© Andrea Canter
Labor Day Weekend traditionally marks the end of summer, but on the local jazz scene, the heat wave continues. A new Minnesota transplant celebrates his debut CD at Vieux Carré; a new band of local veterans launches at The Nicollet; an established ensemble celebrates Monk at the Black Dog; the Dave King Trucking Company "implodes" at the Icehouse; Jon Weber sticks around for two more gigs this weekend including another Jazz at the Jungle with Connie Evingson; Chicago's brilliant flautist Nicole Mitchell opens the new 8 O'Clock Jump series at Walker West; expat Minnesotan Michael O'Brien plays the first of his four Twin Cities evenings; Dave Karr brings his quartet to Crooners;Victor Wooten returns to the Dakota; and hot sax star Kamasi Washington hits the Icehouse at the end of the week. For starters.
Big Gigs This Week
Friday, September 4. At post time there were still a few seats left for KBEM's Annual "Last Days of Summer" River Cruise on the Magnolia Blossom, taking off from Crosby Park, complete with live music from pianist Joe Strachan and vocalist Cameron Kinghorn. Enjoy these young lions along with food and a chance to help support KBEM.
Once in a while, Parma 8200 has an instrumental ensemble on a
Friday night, and tonight it's sublime guitarist Joel Shapira's Trio with saxophonist Pete Whitman and bassist Tom
In south Minneapolis, Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet helps launch a new project-- the Phil Aaron/Zacc Harris Quartet with Matt Peterson and Jay Epstein. Technically a cross-generational ensemble, even the "youngsters" Matt and Zacc have at least a decade's worth of credentials and Harris probably has one of the longest list of working bands in the region.
The encyclopedic sage of jazz piano Jon Weber arrived from New York earlier this week to perform with Connie Evingson at the Minneapolis Woman's Club. Tonight he brings his "Joplin to Jarrett" show to the Dakota to inform and entertain. (See Sunday below for his next gig!)
Saxophonist Andrew Schwandt moves into the leader position with his quartet at Jazz Central,doubling on tenor sax with Joe Mayo and featuring Pierre Lewis on piano. Eric Graham on bass and Batume on drums.
Young vocalist Katia Cardenas continues to build a fan base across the metro, in part because she is as likely to sing Ella as Sting. She returns to Vieux Carré tonight, where she had the club's grand opening gig in July.
Saturday, September 5. The State Fair will be jammed for its final weekend, and this afternoon you can hear Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 with singer Maryann Sullivan (1-3 pm) at the Carousel Stage.
Jana Nyberg is back in full swing after her "maternity leave," and brings a new quartet to her debut at Crooners' Lounge: Chris Lomheim on piano, Graydon Peterson on bass, and Pete James-Johnson on drums join singer/songwriter/flautist Jana."All jazz," she says.
|Kenny Horst-- What Would Monk Do?|
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog features the always-popular What Would Monk Do, providing interpretations of the Monk repertoire as well as original compositions inspired by Monk. WWMD includes Steve Kenny on trumpet, Kenny Horst on drums, and original bassist Billy Peterson,home for a while after a summer of European gigs. Phil Aaron is filling in on piano for Peter Schimke who has a date with Prince. Come early for an opening set with some talented college students -- "VVG" (Very Very Groovy) with saxophonist Josh Johnson, vibraphonist/pianist Levi Schwartzberg, trumpeter/bassist DeCarlo Jackson, and drummer Ben Beyene.
Vieux Carré welcomes Texas transplant Adam Booker for a CD release party. The bassist is currently on faculty at the University of Minnesota Duluth, whose jazz director Ryan Frane serves as pianist on Booker's Unraveled Rival, released this week on the local Shifting Paradigm Records. The recording features a largely Texas crew, while the CD Release Party will be a Minnesota affair, with Frane, Pete Whitman, Zacc Harris and Pete Hennig on board.
The Normandy Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis continues to expand its bookings, tonight offering the John Penny Trio. The versatile guitarist/vocalist/composer joins forces with the formidable pianist Thomas West and swinging drummer Nathan Norman.
For a swinging good time, check out vocalists Judi Vinar and Lori Dokken at the Townhouse Lounge in St. Paul.
Sunday, September 6. Jazz brunch options today include Andrew Walesch with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein at Crooners' Lounge; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; and Robert Everest at Maria's.
Connie Evingson has been presenting Jazz at the Jungle (Theater) productions for the past few years, including a series with pianist Jon Weber that celebrated the Songbooks of Ella Fitzgerald. One of their first collaborations was a celebration of the songs of David Frishberg, and today (two shows) they reprise that production with Dave Karr and Gordy Johnson. "Fresh Frish" presents favorite Frishberg tunes with a fresh sound.
The first of the 8 O'Clock Jump series at Walker West takes place tonight, and there may be no tickets left. Chicago-based flautist Nicole Mitchell is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, as well as a perennial poll-topper. She's at Walker West with her quartet.
Monday, September 7. Former Twin Citian Michael O'Brien is a first-call bassist as well as bandleader and composer in New York. He's back this week with four gigs, starting tonight in Joel Shapira's Convergence Trio at the Black Dog, featuring Eric Gravatt on drums. (Michael appears in duo format next weekend at Vieux Carré and leading a quartet at The Nicollet.)
|Dave King and Chris Speed|
Another homecoming of sorts -- The Dave King Trucking Company, complete with New York saxophonist Chris Speed and (formerly local bassist) Chris Morrissey, brings new meaning to the "Jazz Implosion" series at the Icehouse tonight. King, Brandon Wozniak and Erik Fratzke round out the company.
Monday-Tuesday, September 7-8. Bassist, 5-time Grammy winner and a member of Bela Fleck's Flecktones, Victor Wooten returns for two nights, four sets at the Dakota. He's a three-time winner of Bassist of the Year from Bass Player Magazine, the only artist to win more than once.
Tuesday, September 8. The Tuesday night instrumental jazz series hosts another top ensemble as the Dave Karr Quartet makes its Crooners' debut. Joining the 80-something sax legend will be long-time cohorts, Chris Lomheim on piano, Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Crooners is seeking to make this a night for serious music and serious listeners, but fortunately Dave Karr never takes himself too seriously!
Another debut night, vocalist Thomas Bruce takes the stage for his first turn at Vieux Carré, backed by Phil Aaron and Steve Pikal. Tommy brings a Chet Baker-like vulnerability and elegance to his tunes, but with Phil and Steve on the bandstand, there will be some fun as well!
At the Black Dog, the monthly "Chris Olson Project" expands to the full Framework trio (with Chris Bates and Jay Epstein) plus special guest, vocalist Tony DeMarco.
For big band fans, look no farther than Jazz Central tonight, as the Cedar Avenue Big Band takes the stage for its monthly blowout. With more than 25 years together, the CABB is the real deal and features a who's who in Twin Cities jazz.
Wednesday, September 9. Tonight at Crooners', it's vocalist/songwriter Judi Vinar (Donaghy) with the Wolverines Trio (Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal, Jendeen Forberg) -- a band she has worked with for more than 20 years.
Thursday, September 10. Seems everywhere I turn lately, someone is talking about Kamasi Washington. The eclectic multi-instrumentalist makes his Icehouse debut tonight with his Dectet. Washington has played with McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, and George Duke while also working with Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, and Quincy Jones; more recently he has toured with Stanley Clarke, Harvey Mason and Chaka Khan. In his band “The Next Step,” Kamasi boasts two drummers, two bassists (upright and electric), piano and keyboards, three horns, and a vocalist. They just released a triple disc entitled The Epic. (Reservations recommended.)
At MacPhail's Antonello Hall, pianist/instructor Tom Pletscher performs a farewell concert with a powerhouse ensemble featuring Jim Bierma on bass, Phil Hey on drums, Greg Keel on sax, and Nathan Norman on drums. After more than two decades at MacPhail, Tom is relocating to Washington state.
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. 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 September 3--Peter Leggett of Walker West, on the new jazz series with Nicole Mitchell and soon Ron Carter.) Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
. September 11, Christian Scott and Stretch Music at the Dakota
. September 11, Ron Carter and Golden Striker Trio at Walker West Music Academy
. September 11, Michael O'Brien Trio at The Nicollet
. 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 12, Jon Pemberton's Tribute to Lee Morgan at the Black Dog
. 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 18, Bryan Nichols (Chicago) Quartet at Vieux Carré
. September 18, Seru/Bates/Wozniak at The Nicollet
. 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 19, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at the Black Dog
. 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 25, Lucia Sarmiento Quartet at The Nicollet
. September 26, Patty Peterson and Friends with Steve Cole at the Dakota
. September 26, John Penny Trio followed by CD Release "Night Together" at the Black Dog
. 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 6, Butch Thompson at Crooners Lounge
. October 8, Jazz in the Target Atrium (Orchestra Hall), Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Wessell Anderson
. October 13, Phil Hey Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. 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
. October 27, Jane Monheit 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
|Ron Carter - At Walker West Music Academy on September 11|
* Photos by Andrea Canter except Nicole Mitchell and Kamasi Washington (from artist websites)