Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 3-9

Irv Williams - Mr Smooth at the "Pinnacle" (CD release July 6)

© Andrea Canter
Is it difficult to come down from a jazz festival high? I'll let you know when I come down. After three solid days of music at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, I am off to another three-day extravaganza, the Iowa City Jazz Festival  (July 2-4), where I expect to see a couple dozen Twin Citians  as well as two of my favorite MN bands-- the Atlantis Quartet and Dakota Combo. They perform in Iowa as part of the first Iowa-Minnesota jazz fest exchange. We heard their fabulous Laranja ensemble here on the 6th STreet Stage last Friday, along with the City Six of Iowa City on our youth showcase at Union Depot. Now Atlantis will appear on the Iowa City Main Stage, while the high schoolers of the Dakota Combo perform on the Youth Stage in Iowa City. 

But there is more music here in Minnesota this weekend and through next week!

Big Gigs!
Iowa City Jazz Festival
Thursday-Saturday, July 2-4. The Iowa City Jazz Festival always brings some Twin Cities jazz fans south (5-hour drive). See the festival website for the full schedule, including B-3 ace Brian Charette and vocalist Becca Stevens on Thursday; Rudresh Mahanthappa's Bird Calls, Dave Douglas' High Risk and Whirlpool with Ron Miles on Friday; and Julian Lage, Ben Allison, the Atlantis Quartet and Charles Lloyd Quartet on Saturday.

Ted Olsen
Friday, July 3. On the Friday Night Jazz at the Nicollet series,  celebrate the holiday weekend with the core rhythm team that performed with Ted Olsen's quintet on the Main Stage of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Ted's trio features Ted on bass, Javier Santiago on piano, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. These guys have been on Twin Cities stages since their early teens. Now all hold music degrees and are already significant contributors to the local jazz scene.

Tommy Bruce
At Parma 8200, hear the stirring vocals of Thomas Bruce, in the fine company of Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson... and we hear that one can also watch the fireworks from Parma's patio. Fireworks inside, fireworks outside. And just in case you missed one of Debbie Duncan's three jazz festival performances last weekend, you can catch her tonight at Crooner's Lounge.

Described as an "under the radar gig", Sweet 16 (above the Black Dog) hosts Nathan Hanson, Doan Brian Roessler and Marc Anderson in "essentially a house concert." What a house.

Wolverines Big Band
Saturday, July 4. Tonight you have a rare opportunity to enjoy the swinging, Basie-inspired Wolverines Big Band, three top vocalists, and a lakeside display of fireworks-- all at Excelsior Commons on Lake Minnetonka. There's family fun all afternoon, leading up to the Big Band concert. The Wolverines have been around for more than 40 years, but in recent years the big band gigs have been few and far between, while the Wolverines Trio is a frequent booking at Hell's Kitchen. Tonight, drummer and leader Jendeen Forberg gathers the full flock, backing singers Maud Hixson, Judi Vinar (Donaghy) and Jason Richards.  Fireworks at sundown, of course!

Thomas Strommen
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog features two bands with overlapping (and young!) personnel. Opening will be Dark Blue, featuring some young guns, all affiliated at one time or another with the University of Wisconsin River Falls--Thomas Strommen on tenor, Jason McLean on guitar, Dylan Nelson on bass and Alex Burgess on drums. Stick around for the Independence Day Quintet, featuring veterans Steve Kenny on Flumpet™ and Mikkel Romstad on piano, along with Strommen and Burgess.

Sunday, July 5. A special night of Brazilian song at the Dakota--Brazilian singer/guitarist Vinicius Cantuaria presents a program of Jobim. Cantuaria started out as drummer for Caetano Veloso in the late 70s, and has been based in New York for the past 20 years. Among his many collaborators are David Byrne, Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Jenny Scheinman, and more. The BBC refers to him as the "master of the sublimely sensual." This is simply beautiful music.

Billy Peterson & Irv Williams
Monday, July 6. With each new recording over the past decade, sax legend Irv Williams has suggested it would be his last. Pinnacle may or may not be his finale, but at nearly 96, Irv is more seriously talking "retirement." Whatever. This recording with guitarist Steve Blons and bassist Billy Peterson is a capstone, not only for Mr. Smooth's engaging horn but also for the inclusion of segments of an interview with Leigh Kamman, what turned out to be Leigh's final interview before his passing in October 2014. Kamman will be with us in spirit at the CD release party tonight at the Dakota.

Dean Magraw
Tuesday, July 7. It's First Tuesday at the Black Dog with Dean Magraw and Davu Seru, the monthly improv session with two of the most enchanting improvisers in the metro. Over at Jazz Central, the mighty Bill Simenson Orchestra fills half the performance space, still sizzling after their Twin Cities Jazz Festival performance at Como Park.  The Icehouse presents a new installment of Coloring Time, a jazz/fusion project with a revolving cast. Tonight's guests include young keyboard giant Ted Godbout.

Faye Washington, Capri Big Band
Wednesday, July 8.  Chris Bates hosts his monthly Magica Improvisado at Jazz Central, a night of new music and "magical improvisations." Tonight, original music and some seldom-heard covers from bassist Bates, pianist Peter Schimke and drummer Cory Healey.  Something more family-oriented, the Capri Big Band (led by Faye Washington) performs at Minnehaha Falls Park tonight. Enjoy swinging jazz and treats from Sea Salt Eatery or your own picnic basket.

james buckley
Thursday, July 9. Apparently curating two jazz series is not enough for Steve Kenny. He's got a new grant to support a second summer season of All-Originals at Studio Z -- the invited bands only perform original music. The kickoff show tonight features truly one of a kind--bassist James Buckley-- with two frequent partners, pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer JT Bates.

A new voice in the Twin Cities makes her Jazz Central debut tonight. Christine Hitt earned a Masters of Music degree at the University of Arizona, and has recorded with such luminaries as  Ugonna Okegwo, Hubert Laws, Slide Hampton, Steve Smith, and Curtis Fuller. Her band includes Eric Hitt, Dave Schmalenberger and Brian Handeland.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive jazz calendar can be found at Jazz Police, but you will also find jazz listings at KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You. Jazz Police also posts monthly metro jazz highlights. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g.

Coming Soon!
. July 10, Dean Granro's Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. July 11, Jacob Teichroew Group with Adam Meckler at Jazz Central
. July 11, Laura Caviani Trio with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein at the Black Dog
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 13, Jacob Teichroew Group at the Icehouse
. July 15, Pete Whitman's X-Tet at Jazz Central
. July 16, Red Planet, All Originals at Studio Z
. July 17, Jay Young's Lyric Factory, Top 10 Hits at the Dakota
. July 17, Kjeer, Horst and Friends at The Nicollet
. July 17, Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert at Jazz Central
. July 17, Arne Fogel at Parma 8200
. July 18, Joe Mayo Quartet at the Black Dog
. July 19, Midtown Global Market Music Festival
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet at the Dakota
. July 23, Nichols/Bates/Bates, All Originals at Studio Z
. July 24, Jon Pemberton Tribute to Lee Morgan at The Nicollet
. July 24, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. July 25, Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band at the Black Dog
. July 28, Corner Jazz (Maryann Sullivan) at The Nicollet
. July 30, dā-kə-bro̵̅o̅-dā, All Originals at Studio Z
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. August 8, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. August 13, Michael Janisch Paradigm Shift Quartet at Studio Z
. August 20, Adam Meckler Quintet Live Recording at Studio Z
. August 25, Cyrus Chestnut Trio at the Dakota
. 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

Laura Caviani brings her trio to the Black Dog, July 11