Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 31-August 6

Babatunde Lea bring his quintet to the Black Dog, August 1

© Andrea Canter
Brian Courage
The "Young Lions" and "Old Tigers" are at it again, gigging with and beside each other in another jazz-filled week. Two more opportunities to hear visiting bassist Brian Courage before he heads back to New York, including a reunion of Courageous Endeavors; even younger bassist Charlie Lincoln plays one of his last gigs before starting college studies in California; veteran percussionist/educator Babatunde Lea make a too-rare appearance leading his quartet; guitarist and fusion pioneer Larry Coryell returns to the Dakota with frequent collaborator George Brooks.

Big Gigs This Week
Joe Mayo
Friday, July 31. Triple bill at Jazz Central tonight, starting with the ensemble President Flow, led by young saxophonist Joe Mayo, Gen Xers Park Evans on guitar and Josh Granowski on bass, and veteran drummer Rick Nair on the 2-piece drum kit. As a lead in to the usual Jazz Crew jam, bassist Charlie Lincoln leads his quintet for one set, showing off the talents of recent high school grads-- Lincoln, saxophonist Peter Goggin, trumpeter Aiden Sponheim, keyboardist Levi Schwartzberg and drummer Joey Hays.

At The Nicollet, Rare Medium makes its series debut, featuring Jaim Zuber on guitar, Jesse Mueller on keys, Aaron McCabe on trumpet, Joan Hutton on sax, Joshua Stallings on bass and Ryan Johnson on drums. The band cites such divergent influences as Herbie Hancock, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Miles Davis and The Meters.

Whatever you do earlier, make a point of hitting Orchestra Hall at 10 pm (following the orchestra concert) for Peter Kogan's CD release in the Target Atrium. Principal timpanist for the orchestra, Kogan is also a jazz artist who has rounded up a top-flight ensemble for the recording and performance --Chuck Lazarus (trumpet), Scott Agster (trombone), Pete Whitman (sax), Sean Turner (piano), Cory Wong (guitar), and Brian Courage (bass). Lazarus, of course, is also a fellow member of the Minnesota Orchestra.

Jeremy Walker
At Vieux-Carré, start the evening early with the Jeremy Walker Duo --the entrepreneurial pianist and composer teaming up with another artist of substance, and stay on for the swinging fun of the Parisota Hot Club.

Patty Peterson (The Girls)
Friday-Saturday, July 31-August 1. In the last decade, one of the most popular vocal teams was The Girls, which at one time or another included Debbie Duncan, Lori Dokken, Erin Schwab, Judy Donaghy (Vinar), Patty Peterson and Rachel Holder. This weekend they reunite for two shows -- "A Diva Tribute"--at Chanhassan Dinner Theater. These are not simply great voices, these are great entertainers.

Babatunde Lea
Saturday, August 1. No ball game in Lowertown tonight, but fireworks prevail nevertheless. Saturday Night at the Black Dog leads off with veteran band led by saxophonist Joe Smith, with Dick Studer on bass and Kenny Horst on drums, followed by the series debut of the Babatunde Lea Quintet. Lea, who built his reputation playing with the likes of Stan Getz and Leon Thomas, spent several decades in the Bay Area before relocating to the Midwest, now in St. Paul.  A teacher and mentor as well as performer and composer, Lea has introduced local audiences to the "troponga"-- a kit melding African percussion and American jazz drumset. His cohorts tonight include Nelson Devereaux on sax, Zacc Harris on guitar, Phil Aaron on piano, and Chris Bates on bass.

Choro Borealis
A lot of bands are making their Vieux Carré debuts, and tonight its Choro Borealis, a trio led by 7-string guitar and global music specialist Robert Everest, with the O'Keefe brothers-- Pat on clarinet and bass clarinet, and Tim on mandolin and percussion. This is Brazilian music that goes beyond samba and bossa to the more complex and soaring rhythms of choro and more.

Chris Lomheim

Last of the Sommerfest Atrium Jazz gigs at Orchestra Hall following Somerfest concert (10 ish), with another round of solo piano from Chris Lomheim. We rarely get to hear him in this context, and his bass notes are such that you might swear there is an invisible bassist standing next to the piano. A very special summer treat. And it's free!
Sunday, August 2. Jazz brunch options--Patty and the Buttons bring swing to your mimosa at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest puts some samba in your salsa at Maria's; and Maud Hixson will make the bubbles rise from your champagne at Crooners Lounge.  At the Dakota, smooth and soulful saxman Boney James plays two sets to cap off the 

Later in the day, enjoy Woody Allen at the State Theater with his New Orleans jazz ensemble. No, not a movie-- real live jazz!  Allen plays a mean swinging clarinet.

Nelson Devereaux and Joe Strachan
Monday, August 3. Young and versatile trombonist Nick Syman takes the spotlight at Jazz Central. Later in the evening, young and versatile also describes the musicians of Courageous Endeavors, reuniting briefly with a gig at the Icehouse -- part of JT's Jazz Implosion series. Co-founder Brian Courage takes his rightful spot on bass, with the rest of the original band-- Nelson Devereaux, Joe Strachan and Miguel Hurtado. After Brian moved east, the band became Endeavors, but this is a now rare opportunity to hear the original group.

Arne Fogel
Tuesday, August 4. Officially this is National Night Out. Unofficially it's Twin Cities Big Band Night, with three of the area's veteran bands on three stages. At Crooners, enjoy dinner or lounge at the bar with the exciting charts of the Acme Jazz Company and Mr. Crooner himself, Arne Fogel. At Jazz Central, it's the monthly residency of the inventive Bill Simenson Orchestra, loaded with a who's who in metro jazz. And in St Paul, O'Gara's hosts the long-running monthly performance of Beasley's Big Band.

Connie Evingson
Wednesday, August 5. A perfect start to the evening? Songbird Connie Evingson, pianist Sanford Moore and saxophonist Dave Karr in the lounge at the Minneapolis Woman's Club. Sanford and Dave are both long-term cohorts of Connie, Sanford of course from the beginning of Moore by Four, Dave her frequent partner in the Jazz at the Jungle (Theater) series.

Over at Jazz Central, a new band with the intriguing name Elephant Crossing makes its debut, led by relative newcomer, pianist Ari Nahum. In his spare time, Ari is a resident in internal medicine at the U of M and a potter. His partners include Adam Meckler, Gus Sandberg, Ryan Hayes and Zach Schmidt.

Foodie Night at the Dakota features vocalist Maud Hixson in a new trio setting with guitarist Dave Singley and bassist Keith Boyles. With no cover, it's an amazing jazz bargain.

Katia Cardenas
Thursday, August 6.  A dazzling piano/guitar duo open the evening at Vieux Carré -- Dan Musselman and David Feily will be providing a lot more than background music for the dinner sets. And the singer who officially opened Vieux Carré a couple weeks ago, Katia Cardenas takes the spotlight at Jazz Central for vocal night.

Bombay Jazz with George Brooks
At the Dakota, guitar hero Larry Coryell returns with his Bombay Jazz project, featuring saxophonist George Brooks. East meets West, jazz meets traditional East Indian music.

Graydon Peterson
At Studio Z, the All Originals summer series continues with the Graydon Peterson Quartet-- with Adam Meckler, Joe Strachan and Adrian Suarez and a sheaf of original works.

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!
. August 7, Patty Peterson and Friends at the Icehouse
. August 7, Diana Krall at the State Theater
. August 7, Atlantis Quartet at Vieux Carre'
. August 10, Will Kjeer at Jazz Central
. August 11, Javi Santiago Trio at Vieux Carre'
. August 13, Michael Janisch Paradigm Shift Quartet at Studio Z
. August 14, Steve Kenny's Group 47 at The Nicollet
. August 15, Freedom Jazz Festival (Minneapolis, TBA)
. August 15, Larry McDonough Quartet/Will Kjeer Summer Band at the Black Dog
. August 20

, Adam Meckler Quintet Live Recording at Studio Z
. August 21, Bob Bowman at Jazz Central
. August 20-27, Bridge Chamber Music Festival, Northfield (Laura Caviani and Dave Milne on 8/21; Dave Hagedorn on 8/24)
. August 22, Jeremy Siskind Trio with Nancy Harms at Vieux Carré
. August 25, Cyrus Chestnut Trio at the Dakota
. August 28, No Room for Squares at The Nicollet
. August 30, Tootie Heath Trio with Ethan Iverson and Ben Street at the Dakota
. August 31, Terence Blanchard and E-Collective at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
. September 11, Christian Scott and Stretch Music at the Dakota
. September 17, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. October 4, Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at the Dakota
. October 25, Benny Green Trio at the Dakota
. November 16, Regina Carter's Southern Comfort at the Dakota