Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, September 11-17

Bill Carrothers-- Trio at Crooners Lounge, September 13-14

© Andrea Canter
Fall is in the air, you can almost hear the seasonal changes-- or is it chord changes?  With so many jazz sets to choose from, it's hard to keep up with the schedules of favorite performers and visiting dignitaries. There's plenty of each this week, from "homecoming" gigs of native sons, tributes to local and national legends, some intriguing pairings, and a long-running neighborhood jazz fest.

Big Gigs This Week
Ron Carter
Friday, September 11. Does anyone remember when living legend bassist Ron Carter was last in the Twin Cities? Did anyone expect that his next local gig would be in the intimate performance space of am inner city community music school? Carter and his current Golden Striker Trio with guitar wizard Russell Malone and acclaimed pianist Donald Vega play to a sold-out audience at Walker West Music Academy, the second installment of WW's 8 O'Clock Jump concert series. Earlier, at 4 pm, Carter will hold a Q and A at Walker West, no charge but advance reservation required. (I just heard this trio at the Detroit Jazz Festival -- and they are golden.)

Christian Scott
At the Dakota, trumpet master Christian Scott stretches the boundaries with his Stretch Music, a new ensemble that defies classification other than "great music." Scott himself describes it as "a stretching of Jazz, not a replacement... the idea that innovation should never be regarded as a problem in artistic practice, that one should always be aware of what has come before, and finally, that criticisms shouldn’t evoke paralysis, they should inspire action." Scott will no doubt play music from his upcoming mid-September release, Stretch Music.

Michael O'Brien
New York transplant bassist Michael O'Brien continues his metro tour this weekend, playing two gigs tonight. He pairs up with pianist Jeremy Walker for early evening sets at Vieux Carré, then  leads a trio at The Nicollet with Walker and drummer Tim Zhorne, part of Steve Kenny's Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series. 

Dan Musselman
At Jazz Central, pianist/composer Dan Musselman spreads his electronic wings with drummer Alex Young in a duo "exploring sonic textures and spontaneous improvisation in a jazz/atmospheric idiom."

Mary Louise Knutson
Planning to spend an evening with the Minnesota Orchestra at Orchestra Hall? Come early and enjoy (free) piano jazz in the lobby with Mary Louise Knutson before the concert. (Come back tomorrow night for another dose!) You don't need a concert ticket to attend pre-show jazz.

Also free, Judi Vinar is the Friday vocalist tonight at Parma 8200, providing a sophisticated evening of song to accompany that pasta or canolli.

Walter Chancellor
Saturday, September 12. It's music all day long. Start at 11 am at the intersection of Milton and Selby in St. Paul, where the annual Selby Avenue Jazz Festival celebrates its 14th year presenting local and national talents. This free and family-friendly day of jazz, food and crafts will feature the perennial Walker West Legends of Jazz with Carl Walker and Grant West, the Jazz Heritage Showcase with Maurice Jacox, always spicy Salsa del Soul, and headliner, saxman Walter Chancellor.

The late Jeanne Arland Peterson
At Vieux Carré, Michael O'Brien is back for another duo to kickoff the evening, this time with magical pianist Bryan Nichols. It's the prelude to a Peterson Family tribute to late matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson, raising funds for the U of M scholarship fund in her name that supports jazz students. Family includes Patty, Linda and Paul Peterson, Jason Peterson DeLaire, and special guest, Kenny Horst. This is Kenny's personal debut at Vieux Carré since "retiring" as owner of the Artists Quarter which anchored St. Paul jazz in this space from about 1995-2013. Across the river at the Dakota, Nachito Herrera pounds salsa from the keyboard, his almost monthly at his "home base."

Tribute to Lee Morgan
Another tribute this evening, this time the subject is trumpet great Lee Morgan, celebrated at the Black Dog by Jon Pemberton and his band (David Brattain, Mikkel Romstad, Tom Lewis and Cory Healey). It's a reprise of their tribute held in July at The Nicollet and one of several such tributes from Pemberton over the years. The evening kicks off with the Post Atomic Trio with David Hamilton (piano), Ademola Adegun (bass) and Derrin Pinto (drums).

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske
Normandy Kitchen presents the always-fun, always-swinging Travis Anderson Trio (with Steve Pikal and Nathan Norman), while out at Crooners Lounge, the velvety Ginger Commodore brings back the original quartet with Adi Yeshaya, Jay Young, Bobby Commodore and new pal Andrew Schwandt. And back for another season of Jazz in the Lobby Bar, JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske entertain at the Saint Paul Hotel.

Sunday, September 13. Jazz brunch with the usual suspects-- the Andrew Walesch Trio at Crooners; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's. 

Paul Renz
This evening, the Travis Anderson Trio returns to the Dakota, while the Paul Renz Quintet (with Wes Ruelle, piano; Jonathan Thomas, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums) returns to the Aster for a night of Paul's original compositions.

Bill Carrothers
Sunday-Monday, September 13-14. Crooners Lounge in Fridley is beefing up their jazz schedule, but even at that this is a special booking. Minnesota native, Europe-renowned pianist Bill Carrothers comes back to town for two nights with Chris Bates and Jay Epstein, working trio magic as only Bill can, and with no cover! No reservations in the lounge either, so plan to arrive early. Plan to go both nights. Bill is certainly not going to play the same show twice!

Charmin Michelle
Monday, September 14. Ahead of their season opener, JazzMN Orchestra brings the band along with vocalists Charmin Michelle and Andrew Walesch to the Chanhassan Dinner Theater. Big band, big voices, big menu. Try to beat that.

Dean Magraw
Tuesday, September 15. Continuing the instrumental jazz series at Crooners, tonight features the seldom heard Tommy O'Donnell Trio with Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey. They'll bop your socks off. Vieux Carré hosts what at first seems like an odd pairing -- trad piano fiend Butch Thompson and the eclectic modern guitar master Dean Magraw. It's going to be a melding of virtuosos across time and space! Speaking of virtuosos, come early and enjoy Chris Lomheim solo piano before Butch and Dean get underway. And at Jazz Central, it's time for the Explosion Big Band, led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster.

Wednesday, September 16. Young New York-based guitarist Asher Kurtz is featured tonight on the "new music" series at Jazz Central. A recent graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Asher has toured with Terri Lyne Carrington and appears on Jake Baldwin's recording of his band Ra Ra Rue.  

Charmin and Shapura
Thursday, September 17. The early sets at Vieux Carré feature the sublime Charmin and Shapira (Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira), who seem to play less as a duo these days since launching their "And Friends" quintet. Enjoyable fare for midweek, vocalist/saxophonist Jason Weisman brings his Jason and the Q to Crooners.

Patricia Barber
At the Dakota, the always intriguing pianist/vocalist Patricia Barber returns with her Chicagoland quartet. Barber typically includes a largely original repertoire on her set list, although some of her most devastating music has been her unique renditions of Cole Porter.  And her skills at the keyboard are no less individual.

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. 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.

Coming Soon!
. 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 21, Nichols/Bates/Bates at the Icehouse
. September 21, Paul Peterson at Jazz Central
. September 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at Crooners Lounge
. September 22-23, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. September 23, Pete Whitman's Rootie Tootie at Jazz Central
. 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 28, Larry McDonough 60th Birthday Celebration at the Dakota
. 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 9, Joey DeFrancesco at the Dakota
. November 10, Mary Louise Knutson Trio at Crooners Lounge
. 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 21, Joyce Lyons, Jazz @ St. Barneys
. 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

The Freedom Jazz Festival returns to Minnehaha Falls Park, September 19th