new voice/guitar duo from veterans Sarah Greer and John Penny. Better tighten your seat belts, this week will be a whirlwind of music.

Big Gigs This Week
A few years back -- The Jackson brothers
Friday, May 29. Just run up and down a two-block stretch of East 4th Street tonight!  You can support young artists and have a great time doing it at The Bedlam, where rap/hip-hop band Heiruspecs again teams up with St. Paul Central High School in a fundraiser for scholarships to support students heading to higher education and careers in the arts. Joining the music performances will be the Byzantine Sextet, a St. Paul-based jazz band headed by Central alum/Augsburg student DeVante and brother/U of Manitoba student DeCarlo Jackson, with former scholarship recipient and Central alum Edmund Catlin, South High graduating senior Charlie Lincoln, Hill-Murray alum John Blanda and Central alum Evan Slack.

Charlie Lincoln
Down the street at the Black Dog, a unique double-header starts off with the core rhythm team of the dark and edgy Fall of the House of Usher ensemble--that's Chris Cunningham on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and Greg Schutte on drums, joined by guests Michelle Kinney (cello), Nathan Hanson (saxes) and Ivan Cunningham (saxes). Stay for the late round with the young talents of Charlie Lincoln's Physical Memory Dump, with Peter Goggin on alto sax and Joey Hayes on drums. (Seems Charlie will also be running from the Bedlam to the Black Dog!)

Doug Haining
On the other side of the river, talents runs equally deep with two bands of veterans two hours and a few miles apart. At Jazz Central, Doug Haining revives his Cannonball Collective. The band first came together a few years ago at the Artists Quarter to celebrate the music of Cannonball Adderley. Now performing on the  7 pm Bridge Series, Haining brings back Zack Lozier (trumpet), Keith Boyles (bass) and Mac Santiago (drums), along with young upstart Joe Strachan on piano.

Bottomless Pit
On Steve Kenny's Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series, Joel Shapira's new Bottomless Pit takes over the bandstand, featuring stalwart jazzers Pete Whitman, Tom Lewis and Eric Kamau Gravatt levitating the works of Coltrane, Coleman, Shorter and more.

Connie Evingson
For your vocal pleasures, Connie Evingson (with Rick Carlson, Gordy Johnson and Dave Karr) brings you music from her wide range of influences and projects, from standards to The Beatles to hot club swing to Dave Frishberg, in the cozy lounge of Parma 8200 in Bloomington. Wine, pasta, cannoli, Connie. Perfect ingredients for Friday night chill-out.

Zacc Harris, Atlantis Qt
Saturday, May 30. Just announced as 2015 recipients of a $25,000 McKnight Musicians Fellowship, the Atlantis Quartet (Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates, Pete Hennig) will be flying higher than ever when they play the headline slot at the Black Dog. They're also warming up for two back-to-back festival gigs, June 27 at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and July 4 at the Iowa City Jazz Festival. Starting out the evening is another veteran ensemble headed by guitar monster David Martin, with pals Chris Bates and Pete Hennig warming up for their set with Atlantis.

At Pama 8200, the Benny Weinbeck Trio has been providing elegant piano trio jazz for the past few years, every Saturday night in the bar/lounge. Pianist Benny's long-standing trio cohorts, Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey, have their own longstanding partnership, including a couple years backing vocalist Stacy Kent. Communication is seamless and that's reflected in the music.

Walker West students at the TC Jazz Fest
Sunday, May 31. Where will the next young hotshots in local (or perhaps national) jazz come from? Walker West Music Academy invites us to find out at their annual Rev. Carl Walker/Grant West Honors Recital in their new performance space (4 pm). Performances feature Walker West's graduating high school seniors and other up-and-coming talents of the Academy. WWMA has long served as a breeding ground for future pro musicians and educators, especially those who ultimately pursue careers in jazz, and their faculty sports some of the area's top jazz artists, including Peter Leggett, Solomon and Aja Parham, Kevin Washington and more.


Orchestra for Ants



The Aster Cafe at St. Anthony Main offers a unique and historic setting for music (and food!). Tonight, hear the Orchestra for Ants, which suggests busy electronics but is self-described as 'outlaw-jazzmenco.'  The Ants are three accomplished guitarists with diverse music backgrounds and chops---leader Ben Abrahamson (Lulu's Playground) who gravitates toward flamenco, Brazilian and 12-string; Park Evans (Firebell), master of "jazz shred comedy," and Nick Champeau, "cowboy casual."  It's jazz, flamenco, swing and more. Definitely fun and surely musical.

The outdoor band concert season is underway at the Lake Harriet bandshell, and tonight features the popular Brazilian jazz ensemble, Ticket to Brasil, headed by guitarist Pavel Jany. Lake Harriet leaves room for dancing, which will be encouraged.

Tall Tales
Monday, June 1. For all of his 40+ years in local jazz and improvised music with such landmark bands as The Whole Earth Rainbow Band, Kamanari, Curlew and How Birds Work, guitar master Dean Granros has a relatively small discography in his own name and no recordings that feature his gnarly compositions. With his new quartet and self-titled CD (Tall Tales), Dean corrects that omission, and does so convincingly. Join Dean, Zacc Harris, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein tonight at the Icehouse as they celebrate the CD's release on Shifting Paradigm Records. You get a copy of the CD with your $12 admission. It's definitely worth minor parking hassles for the CD alone.

Peter Schimke
Earlier in the evening (e.g., you can make this gig and get to the Icehouse before Tall Tales gets underway), the spotlight is turned on pianist Peter Schimke at Jazz Central. An integral part of many ensembles (How Birds Work, Mississippi, Estaire Godinez, Irv Williams), Peter seldom gets the recognition his talent deserves.

Dean Magraw
Tuesday, June 2. It's the "first Tuesday" which means Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog. Often there's a guest artist as well, but the duo alone is indendiary-- Magraw the master of all genres on guitar, Seru both performer and scholar of African percussion.

The Rolling Stones roll into town for a blowout tomorrow night at TCF Bank Stadium, and in their wake the Dakota has booked two nights with "20 Steps to Stardom" star vocalist/Stones back-up singer Lisa Fischer (Sunday-Monday) and one gig--tonight-- with Stones' (and former Allman Brothers Band) saxman Tim Ries and Stones vocalist Bernard Fowler in a band dubbed Band 2. Rounding out the band will be local heavyweights Cory Wong, Gary Raynor and Kevin Washington.

Steve Smith
Wednesday, June 3. If you are not headed to TCF Bank Stadium to hear the Stones tonight, you can nevertheless get high on music and particularly jazz percussion at the Dakota with Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition. Recently named #1 fusion drummer by Modern Drummer's Readers Poll, Smith has assembled a Big Apple cast including keyboardist Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins/Herbie Mann), alto saxophonist Andy Fusco (Buddy Rich/Mel Lewis), guitarist Vinny Valentino (Jimmy McGriff/Bill Evans), and bassist Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham). With this line-up, Smith combines the talents of his three working bands--jazz-rock ensemble Vital Information, his Buddy Rich alumni project Buddy's Buddies, and his legends tribute band, Jazz Legacy.

John Penny
At Jazz Central, two veterans of the local jazz scene debut their duo on the studio's "new music" night. Vocalist Sarah M. Greer is known for tackling more avant garde projects as well as providing instruction to those interested in modern approaches to jazz singing; guitarist/composer (and sometimes vocalist) John Penny is a prolific writer who has performed recently with Jay Epstein and Anthony Cox.

Connie Evingson again! First Wednesdays are reserved for "Jazz in the Lounge" at the Minneapolis Woman's Club, and Connie's guests tonight include a formidable trio of Chris Lomheim, Dean Magraw and Dave Karr. Open to public consumption.

Phil Mattson Singers
Thursday, June 4. At Jazz Central, the Phil Mattson Singers return for Vocal Jazz Night, bringing with them a thick book of songs with sophisticated arrangements from director, pianist and voice coach Phil Mattson. This is our local version of Manhattan Transfer.  Over in Falcon Heights (St Paul), new University of Northern Colorado grad, bassist Ted Olsen, brings his quintet to the folksy digs of the Underground Music Cafe.

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 29.  Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays with the Harper, Nair, Leipold Trio at the Black Dog (5-7 pm); Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; the Zacc Harris Group at Hell's Kitchen; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnehaha Park Bandshell

Saturday, May 30. Mill City Hot Club, brunch at Hell's Kitchen; Parisota Hot Club at Crooners; Scatting Workshop with Sarah Greer at Jazz Central (1:30 pm); Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Tom Lieberman at the Aster; Vinnie Rose at Ole Piper Inn (Blaine)

Sunday, May 31. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners; Carleton College Jazz Band Concert at the Concert Hall, Carleton College; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Lisa Fischer at the Dakota (sold-out); Adam Meckler's Student Combos at Jazz Central; T-Collective at the Icehouse

Monday, June 1. Capri Big Band at Como Dockside; Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Milo Fine & Benjamin Mansavage at Studio Toile d’Angles

Tuesday, June 2. Cafe Accordion Orchestra at Loring Pasta Bar; Maryann Sullivan's Corner Jazz at The Nicollet; Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Coloring Time (LOTT and Joey Van Phillips) at the Icehouse  
Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz

Wednesday, June 3. Vinnie Rose followed by Andrew Walesch at Crooners; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Southside Big Band at Como Dockside;

Thursday, June 4. Gypsia Mania Hot Club Quartet at Hell's Kitchen; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Claudia Schmidt and Dean Magraw at Gingko Coffee House; Vinnie Rose at Adagio Pizza Factory

Coming Soon!
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 5, Dean Sorenson Sextet at Jazz Central
. June 6, Ted Olsen Group followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 6, Vector Families (aka Dave King's PBR Street Gang) at Studio Z
. June 7, Jazz on the Prairie Big Band Festival at Staring Lake (Eden Prairie)
. June 8, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio at the Icehouse
. June 10, Charmin & Shapira and Friends at the Dakota
. June 11, Dorothy Doring and Donald Thomas at Jazz Central
. June 11, Le Percheron at Khyber Pass Cafe
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 14, Charanga Tropical at Lake Harriet Bandshell
. June 15, Bryan Nichols' We Are Many at the Icehouse
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at Sun Ray 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 Trio with Tony Scherr and Rudy Royston at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 20, Next Generation Showcase, Jazz at Studio Z
. 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, Francois Rabbath, Benson Great Hall (Bethel College)
. 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, Vinicius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 19, Midtown Global Market Music Festival
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet 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 Bates' Good Vibes Trio at the Icehouse, June 8