Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 7-13

Happy 96 Irv Williams! Party at the Dakota, August 9
© Andrea Canter
Summer means more venues for jazz and music of all sorts. There's festivals, patios, and now even breweries with mini-fests and outdoor stages. All of which means there are more, and harder, choices to be made.  This weekend, the Lowertown Guitar Festival invades Mears Park, bringing guitars of all shapes, sizes and genres. Weekly jazz series continue at Studio Z, The Nicollet and Black Dog; find music, especially jazz, nightly at the Dakota, Vieux Carré, Jazz Central and Crooners Lounge. Almost every micro brewery has some sort of music to offer, and of course this is  triple art festival weekend-- Uptown, Powderhorn and Loring Park that boast some live music among the pots, crafts, and paintings. And perhaps the biggest event of all, in terms of its rarity--Irv Williams will celebrate #96 with a party gig at the Dakota on Sunday.

Big Gigs This Week
Atlantis Quartet
Friday, August 7.  In what they say will be their last public performance in the Twin Cities until December, the Atlantis Quartet plays Vieux Carré for the first time, promising a couple sets of old favorites before they retire many of their landmark tunes in favor a "new sound." Zacc Harris leads with Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig. The opening band is a Jeremy Walker Duo with Jeff Brueske, warming up for Walker's Trio tomorrow at the Black Dog.

Eric Gravatt
At Jazz Central, veteran Weather Report drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt is back with Source Code, usually with Dean Magraw, Solomon Parham, Dave Graf and Ron Evaniuk.  It's the perfect band for the Bridge Series, as Source Code's primary home for years was the old Artists Quarter.

Patty Peterson
At the Icehouse, hear Patty Peterson and Friends in a venue that seems to be designed for this band - big stage, colorful lighting, versatile sound system, and a big bar.  "Friends" joining the talented vocalist include family--brother Paul and nephew Jason DeLaire--and "friends"--Billy Franze and Bobby Vandell. Jazz and R&B blend seamlessly. Down the street at The Nicollet, jazz makes a left turn with the John Devine-Bill Lang Quartet (with Brock Thorson and Alden Ikeda). Free jazz takes over.

Ginger Commodore
Downtown Minneapolis, Ginger Commodore and her GCQ quartet hit the stage for an evening of blues and gospel tinged standards and pop hits, featuring Ginger's long-time accomplices -- Lee Blaske, Mark Weisburg and Bobby Commodore. Another vocalist needing no introduction, Diana Krall returns to the State Theater, on tour promoting her eclectic recording, Wallflower. Krall probably tours 80% of the year but even in a large theater, she brings intimacy and that "in the moment" verve.

Dean Granros
Saturday, August 8. It's the annual Lowertown Guitar Festival presented by McNally Smith College of Music, covering two stages-- the main stage in Mears Park, and the adjacent 6th Street Stage. The music runs the gamut, with some sets of particular interest to jazz fans -- Dean Granros (2:30 Main Stage), Tim Sparks (4 pm Main Stage), and Park Evans (8 pm 6th Street).

Pippi Ardennia
Stay in Lowertown for more jazz -- Pippi Ardennia returns with her PipJazz ensemble at the Bedlam. Tonight her focus is on her young protegés, including pianist/composer/arranger Jo Schad, saxophonists Lee Tran and Walter Hampton, bassist Gavin Taylor-Stark, and drummer Dario Parker.  Around the corner at the Black Dog, the piano-bass-drum trio is on full display.  Start the evening with bassist Ted Olsen and his trio (with Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado), then stay on for the Jeremy Walker Trio, with Jeff Brueske and Nathan Norman.

Orchestra for Ants
Public Kitchen gets into the act tonight with a double-header: The early evening brings in saxophonists Donald Washington and Nathan Hanson, with Doan Roessler on bass and Tim Duroche on drums, followed by a guitar fest postscript-- Orchestra for Ants, a playful three-guitar trio with Ben Abrahamson, Park Evans and Nick Chapeau.

Irv Williams
Sunday, August 9. Andrew Walesch ensures both swing and croon for jazz brunch at Crooners. The big party of the day of course is at the Dakota, where "Mr. Smooth" Irv Williams slides into another year, celebrating 96 and still blowing sweet. And yes, he still plays at Happy Hour at the Dakota every Friday.

Monday, August 10. The Jazz Central spotlight falls on 18-year-old pianist Will Kjeer. After spending a post-high school year at the Interlochen Academy, Will is packing for college studies at Cal Arts, so this is a good opportunity, and perhaps one of the last for a while, to hear his amazing command of the keyboard and his original compositions.

Charmin & Shapira & Friends
Always a good time, Charmin and Shapira and Friends hits their monthly Foodie Night at the Dakota. Vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira have a long-standing duo partnership, which about three years ago spawned the quintet edition with Paul Harper, Tom Lewis and, special guest tonight, Jay Epstein.

Todd Clouser
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion welcomes Minnesota native guitarist Todd Clouser, celebrating the American release of his latest recording, Chant. For the Midwest edition of the band, Todd features two drummers--Greg Schutte and JT
Bates, along with James Buckley and Jake Baldwin. Guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker later presents a solo set.

Javi Santiago
Tuesday, August 11. Turning the Ted Olsen Trio inside-out, the same threesome perform as the Javi Santiago Trio at Vieux Carré (with Miguel Hurtado on drums).

It's second Tuesday at the Black Dog, time for "A Chris Olson Project." Tonight the guitar master brings together a new trio with Brandon Wozniak and Jay Epstein. We might wish the second Tuesday came around more often!

At the Icehouse, an unusual duo -- the Potash Twins-- celebrate their first recording. These young men have prodigious talents on the trombone, mentored by Wynton Marsalis, and currently attend college in New York.

Wednesday, August 12. Jazz Central presents "new music" on Wednesdays and what's newer than a new band? Dubbed Claw Machine, the trio is led by bassist Kameron Markworth, a relatively new artist on the local scene, with Trent Baarspul on guitar and Lars-Erik Larson on drums. Judging Markworth by the company he keeps, this will be a great debut at JC.

Connie Evingson
Vocalist Connie Evingson wraps up a residency at the American Swedish Institute with a two-show evening at the ASI. During the past year, Connie researched the ASI archives and wrote a song "about the life of Jacob Fahlstrom, the first Swede in Minnesota.   What a story!  A 12-year old cabin boy from Stockholm,  he arrived at Hudson Bay in 1809, came to Minnesota at age 14, married a woman of Ojibwe and African descent at age 28, and worked as a fur trader, mail courier, and farmer."  Joining Connie will be a talent-heavy band of Sam Miltich, Gordy Johnson, Jay Epstein and violinist Sara Pajunen. (Note tickets remain only for the 6 pm show.)

And speaking of debuts, it's a busy week for Ginger Commodore and her quartet, and tonight they make their debut at Crooners Lounge. If you missed them at the Dakota, here's another opportunity in a different venue.

Thursday, August 13. The All Originals jazz series at Studio Z welcomes Minnesota native bassist Michael Janisch. Janisch grew up in Wisconsin and ultimately landed in London where he performs with his quartet and with the Cloudmakers Trio--recently on the Union Depot Stage during the Twin Cities Jazz Fest. Janisch was also at Studio Z about a year ago with his American quartet. This visit, he teams up with local stars Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak and Pete Hennig.

Le Percheron
Over at Khyber Pass Cafe, you can get a great plate of Afghani treats... and on Thursday you can get an earful of some of the area's most avant jazz. Tonight it's a double header. Start with Sound Skirmish, a band of barely 20s (and some not yet!) with Levi Schwartzberg, Patrick Adkins, Drew Stinson and Ben Ehrlich. They will warm up the stage for Le Percheron, headed by Adam Linz with Brandon Wozniak, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Cory Healey, and, again, Levi Schwartzberg.

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. The live edition of The Lead Sheet can be heard at 4:40 pm on Thursdays on KBEM, excertps rebroadcast at 7:40 am on Fridays. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g.

Coming Soon!
. August 14, Steve Kenny's Group 47 at The Nicollet
. August 15, Charmin Michelle Quartet with Laura Caviani at The Normandy Kitchen
. August 15, Larry McDonough Quartet/Will Kjeer Summer Band at the Black Dog
. August 17, Eric Harland and Rude Unkel at the Dakota
. August 20, Adam Meckler Quintet Live Recording at Studio Z
. August 20, KBEM Gallery Grooves at the Walker Art Center, with Robert Everest Quartet
. August 20-27, Bridge Chamber Music Festival, Northfield (Laura Caviani and Dave Milne on 8/21; Dave Hagedorn on 8/24)
. August 21, Bob Bowman at Jazz Central
. August 21, Adam Meckler Quintet, Live Recording at The Nicollet
. August 22, Adam Meckler Quintet,  Live Recording at the Black Dog
. 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 1, Tanner Taylor at Crooners Lounge
. September 4, KBEM Last Days of Summer Cruise with Cameron Kinghorn and Joe Strachan
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
. September 11, Christian Scott and Stretch Music at the Dakota
. September 13-14, Bill Carrothers Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 17, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. September 29, Laura Caviani Trio with Todd Straight and Bob Bowman at Crooners Lounge
. 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

Eric Harland and Rude Unkel bring some new sounds to the Dakota on August 17