Friday, June 5, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, June 5-11



Dave Karr, appearing Saturday at the Black Dog with The Five


© Andrea Canter
 Another weekend of hard-to-decide choices for live jazz followed by a week of local favorites. Summer is here, and our festival countdown stands at three weeks... actually less counting some popular pre-fest gigs starting June 16. (We'll preview those starting next week!) This weekend some beloved veterans and young lions share the attention, and in some cases, the stage. (What? No jazz is listed in the Strib for the "big gigs" this week? Good thing you are reading this!)

Big Gigs This Week
Dean Sorenson
Friday, June 5.  Trombonist, arranger and above all, jazz educator Dean Sorenson is seldom heard outside of the U of M jazz program, making tonight's sextet gig at Jazz Central (8:30 pm) a rare treat. Dean's resume includes playing and arranging for the Glen Miller Orchestra and authoring a stack of books and materials aimed at jazz students and their instructors, as well as heading the jazz studies program at the University of Minnesota where he has helped launch careers of many of our top area musicians. But tonight it is all about performance, and Dean has quite a crew of colleagues--Steve Kenny (trumpet), Dave Milne (tenor saxophone), Chris Lomheim (piano), Tom Lewis (bass) and Phil Hey (drums). Come down to Jazz Central earlier for a 7 pm set featuring McNally Smith guitar student Julian Manzara and trumpeter Robert Reeve.

Paul Harper
Over at The Nicollet, veteran saxophonist Paul Harper brings in his Show and Tell quartet (9 pm), with guitarist Mike Cramer, bassist Charlie Riddle and drummer/ Illicit Sextet collaborator Nathan Norman. If you have not ventured into The Nicollet yet, the Friday night jazz series curated by Steve Kenny is a good starting point for music in this south-of-downtown neighborhood along the north end of Eat Street. There's beer, wine, espresso and cafe goodies and ample space to relax while listening to some of the area's finest jazz artists.

Irv Williams and Steve Blons
And if you want to kickoff the evening with some Happy Hour fun, Irv Williams and Steve Blons usually hold court on the Dakota's patio in nice weather. Between Irv and Steve, there's at least 150 years of jazz (Irv accounting for a lot of those years!), and this sax/guitar duo is as suave and sublime as it gets. How perfect for a Friday night prelude!

Dave King
Saturday, June 6. It's another Saint's home game Saturday night, but you don't want to miss Lowertown jazz of this caliber. Take the Green Line LRT or drive in early and find parking (check out Union Depot Garage) -- deciding where to go should be your only dilemma. Jazz at Studio Z welcomes the band formerly known as Dave King's PBR Street Gang, now dubbed the Vector Families. Don't ask. Just enjoy some of the region's most inventive modern music as created by Bad Plus/Happy Apple drummer King, sax legend-in-the-making Brandon Wozniak, working guitar legend Dean Granros, and internationally acclaimed bassist/cellist Anthony Cox. They'll present a 6 pm (free) master class followed by the concert at 7 pm. Expect to hear music from their upcoming debut recording.

Ted Olsen
Overlapping the first part of the evening and just a block away, Saturday Night at the Black Dog presents two bands covering about four generations. Opening (7 pm) will be he Ted Olsen Group, led by recent University of Northern Colorado grad, bassist Ted Olsen, backed by an ensemble of slightly older young lions, including saxophonist Joe Mayo and drummer Miguel Hurtado. 

Kenny Horst, The Five
Prime time (8:30 pm) features a band that has been around a long time yet seldom heard, The Five. Headed by 80-something sax icon Dave Karr, and with young bassist Ryan Hays the only musician under 50, the rest of The Five include Steve Kenny, Mikkel Romstad and Kenny Horst.  Bebop never sounded so good!

Arne Fogel
In downtown Minneapolis, Arne goes to Hell! Arne Fogel, that is, crooning his way through Hades at Hell's Kitchen (6 pm) with a swinging trio of Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal and Dick Bortolussi. 




Bend in the River Big Band
Sunday, June 7. Fans of Big Band have a festival all their own, with the 25th annual Minnesota Festival of Jazz on the Prairie (2-8 pm),hosted by the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at Staring Lake Park in Eden Prairie. The line-up this year, in addition to the host big band, includes Just Friends Big Band, Acme Jazz Company, Bend in the River Big Band, Good News Big Band, and the River City Jazz Orchestra.

Dave Hagedorn, Good Vibes Trio
Monday, June 8. JT's Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse presents the ever-elegant creativity of the Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, with masters-of-their-axes Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums. Always worth staying up to hear (9:30 pm start), with original compositions and interesting arrangements.

Tuesday, June 9. At least for the month of June, The Nicollet is presenting Swing Tuesdays (7:30 pm), and tonight the swingers are Doug Haining and the Twin Cities 7, surely the most swinging "little big band" in town.  The swing dance community tends to follow such bands from one end of the metro to the other, so either bring your dancing shoes or sit close to the wall!

Chris Olson
Across town to Lowertown, it's Second Tuesday, aka Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog (7 pm). Guitarist Chris usually has one or two guests to join him making some merry mayhem.

Wednesday, June 10. At the Dakota, one of Foodie Night's favorites returns-- Charmin and Shapira and Friends (7 pm). An extension of the ever-popular voice/guitar duo Charmin (Michelle) and (Joel) Shapira, this quintet covers standard, bossa and more with a lot of panache and a fair amount of fun as well. "Friends" include saxophonist Paul Harper, bassist Tom Lewis and drummer Nathan Norman.

Chris Bates
Chris Bates' monthly Magica Improvisado at Jazz Central brings together a trio of fellow improvisers (guitarist Chris Olson and drummer Adrian Suarez) to reconsider the music of Jimi Hendrix, the Bee Gees, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Lennon & McCartney and more (8:30 pm).

Levi Schwartzberg
Thursday, June 11. Avant garde jazz at an Afghani cafe? For more than a year now, Khyber Pass Cafe in St Paul has presented unique improvising ensembles on Thursday nights. Tonight is a double header (9 pm) with some overlapping personnel, with the Levi Schwartzberg Quintet sharing the night with Adam Linz's Le Percheron ensemble. Young vibes talent Levi, just starting his second year at the U of M, is the common denominator. His quintet includes recent high school grads and alums of the Dakota Combo -- Aidan Sponheim, Peter Goggin, Charlie Lincoln and Benjamin Beyene. Le Percheron, in addition to Linz and Schwartzberg, includes saxophonist Brandon Wozniak and trumpeter (and frequent Khyber Pass artist) Noah Ophoven-Baldwin.

Dorothy Doring
On totally different notes (or planets), Dorothy Doring and Donald Thomas pair up for Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central (7:30 pm). Dorothy's range covers it all from jazz standards to pop and blues, while Donald's deep voice offers equal facility and tonal contrast. A long-standing duo appealing to a broad audience.

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, June 5. Todd Harper Piano Fridays (with Nathan Hanson), early eve at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Katie Gearty at Parma 8200; Tim Patrick and his Blue Eyed Band at Minnehaha Falls Park bandshell; Classic Big Band and the Nostalgics at Bloomington KC Hall

Saturday, June 6. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Charmin and Shapira at Midtown Global Market (12:30 pm); Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Pig's Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Aerie Club; Zacc Harris and Matt Peterson, dinner sets at the Icehouse

Sunday, June 7. Robert Everest, Brunch at Maria's; Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview
Zacc Harris

Monday, June 8. Minneapolis Police Swing Band at Como Dockside; Southside Big Band at Centennial Lakes Park; Eric Wangensteen at Jazz Central

Tuesday, June 9. Nova Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, June 10. Debbie Duncan at Crooners Lounge; Good News Big Band at Centennial Lakes Park; Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project at Powderhorn Park

Thursday, June 11. Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Benny Weinbeck and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200; Minnesota Jazz Orchestra, swing dance at Wabasha Street Caves; Foreign Motion at the Icehouse

Coming Soon!
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 13, Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project at Lake Harriet Bandshell
. 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 16, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Jazz Central
. 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, Adam Meckler Quintet; Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 at Episcopal Homes/Iris Park (Twin Cities Jazz Fest - PreFest)
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 21, St Peter Street Stompers; Southside Aces at Episcopal Homes/Iris Park (Twin Cities Jazz Festival Pre-Fest)
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23, Master Class (free) with Francisco Mela and Jon Weber at Walker West
. June 23, Lila Ammons Quartet, Langford Chiropractic Outdoor Stage (Twin Cities Jazz Festival Pre-Fest)
. 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 Quartet 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, 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
. August 8, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. August 31, Terence Blanchard and E-Collective at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota


Pete Whitman and the X-Tet -- Back at Jazz Central on June 16