Monday, August 10, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 14-20

The Adam Meckler Quintet starts a three-night, three-venue run of live recording sessions, August 20-22

 © Andrea Canter
 Another week featuring our youngest jazzers as well as our elders, sometimes together on the same gig. All Originals at Studio Z welcomes a native son; two cross-generational ensembles play one more time before going on hiatus --at least til college winter break; the Peterson Family celebrates Linda's CD release; another favorite vocalist returns from maternity "leave," and Adam Meckler starts a three-night, three-venue live recording project. That's the tip of the Twin Cities' jazz iceberg.

Big Gigs This Week
Group 47
Friday, August 14. Steve Kenny's Group 47 has had a surprisingly long run given that three of the five musicians have been engaged in college (or pre-college) studies since the band formed at the Artists Quarter in 2013. Gigs are now tied to pianist Will Kjeer's college schedule, as he starts his first classes at Cal Arts in September, making tonight's Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet show the last for a while. The band plays an all-original repertoire, and each time out the tunes seem to have been re-examined and given new twists.

Connie Evingson
Also inclined to give crowd favorites new twists and nuances, vocalist Connie Evingson will be in the lounge at Parma 8200 in Bloomington, while original compositions and inside-out arrangements are the norm for bassist Anthony Cox, who brings a trio into Jazz Central.

Debbie Duncan
It's perhaps not the first venue you think of for modern improvising bands, but the SW Crafthouse (aka Senor Wong) in St Paul hosts three young inventors-- Cory Healey, Chris Bates and Jake Baldwin. On the other hand, Patty Peterson and Friends, seem like a perfect fit to Crooner's Lounge where they land tonight, as does Debbie Duncan who makes her first appearance at Vieux Carré. She's likely to be a fixture there as she was at the Artists Quarter -- it's just a room that screams for Debbie! Plan to arrive early as the free dinner hour sets feature guitarist Zacc Harris and visiting bassist, Michael Janisch, hot off his quartet gig at Studio Z last night.

Will Kjeer
Saturday, August 15. Leaving town in style, Will Kjeer has another "farewell" gig, this time leading the Will Kjeer Summer Band as the opening act for Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog. His cohorts include fellow college freshman-to-be Charlie Lincoln on bass (Charlie is off to the Berklee College of Music in a few weeks), Steve Kenny on Flumpet™, Uncle Kenny Horst on drums, and special guests. 

Larry McDonough
It's a tough act to follow but the Larry McDonough Quartet is up to the task. Pianist (and attorney) Larry always includes some original tunes (in very original time signatures) as well as crafty arrangements, and his band featuring Richard Terrill (sax), Greg Stinson (bass) and Dean White (drums) has developed a musical telepathy.

At Vieux Carré, pianist Chris Lomheim plays (free!) for the dinner hour sets, and if you peruse the venue calendar, you will see his name on a number of early evenings. Seems he is the house pianist this month!

Charmin Michelle
Over at the Normandy Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis, the "Third Saturday" jazz program is expanding, at least in its scope of musicians. These monthly nights have often presented singer Maurice Jacox; now they're adding some other area favorites. Tonight, Charmin Michelle brings in a formidable quartet with Laura Caviani, Jay Young and Eric Gravatt. This band  would rate Birdland or the Blue Note in New York.

Andrew Walesch
Sunday, August 16. Crooners Lounge hosts jazz brunch every Sunday, and this month (and beyond?) that means singer/pianist Andrew Walesch with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein, and usually a guest horn player. Walesch brings his own touch of Sinatra to the band stand, and has also taken on curatorial duties for a large part of Crooner's daily schedule. (Watch for news of a Tuesday night instrumental jazz series-- serious jazz with such guests as Tanner Taylor, Laura Caviani, and-- a special two-night gig with Bill Carrothers, all coming this fall.)

Linda Peterson
The long awaited CD release from Linda Peterson is finally here -- with an early evening bash at the Icehouse. Vocalist/pianist Linda has at least partially relocated to the Twin Cities after living and working in southern California. Much of the Peterson family will be on hand to help celebrate this unique compilation of Linda's international releases (You Gotta Be Somewhere).

Monday, August 17. We've seen drummer Eric Harland in many configurations recently, with Joshua Redman's quartet, Charles Lloyd's quartet, SF Jazz Collective and just six weeks ago with Dave Holland, Chris Potter and Lionel Loueke at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. But with his new Rude Unkal ensemble, it's "garage jazz" funk all the way, tonight at the Dakota.

Jana Nyberg
Tuesday, August 18. Nice double header at Vieux Carré tonight. Start out early evening (no cover!) with the always magnificent piano of Chris Lomheim, easing you into Jana Nyberg's "comeback" kickoff gig following her maternity leave. Now in the role of Augie's mom as well as talented singer/songwriter/flautist/educator, Jana brings back the Jana Nyberg Group featuring husband (Augie's dad!) Adam on trumpet and, often, companion vocals. The rest of the team is back too-- Thomas Nordlund on guitar, Matt Peterson on bass and Andres Crovetti on drums. Standards, originals, jazzy pop, always a lot of energy flowing among these musicians.

Jack Brass Band
Wednesday, August 19. So where does a New Orleans style brass band go after opening for Dr. John in the first-ever concert at the new CHS Field? To the Icehouse, of course. Tonight, Jack Brass Band, directed by Mike Olander and featuring a cast of top Twin Cities brass artists, brings their funky Crescent City swing to south Minneapolis.

At Jazz Central, hear back-to-back bands featuring young talents with connections to McNally Smith College of Music. Saxophonist Lucia Sarmiento, a former student of Andres Prado in her native Peru, leads an ensemble of like-minded pals, including, yet again, another opportunity to hear pianist Will Kjeer. A late set features another young gun, saxophonist Adrian Larkin and his band, The Blue. Both bands include guitarist Trevor Wiest.

Katia Cardenas
Vocalist Katia Cardenas returns to the Dakota with a young lion line up of Ted Godbout (piano), Andrew Foreman (bass), and Zach Schmidt (percussion).

Adam Meckler
Thursday, August 20. For the past two years, trumpeter Adam Meckler has focused his composing and bandleading talents on his Adam Meckler Orchestra, with breathtaking results (e.g., the AMO's debut recording, When Clouds Look Like This). Now Meckler turns his attention back to his quintet and three consecutive nights of live recording at three venues. Things kick-off tonight on the All Originals jazz series at Studio Z, where Adam leads pals Zacc Harris, Nelson Devereaux, Graydon Peterson and Greg Schutte. Notes Adam of his return to writing for the quintet, "Writing for the big band has forced me to think about each musician differently, and to consider all of the various orchestration options each instrument provides, so my new quintet music definitely has some of that happening." (He's back in the "live studio" Friday at The Nicollet and Saturday at the Black Dog.)

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 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, Arne Fogel at Parma 8200
. August 21, Adam Meckler Quintet, Live Recording at The Nicollet
. August 22, Zacc Harris American Reverie Trio (debut) followed by 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
Cyrus Chestnut
. August 26-27, Ben Sidran at the Dakota
. August 28, No Room for Squares at The Nicollet
. August 28, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. August 29, Dean Sorenson Sextet, CD Release at the Black Dog
. August 29, Patty Peterson and Friends at the Dakota
. 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 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
. September 8, Dave Karr Quartet at Crooners
. September 11, Christian Scott and Stretch Music at the Dakota
. September 13-14, Bill Carrothers Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 15, Tommy O'Donnell Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 17, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
. September 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. September 29, Dave Graf Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. October 4, Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra at the Dakota
. October 8, Jazz in the Target Atrium (Orchestra Hall), with Wessell Anderson
. October 13, Phil Hey Quartet at Crooners
. October 20, Laura Caviani Trio with Bob Bowman and Todd Straight at Crooners
. October 25, Benny Green Trio at the Dakota
. November 16, Regina Carter's Southern Comfort at the Dakota

Jeremy Siskind Trio with Nancy Harms, at Vieux Carre' August 22 (photo courtesy of the artists)