Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, October 9-15

Amina Figarova at the Dakota, October 15
© Andrea Canter
A vibes trio revival at the Black Dog, another round of "jazz painting" at The Nicollet, an irresistible songstress presenting covering an iconic songwriter, the Twin Cities edition of a modern "Modern Jazz Quartet," a tribute to one of the greatest vocalist of all time from one of the Twin Cities' best, and a visit from a blazing sextet. And lots more song, lots more cool sounds this coming week on the Twin Cities jazz scene. Join in.

Big Gigs This Week
Sophia Shorai
Friday, October 9. Sophia Shorai is equal parts charm and talent, and both parts are large! She brings her individual takes on jazz and pop tunes to the stage at Vieux Carré. Hot off his JazzMN debut last weekend, pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch will bring Sinatra and more to Parma 8200. Denny Malmberg joins Paula Lammers for happy hour at Crooners.  And at the Icehouse, the early evening sets feature the dazzling duo of Javi Santiago on piano and James Buckley on bass.

Bottomless Pit
Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet again features visual artist Tim Nyberg creating a painting in response to the music, and tonight the music could lead him into uncharted territory as Bottomless Pit returns to the stage. This is a quartet of long-standing local heroes-- Joel Shapira on guitar, Pete Whitman on sax, Matt Peterson on bass and Eric Gravatt on drums. Their repertoire covers the likes of Coltrane, Coleman, Shorter and original fare, and how that music will speak to Tim will be one of the best demonstrations of improvisation you will see or hear this week!

After working in New York for 15 years, saxophonist Bob Parsons returned to the Twin Cities and was soon working with the Acme Jazz Company, producing their first recording and now serving as Artistic Director. Tonight Bob gets to shine as soloist and bandleader, heading a quartet at Jazz Central with a stellar cast--Chris Lomheim, Graydon Peterson and Mac Santiago.

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson
Saturday, October 10. The charms of songwriter Cole Porter could not be in better hands (voice!) than those of Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, who return to Jazz @ St. Barney's (St Barnabas Church in Plymouth) to explore "The Cole Effect." Explains Maud, this will be "an evening of stories about Cole Porter and a sampling from his absurdly huge stash of hits. Also a few obscurities, such as 'I Hate You, Darling' (how could I resist a title like that?) " How can we resist a gig like this?

Chris Bates
Back in his early career in the 90s, bassist Chris Bates put together his first vibes trio, Low Blows, with brother JT and vibes master Dave Hagedorn. Low Blows is back this weekend, the featured band on Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog. The opening act is a new incarnation of Central Standard Time, with Steve Kenny the lone veteran in a sea of young hotshots--vibes player Levi Schwartzberg, bassist Ted Olsen and drummer Matt Buckner.

Charles Fletcher
Jazz meets world music at Jazz Central tonight in the form of Maui Lotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group, formerly known as Quintessence. Influenced by the musical traditions of East and West, group plays with "an advanced rhythmic and harmonic platform that blends lyric improvising with powerful dynamics," a cross-cultural blending of instruments (Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, Western) that goes beyond jazz and global music. The award-winning ensemble includes Marilyn Allysum (piano, flute), Gu Zheng (vocals),  Charles Fletcher (bass guitars), Mike Hurley (drums and world percussion) and David Wolfe (Santoor -Persian harp).

Milo Fine
Avant gardist Milo Fine hosts music at Studio Toile d'Angles in North Minneapolis. Tonight's ensemble includes Milo on drums, piano and clarinets; Bruce Beverlin II on percussion and voice; Charles Gillett on guitar, and Elaine Evans on violin and pocket trumpet.  (See Milo's site for directions and entry instructions.)

Weekly gigs -- hear Talking Strings at the Loring Pasta Bar; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel; and the Benny Weinbeck Trio (with Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) at Parma 8200.

Andrew Walesch
Sunday, October 11. Jazz brunch-- Andrew Walesch Trio at Crooners, Patty and the Buttons at the Aster, Robert Everest at Maria's.  A mid-afternoon delight at the Icehouse features Charanga Tropical, Doug Little's ensemble that turned ears in Havana a few months ago.

Come evening, enjoy the gospel-inflected jazz and blues of Ginger Commodore and her GCQ (quartet) with Lee Blaske, Mark Weisberg and Bobby Commodore at the Dakota. Or head over to the Riverview Wine Bar for an evening with the Zacc Harris Trio.

Monday, October 12. Saxophonist and educator Scott Johnson gets his night in the spotlight at Jazz Central as the Monday featured artist.

At the Black Dog, the edgy experimental ensemble Cherry Spoon Collective launches a mini-season, featuring new commissions and improvisations. Led by Michelle Kinney (cello), Nick Gaudette (bass) and Patrick O'Keefe (sax), the ensemble includes Laura Harada, Melissa Mathews and Zack Kline (violins), Jacqueline Ultan (cello), Graham O’Brien (drums), Chris Thompson,  George Cartwright and Lee Tran (saxes), Trent Jacobs (bassoon), Chris Cunningham (guitar), Joe Horton (spoken word), Geoff Senn (trumpet), and Mike Ethen (trombone).

Charmin Michelle
At the Dakota, it's Foodie Night, meaning no cover, which makes the music a real bargain-- and tonight it's Charmin and Shapira and Friends. The expanded edition of the long-running voice/guitar duo of Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira, this quintet swings every step of the way.

As always on Monday night, JT Bates presents his Jazz Implosion, tonight pitting JT in a "Meat Raffle" with young drummer Cory Healey for an evening of "drums and electronics, solos and duos."

Tuesday, October 13.  The monthly Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog features guitarist Olson dueling with cellist Greg Byers.

Rhonda Laurie
At Vieux Carré, Chris Lomheim opens the evening with sublime solo piano, followed by savvy vocalist Rhonda Laurie and her quartet-- Rick Carlson on piano, Steve Pikal on bass and Gary Schulte on violin.

And out in Fridley at Crooners, it's Tuesday's Instrumental Jazz Night with the Phil Hey Quartet, one of the longest-running ensembles in town with Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Phil Aaron on piano, and Tom Lewis on bass. If the Modern Jazz Quartet could be reincarnated.... well, maybe they are.

Phil Hey
Wednesday, October 14. One of Minnesota's finest pays tribute to one of jazz's legends as Debbie Duncan salutes the 100th birthday of Billie Holiday at Crooners. While Debbie is far more likely to make you laugh than would Lady Day, she also possess the emotional range to guarantee honoring Billie while never letting you forget she's Debbie.
Debbie Duncan

A special intimate evening at Creation Audio tonight features Red Planet, that out-of-orbit trio of Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein, and special guest Bill Carrothers. Carrothers last performed with Red Planet about 6-7 years ago, so this is a long-overdue reunion. The guys will be recording at Creation and a very lucky, small audience will get a preview in the studio. Seating is limited and any remaining tickets are available only online.
Bill Carrothers

Amina Figarova
Thursday, October 15. It's been a few years since the Amina Figarova Sextet came to down, and now with a new recording, the band returns to the Dakota. Based for years in Rotterdam, the Azerbaijan native recently relocated to New York, but maintains her mainly European cohorts on tour and on recording. This is a band that built its reputation playing original repertoire, their signature interplay trumping the stellar individual soloists. Pianist and composer Amina is among the top echelon of composers and bandleaders in modern jazz.

Joel Shapira
It's a big band night at Vieux Carré, with Joel Shapira solo guitar opening for the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, an 18-piece ensemble of top metro players led by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago. And at Hell's Kitchen, the Wolverines Trio teams up with one of their long-time favorites, Maud Hixson.

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 October 8--Jeff Whitmill, curator of Jazz @ St. Barney's.) Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g.

Coming Soon!
. October 16, JT Bates Organ Trio at Vieux Carré
. October 16, Seru/Bates/Granros at The Nicollet
. October 16, Yolande Bruce Group at Walker West Music Academy
. October 16, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at Jazz Central
. October 17, Le Percheron at the Black Dog
. October 19, Fall of the House of Usher CD Release (opening - Junior Ranger) at the Icehouse
. October 19, Steve Kenny, featured artist at Jazz Central
. October 20, Laura Caviani Trio with Graydon Peterson and Todd Straight at Crooners
. October 20, Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central
. October 21, Chris Lomheim Quintet at Jazz Central
. October 22, Charmin and Shapira at Jazz Central
. October 23, No Room for Squares (opening - Will Schmid New Quintet) at The Nicollet
. October 23, BDP at Jazz Central
. October 24, Illicit Sextet at the Black Dog
. October 25, Benny Green Trio at the Dakota
. October 26,  Glimpse Trio (Mike Sopko/Hamir Atwal/Martin Dosh) at the Icehouse
. October 27, Jane Monheit at the Dakota
. October 29, Emily Green at Jazz Central
. October 31, How Birds Work at the Black Dog
. November 1, Soul Cafe at the Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church
. November 2, Real Bulls (JT Bates, Dave King) and Enormous Quartet at the Icehouse
. November 7, Butch Thompson with Tony Balluff and Steve Pikal, Jazz @ St Barneys (St Barnabas Church)
. November 9, Joey DeFrancesco at the Dakota
. November 10, Mary Louise Knutson Trio at Crooners Lounge
. November 12-14, Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret at Studio Z
. November 13, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at Walker West Music Academy
. November 16, Regina Carter's Southern Comfort at the Dakota
. November 17, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Vieux Carré
. November 19, Jazz in the Target Atrium (Orchestra Hall), Atrium Jazz Ensemble + Ron Miles
. November 21, Joyce Lyons, Jazz @ St. Barneys
. November 21, JazzMN Orchestra at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. November 22-23, Karrin Allyson at the Dakota
. November 30, Pat Martino Quartet at the Dakota
. December 2, Diane Schuur at the Dakota
. December 4, The Girls at the Dakota
. December 8, Jamison Ross at the Dakota
. December 9-10, Ramsey Lewis Holiday Show at the Dakota
. December 14-15, New York Voices Holiday show at the Dakota
. December 25-28, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
. February 2, Charles Lloyd Trio with Bill Frisell at the Dakota

Le Percheron  - at the Black Dog, October 17

 * All photos by Andrea Canter except Bob Parsons (from the artist), Cherry Spoon Collective (Jim Nihart)