Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, December 25-31

The Bad Plus at the Dakota December 25-28

© Andrea Canter
This must be the super-holiday edition of the Lead Sheet, with the "week" extending from Christmas Day to New Year's Eve. And as such, some venues will be closed or have atypical hours, so jazz fans are urged to check calendars and showtimes and plan accordingly. Fortunately, the holidays also bring some special gigs to town, most notably the now-annual four-night run of The Bad Plus at the Dakota, a "Pre-New Year's Eve" party with Connie Evingson in the new Dunsmore Room at Crooners,  and an exciting list of options for a jazzy New Year's Eve.

Big Gigs This Week!
The Bad Plus
December 25-28. Most venues aren't even open Christmas Day, but the Dakota will vibrate for four nights, two sets per night, with the umpteenth holiday residency of The Bad Plus. The trio that has attained rock star status throughout the world with their unique arrangements of pop hits, Stravinsky, and wholly original compositions pays tribute to its Twin Cities origins every holiday. In the past two years, TBP has released three albums-- their version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, their latest collection of mostly originals dubbed Inevitable Western,  and their collaboration with saxophonist Joshua Redman. Expect the guys to draw from the recent releases as well as from their 15-year treasure trove and likely some new material.

Jon Wood
December 26. The weekly double-header at the Black Dog features strings and things, starting the evening with young guitarist Jon Wood's Iron Chops ensemble (guitarist Jon with saxophonist Dave Brattain, bassist Graydon Peterson and drummer Mac Santiago), followed by the veteran explorers of Framework (guitarist Chris Olson, bassist Chris Bates, drummer Jay Epstein), with special guest, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog curator Steve Kenny on FLUMPET™.

Pavel Jany
More strings-- the weekly gig of the Talking Strings (Pavel Jany, Gary Schulte) at the Loring Pasta Bar. Another weekly filled with magic, the Benny Weinbeck Trio (Weinbeck on piano with Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums) plays in the lounge at Parma 8200; and the weekend's dinner sets at the Icehouse feature regulars Bryan Nichols on piano and Zacc Harris on guitar.

Judi Vinar
Crooners Lounge cranks up the heat with the Wolverines Quartet (Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal, Jendeen Forberg and Doug Haining), featuring long-time vocal associate Judy Vinar.

Sunday, December 27. Jazz Brunch options: The Mill City Hot Club at Hell's Kitchen; the Andrew Walesch Trio at Crooners Lounge; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster. And for a sublime late afternoon break, Joel Shapira offers solo guitar at the Black Dog (4-6 pm).

Continuing the Jazz @ St. Barney's series, it's the annual Big Band Christmas, this year with the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at St. Barnabas Church in Plymouth. "They'll rock the joint with holiday favorites done the way only a big band can. A great time to celebrate, after all the pre-Christmas rush is over."

Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra
And if you like a big band but crave a dance floor as well, head to Cinema Ballroom in St Paul for a night with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle singing out front. Jerry's announced his retirement but the music will continue.

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Monday, December 28. It's a young cats night at Jazz Central, with three college guys who sound years older -- Drummer Edmund Caitlin (McGill University) mixes it up with vibes master Levi Schwartzberg (U of M) and bass ace Charlie Lincoln (Berklee College of Music). Their winter break, our good fortune.

JT Bates
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion truly implodes tonight as curator/drummer JT releases his long-awaited mostly solo album, Open Relationships, filled with inventive percussion augmented by some guitar from Jeremy Ylvisaker and electronics courtesy of Mark McGee. "With a focus on manipulated recordings of solo drum arrangements, this instrumental album is a cohesive collection of layered drones, glitched rhythms, and sonic textures that make the idea of a genre tag irrelevant and incomplete." But that is the middle set--there's more. Opening set brings together two of the area's master improvisers, vocalist/spoken word artist Mankwe Ndosi and percussionist Davu Seru; a closing set features Panhandlers (Ryan Olson and James Buckley).

Jake Baldwin
Tuesday, December 29. The new Dunsmore Room at Crooners brings in a younger generation of talents tonight, the first horn ensemble to appear on the new stage that has already seen two sold-out performances during its opening week. Tonight, New England Conservatory grad Jake Baldwin will blow one of the finest, and widest-ranging trumpets, among the area's young lions, leading a quartet with Ted Godbout on the Bosendorfer, Ted Olsen on bass and Andres Crovetti on drums. Each of these artists hones his chops in numerous area bands cutting across genres. Expect some original music, but Jake notes that "we decided as a group to just play tunes that we all like, but don't get to play much. Most of all, we are just trying to have fun!"

Lucia Sarmiento
Something a little different at Jazz Central for Big Band Night's "5th Tuesday" -- the 7-piece Little Big Band, male rhythm section, female horn section, drawing on talents from the upper Midwest and beyond -- Mandy Jones (alto sax), Lucia Sarmiento Roccagliata (tenor sax), Elizabeth Stodolka (trumpet), Cody LeDuc (filling in for Lauren Husting on trombone), Zach Sershon (piano), Matt Franke (bass) and Zach Schmidt (drums).

Take a time out between the holidays at Vieux Carré, where pianist Mary Louise Knutson opens the evening with some solo musings, followed by fleet-fingered guitarist Paul Renz and his trio.
Paul Renz

Tuesday-Wednesday, December 29-30. Always a crowd pleaser, the New Standards (Chan Polling, John Munson, Steve Roehm) celebrate the end of the year at the Dakota.

Connie Evingson
Wednesday, December 30. Why wait for New Year's Eve? You can enjoy dinner with songbird Connie Evingson tonight in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge (along with Mary Louise Knutson, Chris Bates and Dave Karr). Limited seating remains so call to reserve now!

Luke Peterson
And come down early for the Wednesday night "new music" gig at Jazz Central, as this band is going to draw a lot of friends and family. The Luke Peterson Quintet features young talents briefly home from college studies, all alums of the Dakota Combo. Leader, drummer Luke Peterson is studying math and jazz at Northwestern University; his cohorts include saxophonist Peter Goggin (University of Michigan), trombonist Jack Courtright (Eastman School of Music), pianist Will Kjeer (California Institute of Arts), and bassist Charlie Lincoln (Berklee College of Music). Close your eyes, and this band will sound like one of our veteran ensembles.

Carole Martin
Thursday, December 31. There's New Year's Eve celebrations all over the Metro --visit Jazz Police for a more thorough round-up of jazzy events:
·         Debbie Duncan Quartet Crooners Lounge
·         Carole Martin, the Artists Quarter NY Eve Party at Hell's Kitchen
·         Thomas Bruce, Maud Hixson, Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200
·         Andrew Walesch Trio, Tommy O'Donnell at Bar Lurcat
·         Todd Harper and Nathan Hanson ensemble at the Black Dog (Open Season early New Year's Eve Party)
·         Davina and the Vagabonds at the Dakota
·         Jazzland Wonderband, dinner show at Vieux Carré
·         Tim Sparks and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse

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 7:20 am on Fridays. We broadcast a day early next week, on December 30 (repeated on the 31st). Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g.

Coming Soon!
. January 1, Sound Skirmish at Jazz Central
. January 2, Trap Tube/Central Standard Time at the Black Dog
. January 2, Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears at the Dakota
. January 2, Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge
. January 4, Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge
. January 5, Butch Thompson (solo) in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 5, Travis Anderson Trio at the Dakota
. January 5, Chris Lomheim/Phil Aaron Trio at Vieux Carré
. January 5, Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog
. January 7, Jon Pemberton/Jack Brass Band CD Release at Vieux Carré
. January 8, Denny Malmberg Trio with Charmin Michelle at Parma 8200
. January 8, Jay Young and the Lyric Factory at the Dakota
. January 9, Andrew Walesch at Jazz @St Barneys
. January 9, JT Bates' Grain at Vieux Carré
. January 10, Corky Siegel's Chamber Blues at the Dakota
. January 10, Dan Chouinard's "Birthday Club" series launches in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, Prudence Johnson guest vocalist
. January 11, Colleen Raye, Women Songwriters of the 40s-50s at Crooners Lounge
. January 12, Peter Kogan Quartet in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 16, Nachito Herrera
. January 17, John Penny CD release at the Icehouse
. January 17, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Debbie Duncan in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 18, Twin Cities 7 with Maryann Sullivan at Crooners
. January 18-19, Davell Crawford Tribute to Allen Toussaint at the Dakota
. January 19, Bryan Nichols Trio at Vieux Carré
. January 19, Mary Louise Knutson Trio in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 21, Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. January 22, Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. January 22, Happy Apple at the Icehouse
. January 23, Jeremy Walker's Seven Psalms at Orchestra Hall
. January 23, Rick Carlson and Steve Pikal at Jazz @St. Barneys
. January 23, John Raymond CD release at Vieux Carré
. January 23, Seven Steps to Havana at the Dakota
. January 24, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Patty Peterson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 25, Rick Carlson and Rachel Holder "In the Crook", Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 27, Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw at Vieux Carré
. January 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. January 29, Peter Kogan's Monsterful Wonderband at Vieux Carré
. January 30, Jana Nyberg Group at Vieux Carré
. January 31, Winter Jazz Festival at the Saint Paul Hotel, featuring the Cyrus Chestnut Trio
. February 2, Charles Lloyd Trio with Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. February 8-9, John Scofield and Joe Lovano at the Dakota
. February 10-11, Mack Avenue Super Band at the Dakota
. February 20, Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at Jazz @ St Barneys
. February 20, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. February 22, Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn at the Icehouse
. February 25, Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa at Walker Art Center
. February 25, Jazz in the Target Atrium, Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols at Orchestra Hall
. March 2-3, Brian Blade Fellowship at the Dakota
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

Butch Thompson, in the Dunsmore Room on January 5