Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 20-27

Cyrus Chestnut at the Dakota, August 25
© Andrea Canter

Lots of special events on the jazz scene this week, from the final two nights of Adam Meckler Quintet's live recording sessions and the season finale of the All Originals Jazz Series to the jazz components of the Bridge Chamber Music Festival in Northfield, and a stellar line-up of visiting artists from Kansas City bassist Bob Bowman and former Minnesotan Nancy Harms to hard-swinging pianist Cyrus Chestnut and the Rabbi of jazz, Ben Sidran.

Big Gigs This Week
Friday, August 21. Start the evening with Irv Williams. Just a few days past his 96th birthday, Mr. Smooth continues to hold down Happy Hour at the Dakota every Friday.

Bob Bowman
Kansas City bassist Bob Bowman has been a frequent visitor lately, and he's back in town for a gig at Jazz Central, playing in a trio with pianist Dan Leahy and drummer Mac Santiago.

Across town at the Black Dog, saxophonist Donald Washington hosts his monthly meeting of improvisational minds, featuring a trio tonight with bassist Yohannes Tona and drummer/son Kevin Washington. Come down early for Todd Harper's Possibilities, with drummer Bill Stieger, bassist Mike Leipold,  trumpeter Todd Baer, saxophonist Chris Hagedorn, and of course Harper--pianist, composer, and "traffic director." 

Patty Peterson
In downtown St Paul, Vieux Carré presents the early show with the Zacc Harris Duo, while the swinging Southside Aces will turn up the heat a couple hours later.

In the north 'burbs, the ever-expanding palette of music at Crooners features Patty Peterson and Friends, and the friends tonight include pianist Sean Turner, bassist Billy Franze and drummer Bobby Vandell. Turner is playing more and more visibly these days, which is a very good thing for local jazz. Or head south to Bloomington for an evening at Parma 8200 with Arne Fogel, channeling Bing, Frank, and more.

David Milne
Further south in Northfield, its the Bridge Chamber Music Festival which spreads across venues over several days. Tonight's treat is offered by the piano/sax duo of Laura Caviani and Dave Milne at the Carleton College Concert Hall, performing "jazz impressions” of classical repertoire, featuring special arrangements of music by Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Bill Dobbins, Claude Debussy, Manuel de Falla, Gabriel Faure, Carlos Guastavino, and Maurice Ravel. Definitely worth the 40-minute drive.

Adam Meckler
Friday-Saturday, August 21-22. On Thursday, the Adam Meckler Quintet launched an unusual three-night, three-venue live recording series of gigs at Studio Z, and this weekend they finish up at The Nicollet (Friday) and Black Dog (Saturday), each session sponsored by Steve Kenny's Illicit Productions. With Zacc Harris, Nelson Devereaux, Graydon Peterson and Greg Schutte filling out the ensemble, we'll hear all new compositions written with these artists in mind. And while the music intended for the album will be played each night, the nature of the set, and the additional tunes to fill out the set lists, will vary with the moment.

Zacc Harris
Saturday, August 22. The ever-creative Zacc Harris launches a new ensemble tonight at the Black Dog, opening for the Adam Meckler Quintet. Dubbed American Reverie, Zacc notes that "It won't always be trio, and the 'American' part is key, as we'll be doing all arrangements and re-imaginations of songs that evoke imagery of an America gone by," including "Tennessee Waltz," "Shenandoah," and "Be My Baby." It is a trio tonight with bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Lars-Erik Larson.

Jeremy Siskind Trio
In the wake of their superb new recording, Housewarming (BJU Records), the Jeremy Siskind Trio is on a Midwest tour that brings the band to Vieux Carré tonight. And this "housewarming" is also a homecoming for vocalist Nancy Harms, a Minnesota native who spent about five years charming vocal jazz fans in the Twin Cities before relocating to New York in 2010. Her star is on a fast rise in the Big Apple, in part due to her role in projects like Housewarming. Pianist Siskind is also a prolific composer who tends to set poetry to the music; rounding out the trio is multi-reed specialist Lucas Pino, with whom Nancy creates two-voice harmonies that sometimes leave the listener wondering what's human, what's reed.

Robert Everest
Brazilian-style guitarist Robert Everest brings samba outside at Powderhorn Park tonight, and Andrew Walesch brings his big band to Crooners for his salute to Frank Sinatra.

Sunday, August 23. Want a little jazz with Sunday brunch?  Most every Sunday, you can find good food and good music around the metro, from the soothing piano and vocals of Andrew Walesch at Crooners (with Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) to the "New Orleans Traditional Jazz, Western Swing, Gypsy melodies, Ragtime piano blues, jug music and 1930′s popular song" melange of Patty and the Buttons at the Aster to the south of the border vibe of Robert Everest at Maria's Cafe.

Dave Hagedorn
Monday, August 24. Saxophonist Joe Mayo brings his quartet (Zacc Harris, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; Lars-Erik Larson, drums) to Jazz Central tonight, while down in Northfield, vibes master Dave Hagedorn "and friends" continue the jazz trend of the Bridge Chamber Music Festival at the Grand Event Center.  JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse tonight features a trio of innovative multi-instrumentalists-- Tom Reichert, Tim Glenn, and Atlanta artist Stephen Roach.

Cyrus Chestnut
Tuesday, August 25. Swinging pianist Cyrus Chestnut headlined the Twin Cities Jazz Festival two years ago, but it has been a very long time since he's played here in an appropriately intimate space like the Dakota. The Baltimore native is considered one of the most beloved ambassadors of jazz for his swinging and accessible style as well as his warm persona. His background includes two years with Betty Carter and appearing in Robert Altman's film, Kansas City. Joining Chestnut at the Dakota will be bassist Michael Hawkins and drummer Neal Smith.

Byan Nichols
At Vieux Carré tonight, modern jazz takes the stage as Nichols/Bates/Bates returns to St. Paul, having performed last month on the All Originals Jazz series at Studio Z. Pianist Bryan Nichols, bassist Chris Bates and drummer JT Bates will challenge listeners while remaining accessible, and pretty darn fun to watch as well as hear.

It's big band night at Jazz Central, and the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra likes to refer to their fourth Tuesday gig as an "open rehearsal." This band features the metro's best, with Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago leading the likes of Pete Whitman, Doug Little, Dave Graf, Jeff Rinear, Pete Enblom, Jake Baldwin, Joe Strachan, Dave Martin and Graydon Peterson.

Joe Strachan
Wednesday, August 26. New music night at Jazz Central will feature young pianist Joe Strachan. Just two years out of the jazz program at the U of M, Joe has become a first-call musician, performing in a wide variety of contexts but often in the company of the finest of the new generation-- Jake Baldwin, Nelson Devereaux, Miguel Hurtado, Andrew Foreman, Lars-Erik Larson and more, as well as holding the piano chair for the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra.

Tonight at the Black Dog, percussionist Davu Seru brings in a trio featuring visiting multi-instrumentalist Stephen Roach and local guitar wizard Tom Reichert.

Ben Sidran
Wednesday-Thursday, August 26-27. We always look forward to the return of pianist/composer/producer/you-name-it Ben Sidran, and he's back for two nights at the Dakota with his latest "jazz and philosophy" class, Blue Camu. It's a double family affair with son Leo on drums and long-time associates Billy (bass) and Ricky (keys) Peterson.

Mike Lewis
Thursday, August 27. The Bryan Nichols Quintet has been one of the most popular modern ensembles in the metro, but since saxophonist Mike Lewis relocated to the East Coast, their gigs have been few and far between. Tonight they reunite to close out the second summer All Originals Jazz Series at Studio Z. Joining pianist Bryan and saxophonist Mike will be Brandon Wozniak (sax), James Buckley (bass) and JT Bates (drums). All original compositions, of course.

Rhonda Laurie
At Jazz Central, vocal night features Melody Mendis, an eclectic talent who takes her listeners "on a journey into love and madness." Vocals also are on the menu tonight in the lounge at Public Kitchen in St. Paul, with Rhonda Laurie providing the songs and guitarist Reuben Ristrom providing the strings.

George Cartwright
The little avant garde series that keeps a low profile in St Paul continues on Thursday nights at Khyber Pass. But it's hard to consider George Cartwright and Dave King "low profile" within the jazz community! Khyber Pass brings some amazing music to its tiny space with help from curators Adam Linz, Paul Metzger and Davu Seru, and tonight George and Dave will no doubt blow the roof off... for a $5 cover. Run and grab a chair.

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, excerpts rebroadcast at 7:40 am on Fridays. (Special guest August 27-- Dean Sorenson re his new CD!) Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g.

Coming Soon!
. August 28, No Room for Squares at The Nicollet
. August 28, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. August 28, Jeremy Walker Duo/Patty and the Buttons at Vieux Carré
. 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
. August 31, Explosion Big Band at Minnesota State Fair, AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion (5 pm)
. August 31, Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge
. September 1, Explosion Big Band at Minnesota Stage Fair, AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion (5 pm)
. September 1, Tanner Taylor at Crooners Lounge
. September 1, Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz at Vieux Carré
. September 1, Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog
. September 1, Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central
. September 2-3, Robert Everest at the Minnesota State Fair, International Bazaar Stage
. September 3, Rhonda Laurie Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. September 3, Vicky Mountain at Jazz Central
. September 4, Last Days of Summer KBEM Cruise
. September 4, Joel Shapira Trio at Parma 8200
. September 4, Katia Cardenas at Vieux Carré
. September 5, Adam Booker Sextet CD Release at Vieux Carré
. September 6, Nichole Mitchell at Walker West Music Academy
. September 7, Shapira/O'Brien/Gravatt Trio at the Black Dog
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota
. September 8, Dave Karr Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. September 10, Kamasi Washington at the Icehouse
. September 11, Christian Scott and Stretch Music at the Dakota
. September 11, Ron Carter and Golden Striker Trio at Walker West Music Academy
. September 12, Selby Avenue Jazz Festival (Walter Chancellor, Salsa del Soul, Source Code)
. September 12, Peterson Family Tribute to Jeanne Arland Peterson at Vieux Carré
. September 13-14, Bill Carrothers Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 15, Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw at Vieux Carré
. September 15, Tommy O'Donnell Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 17, Patricia Barber at the Dakota
. September 18, Bryan Nichols (Chicago) Quartet at Vieux Carré
. September 19, Freedom Jazz Festival at Minnehaha Falls Park
. September 19, Laura Caviani and Dave Milne, Jazz at St Barneys
. September 19, Jay Young and Lyric Factory at the Dakota
. September 20, Clarice Assad at the Dakota
. September 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. September 24, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Vieux Carré
. September 25, Javi Santiago Sextet at Vieux Carré
. September 26, Patty Peterson and Friends with Steve Cole at the Dakota
. September 29, Dave Graf Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. September 29, Red Planet at Vieux Carré
. 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 16, JT Bates Organ Trio at Vieux Carré
. October 16, Yolande Bruce Group at Walker West Music Academy
. October 20, Laura Caviani Trio with Bob Bowman and Todd Straight at Crooners
. October 25, Benny Green Trio at the Dakota
. November 13, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at Walker West Music Academy
. November 16, Regina Carter's Southern Comfort at the Dakota
. November 19, Jazz in the Target Atrium (Orchestra Hall), Atrium Jazz Ensemble
. November 22-23, Karrin Allyson at the Dakota
. December 2, Diane Schuur at the Dakota
. December 14-15, New York Voices Holiday show at the Dakota

Tanner Taylor visits at Crooners Lounge on September 1, starting the Tuesday Night Jazz series