Friday, May 29, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 29 - June 4



With a shiny new McKnight Fellowship, Atlantis Quartet plays the Black Dog Saturday night

© Andrea Canter
 There's what might be dubbed a mini-jazz fest in St. Paul's Lowertown this weekend-- warming up the neighborhood for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, only 4 weeks away! (And with no Saints home game, parking should be "normal".) The coming week also brings a parade of stars into the Dakota, offering an alternative to the Rolling Stones on June 3 while putting Stones' "backups" on the jazz club stage. The week also brings the debut release from Dean Granros' new band, Tall Tales and a new voice/guitar duo from veterans Sarah Greer and John Penny. Better tighten your seat belts, this week will be a whirlwind of music.

Big Gigs This Week
A few years back -- The Jackson brothers
Friday, May 29. Just run up and down a two-block stretch of East 4th Street tonight!  You can support young artists and have a great time doing it at The Bedlam, where rap/hip-hop band Heiruspecs again teams up with St. Paul Central High School in a fundraiser for scholarships to support students heading to higher education and careers in the arts. Joining the music performances will be the Byzantine Sextet, a St. Paul-based jazz band headed by Central alum/Augsburg student DeVante and brother/U of Manitoba student DeCarlo Jackson, with former scholarship recipient and Central alum Edmund Catlin, South High graduating senior Charlie Lincoln, Hill-Murray alum John Blanda and Central alum Evan Slack.

Charlie Lincoln
Down the street at the Black Dog, a unique double-header starts off with the core rhythm team of the dark and edgy Fall of the House of Usher ensemble--that's Chris Cunningham on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and Greg Schutte on drums, joined by guests Michelle Kinney (cello), Nathan Hanson (saxes) and Ivan Cunningham (saxes). Stay for the late round with the young talents of Charlie Lincoln's Physical Memory Dump, with Peter Goggin on alto sax and Joey Hayes on drums. (Seems Charlie will also be running from the Bedlam to the Black Dog!)

Doug Haining
On the other side of the river, talents runs equally deep with two bands of veterans two hours and a few miles apart. At Jazz Central, Doug Haining revives his Cannonball Collective. The band first came together a few years ago at the Artists Quarter to celebrate the music of Cannonball Adderley. Now performing on the  7 pm Bridge Series, Haining brings back Zack Lozier (trumpet), Keith Boyles (bass) and Mac Santiago (drums), along with young upstart Joe Strachan on piano.

Bottomless Pit
On Steve Kenny's Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series, Joel Shapira's new Bottomless Pit takes over the bandstand, featuring stalwart jazzers Pete Whitman, Tom Lewis and Eric Kamau Gravatt levitating the works of Coltrane, Coleman, Shorter and more.

Connie Evingson
For your vocal pleasures, Connie Evingson (with Rick Carlson, Gordy Johnson and Dave Karr) brings you music from her wide range of influences and projects, from standards to The Beatles to hot club swing to Dave Frishberg, in the cozy lounge of Parma 8200 in Bloomington. Wine, pasta, cannoli, Connie. Perfect ingredients for Friday night chill-out.

Zacc Harris, Atlantis Qt
Saturday, May 30. Just announced as 2015 recipients of a $25,000 McKnight Musicians Fellowship, the Atlantis Quartet (Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates, Pete Hennig) will be flying higher than ever when they play the headline slot at the Black Dog. They're also warming up for two back-to-back festival gigs, June 27 at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and July 4 at the Iowa City Jazz Festival. Starting out the evening is another veteran ensemble headed by guitar monster David Martin, with pals Chris Bates and Pete Hennig warming up for their set with Atlantis.

At Pama 8200, the Benny Weinbeck Trio has been providing elegant piano trio jazz for the past few years, every Saturday night in the bar/lounge. Pianist Benny's long-standing trio cohorts, Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey, have their own longstanding partnership, including a couple years backing vocalist Stacy Kent. Communication is seamless and that's reflected in the music.

Walker West students at the TC Jazz Fest
Sunday, May 31. Where will the next young hotshots in local (or perhaps national) jazz come from? Walker West Music Academy invites us to find out at their annual Rev. Carl Walker/Grant West Honors Recital in their new performance space (4 pm). Performances feature Walker West's graduating high school seniors and other up-and-coming talents of the Academy. WWMA has long served as a breeding ground for future pro musicians and educators, especially those who ultimately pursue careers in jazz, and their faculty sports some of the area's top jazz artists, including Peter Leggett, Solomon and Aja Parham, Kevin Washington and more.


Orchestra for Ants



The Aster Cafe at St. Anthony Main offers a unique and historic setting for music (and food!). Tonight, hear the Orchestra for Ants, which suggests busy electronics but is self-described as 'outlaw-jazzmenco.'  The Ants are three accomplished guitarists with diverse music backgrounds and chops---leader Ben Abrahamson (Lulu's Playground) who gravitates toward flamenco, Brazilian and 12-string; Park Evans (Firebell), master of "jazz shred comedy," and Nick Champeau, "cowboy casual."  It's jazz, flamenco, swing and more. Definitely fun and surely musical.

The outdoor band concert season is underway at the Lake Harriet bandshell, and tonight features the popular Brazilian jazz ensemble, Ticket to Brasil, headed by guitarist Pavel Jany. Lake Harriet leaves room for dancing, which will be encouraged.

Tall Tales
Monday, June 1. For all of his 40+ years in local jazz and improvised music with such landmark bands as The Whole Earth Rainbow Band, Kamanari, Curlew and How Birds Work, guitar master Dean Granros has a relatively small discography in his own name and no recordings that feature his gnarly compositions. With his new quartet and self-titled CD (Tall Tales), Dean corrects that omission, and does so convincingly. Join Dean, Zacc Harris, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein tonight at the Icehouse as they celebrate the CD's release on Shifting Paradigm Records. You get a copy of the CD with your $12 admission. It's definitely worth minor parking hassles for the CD alone.

Peter Schimke
Earlier in the evening (e.g., you can make this gig and get to the Icehouse before Tall Tales gets underway), the spotlight is turned on pianist Peter Schimke at Jazz Central. An integral part of many ensembles (How Birds Work, Mississippi, Estaire Godinez, Irv Williams), Peter seldom gets the recognition his talent deserves.

Dean Magraw
Tuesday, June 2. It's the "first Tuesday" which means Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog. Often there's a guest artist as well, but the duo alone is indendiary-- Magraw the master of all genres on guitar, Seru both performer and scholar of African percussion.

The Rolling Stones roll into town for a blowout tomorrow night at TCF Bank Stadium, and in their wake the Dakota has booked two nights with "20 Steps to Stardom" star vocalist/Stones back-up singer Lisa Fischer (Sunday-Monday) and one gig--tonight-- with Stones' (and former Allman Brothers Band) saxman Tim Ries and Stones vocalist Bernard Fowler in a band dubbed Band 2. Rounding out the band will be local heavyweights Cory Wong, Gary Raynor and Kevin Washington.

Steve Smith
Wednesday, June 3. If you are not headed to TCF Bank Stadium to hear the Stones tonight, you can nevertheless get high on music and particularly jazz percussion at the Dakota with Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition. Recently named #1 fusion drummer by Modern Drummer's Readers Poll, Smith has assembled a Big Apple cast including keyboardist Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins/Herbie Mann), alto saxophonist Andy Fusco (Buddy Rich/Mel Lewis), guitarist Vinny Valentino (Jimmy McGriff/Bill Evans), and bassist Baron Browne (Jean-Luc Ponty/Billy Cobham). With this line-up, Smith combines the talents of his three working bands--jazz-rock ensemble Vital Information, his Buddy Rich alumni project Buddy's Buddies, and his legends tribute band, Jazz Legacy.

John Penny
At Jazz Central, two veterans of the local jazz scene debut their duo on the studio's "new music" night. Vocalist Sarah M. Greer is known for tackling more avant garde projects as well as providing instruction to those interested in modern approaches to jazz singing; guitarist/composer (and sometimes vocalist) John Penny is a prolific writer who has performed recently with Jay Epstein and Anthony Cox.

Connie Evingson again! First Wednesdays are reserved for "Jazz in the Lounge" at the Minneapolis Woman's Club, and Connie's guests tonight include a formidable trio of Chris Lomheim, Dean Magraw and Dave Karr. Open to public consumption.

Phil Mattson Singers
Thursday, June 4. At Jazz Central, the Phil Mattson Singers return for Vocal Jazz Night, bringing with them a thick book of songs with sophisticated arrangements from director, pianist and voice coach Phil Mattson. This is our local version of Manhattan Transfer.  Over in Falcon Heights (St Paul), new University of Northern Colorado grad, bassist Ted Olsen, brings his quintet to the folksy digs of the Underground Music Cafe.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday May 29.  Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays with the Harper, Nair, Leipold Trio at the Black Dog (5-7 pm); Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; the Zacc Harris Group at Hell's Kitchen; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnehaha Park Bandshell

Saturday, May 30. Mill City Hot Club, brunch at Hell's Kitchen; Parisota Hot Club at Crooners; Scatting Workshop with Sarah Greer at Jazz Central (1:30 pm); Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Tom Lieberman at the Aster; Vinnie Rose at Ole Piper Inn (Blaine)

Sunday, May 31. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners; Carleton College Jazz Band Concert at the Concert Hall, Carleton College; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Lisa Fischer at the Dakota (sold-out); Adam Meckler's Student Combos at Jazz Central; T-Collective at the Icehouse

Monday, June 1. Capri Big Band at Como Dockside; Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Milo Fine & Benjamin Mansavage at Studio Toile d’Angles

Tuesday, June 2. Cafe Accordion Orchestra at Loring Pasta Bar; Maryann Sullivan's Corner Jazz at The Nicollet; Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Coloring Time (LOTT and Joey Van Phillips) at the Icehouse  
Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz

Wednesday, June 3. Vinnie Rose followed by Andrew Walesch at Crooners; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Southside Big Band at Como Dockside;

Thursday, June 4. Gypsia Mania Hot Club Quartet at Hell's Kitchen; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Claudia Schmidt and Dean Magraw at Gingko Coffee House; Vinnie Rose at Adagio Pizza Factory

Coming Soon!
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 5, Dean Sorenson Sextet at Jazz Central
. June 6, Ted Olsen Group followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 6, Vector Families (aka Dave King's PBR Street Gang) at Studio Z
. June 7, Jazz on the Prairie Big Band Festival at Staring Lake (Eden Prairie)
. June 8, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio at the Icehouse
. June 10, Charmin & Shapira and Friends at the Dakota
. June 11, Dorothy Doring and Donald Thomas at Jazz Central
. June 11, Le Percheron at Khyber Pass Cafe
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 14, Charanga Tropical at Lake Harriet Bandshell
. June 15, Bryan Nichols' We Are Many at the Icehouse
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at Sun Ray Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell Trio with Tony Scherr and Rudy Royston at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 20, Next Generation Showcase, Jazz at Studio Z
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30, Francois Rabbath, Benson Great Hall (Bethel College)
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vinicius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 19, Midtown Global Market Music Festival
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota


Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio at the Icehouse, June 8









Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 22-28



Firebell (Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein) -- Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog

© Andrea Canter

Seems we were just shivering and complaining about our cool spring, and here it is, Memorial Day Weekend and (finally) some warm sunshine. New challenges await, of course, like getting the garden planted, summer vacation reservations confirmed, and-- figuring out how to contend with parking and crowds as the Saints new ballpark opens in Lowertown -- scene of some of the area's most inventive jazz in recent months. This weekend will be the first big test of "baseball meets improvised music", with a Saints home game getting underway Saturday at the same time as gigs at the Black Dog and Studio Z; a new, late night improvised music series at Public Kitchen on Friday might actually benefit as an after-game destination--for those already in the area. Plan accordingly!

Big Gigs This Week
Chris Lomheim
Friday, May 22. At The Nicollet, the Chris Lomheim Trio debuts on the Friday Night Jazz series. Any fan of piano jazz should be familiar with the elegant Mr. Lomheim, whose Evanescent touch graces whatever he's playing, be it original compositions from his recent Timelines recording or standards from bebop and beyond. With Gordy Johnson and bass and Reid Kennedy on drums, Chris promises an evening of joyful jazz.   


Travis Anderson
Piano trio jazz is also on the menu at Parma 8200, where the Travis Anderson Trio (Steve Pikal, Nathan Norman) swings through a rare instrumental Friday night. And I mean swing.

Kristin Sponcia
Tonight at Jazz Central, former McNally Smith faculty Kristin Sponcia plays her first of two gigs within a week, while on break from graduate studies at the University of Illinois (Champaign). On the Bridge Series, it's the quartet with Kristin on piano and vocals, backed by Mike Krajewski (guitar), Graydon Peterson (bass) and Dave Schmalenberger (drums). (See Thursday below for Kristin's gig on the Vocal Jazz series.)

Pawan Benjamin
Following at 9:30, Jazz Central hosts a fundraising concert to support communities damaged by earthquakes in Nepal. Music will be provided by an explosive young trio featuring Javi Santiago on piano, Miguel Hurtado on drums, and visiting Milwaukee-born saxophonist Pawan Benjamin. Pawan first met Javi and Miguel in New York where he can Miguel were classmates at the Manhattan School of Music; this is not Pawan's first visit to Jazz Central, where he hopes to raise funds to help his family's village, among others.

Kevin Gastonguay
A new addition to music in Lowertown is Public Kitchen & Bar, just off Mears Park and offering a 10 pm show of improvised music on Fridays in the lower level lounge. Tonight, Gastonguay (Kevin) + Markworth (Kameron) + Schmidt (Zach) ), a new piano/bass/drum trio,  do the honors.


Jay Epstein, Firebell
Saturday, May 23. Lowertown jazz and improvised music will test the impact of baseball tonight. At the Black Dog--which could be jammed earlier with pre-game traffic, the Saturday Night Jazz series continues with the usual double-header: Opening will be the cross-generation antics of Central Standard Time, featuring teen bass master Charlie Lincoln with Steve Kenny, Sten Johnson, Dave Roos and Dennis Glaus. At 8:30, catch a couple sets with Firebell-- a veteran guitar trio with Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein. Expect a lot of original material from their new CD, Impossible Vacation.

At Studio Z, the Twin Cities epicenter for new music, it's a rare double piano trio configuration with Chris Granias and Carei Thomas on the grands. Billed as "new improvisations for two pianos and assorted instruments," there is no one better to handle "assorted instruments" than Douglas Ewart, playing multiple reeds and percussion, including is home-made instruments.

Connie Evingson
You can avoid parking dilemmas and head for the Aster at St. Anthony Main where songbird Connie Evingson will swing for the rafters with Patty and the Buttons. Notes Connie, "I always have a great time singing with Patty & the Buttons, and the bohemian vibe of the Aster Cafe makes it especially fun!" Patty (aka Patrick Harison) and his "buttons" (accordion)--with Tony Balluff, Mark Kreitzer and Keith Boyles -- swing and sway in a mix of New Orleans, hot club, and 1920s beats.  

Ginger Commodore
Sunday, May 24. Back one more time by popular demand-- Ginger Commodore and Julius Collins reprise "A Night of Wonder", their tribute to the great Stevie Wonder, at the Dakota. These two amazing vocalists are joined by Donnie La Marca (keys), Art Haynes (bass), Troy Norton (guitar), Bobby Commodore (drums), Daryl Boudreaux (percussion), and Ashley Commodore, Geoff & Chreese Jones (vocals).

David Martin
Monday, May 25. End your holiday weekend with some virtuosic guitar from David Martin, in the spotlight at Jazz Central. He's joined by bassist Jim Chenoweth and drummer Joel Arpin.

Tuesday, May 26. Guitarist/composer David Torn returns to the Twin Cities for a solo show at The Cedar. Known for his melding of acoustic and electronic elements and particularly his use of loops, Torn was here at the Walker back in 2007 with his Presenz ensemble. Now he's touring in support of his new solo effort on ECM, Only Sky.

Larry McDonough
Larry McDonough and friends reprise their Chet Baker tribute, first heard at Jazz Central last winter and now an encore at the Dakota. McDonough handles the singing Chet (as well as piano), while Steve Kenny takes on the trumpet role, with superb backing from Paul Peterson on saxes, Greg Stinson on Bass, Dean White on drums, and former WCCO anchor Don Shelby reading poetry about Baker and Bill Evans, written by regular McDonough cohort and saxophonist, Richard Terrill.

Rachelle Ferrell
Wednesday-Thursday, May 27-28. The songwriter translates emotion into words. The singer's job is to translate the words back into emotion." So said vocalist Rachelle Ferrell, and she lives these words whenever she's on stage. Returning to the Dakota for two nights, Ferrell is a singular force. She has a six-octave range and can sing in “whistle register” like Minnie Riperton; studied voice, piano and violin in her youth and attended the Berklee College of Music; sang back up to Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Wiliams and George Duke. While her popularity has ebbed and flowed, she was largely beneath the jazz scene’s radar until recently. Dakota owner Lowell Pickett mentioned that there were no words to describe her. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe all words describe her.

Phil Mattson
Thursday, May 28. The second of Kristin Sponcia's Jazz Central gigs in the past week (see Friday), tonight the spotlight is on her skills as a vocalist, with Phil Mattson handling the piano duties. Which is only fitting as Kristin was a member of the Phil Mattson Singers when she was a Twin Cities resident.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 22. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Dave Ziffer at Ingredients Cafe; Optimum Trajectory at Underground Music Cafe; BZ3 Organ Trio at the Black Dog; Jello Slave at the Aster

Saturday, May 23. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners' Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at Merlin's Rest Pub

Sunday, May 24. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners' Lounge; Joel Shapira, solo guitar at the Black Dog (4 pm);  Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; T Collective at the Icehouse

Monday, May 25. JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, May 26. Cafe Accordion Orchestra at Loring Pasta Bar; Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central; Maud Hixson with the Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen

Debbie Duncan
Wednesday, May 27. Charmin Michelle at The Marsh; Retro Swing Sister at Eagles Aerie Club; Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners Lounge; Pat Kuehn Trio at Jazz Central; Lila Ammons Trio at The Tangiers

Thursday, May 28. Wes Ruelle Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Dave Ziffer at the Underground Music Cafe

Coming Soon!
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 1, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, CD Release at the Icehouse
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at Sun Ray Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vinicius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 19, Midtown Global Market Music Festival
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet with Billy Hart at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

 
Dean Granros' Tall Tales  -- CD Release on June 1 at the Black Dog








Friday, May 15, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 15-21



Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw (Saturday at Studio Z)

 © Andrea Canter
 In Northeast Minneapolis, it's Art-a-Whirl weekend. In the Twin Cities metro area, it might be dubbed Jazz-a-Whirl. Actually that title might fit every weekend here.  This weekend is the final gig for former resident bassist Michael O'Brien's current visit, a CD release for JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske's "Jazz in the Lobby Bar," a "comeback" of sorts for veteran guitarist Paul Renz, a grand finale for Jazz at Studio Z's fourth season with Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw, an evening with Maud Hixson at Parma, and an evening at the Dakota with the king of rag and stride piano, Butch Thompson. The whirl continues into the week, with a Monday showdown of two volcanic drummers at the Icehouse (JT Bates and Dave King) and a Wednesday night homecoming at the Turf Club for Todd Clouser and A Love Electric. It's just mid-May but we are already feeling some summer heat!

Big Gigs This Week
Michael O'Brien
Friday, May 15. New York bassist and former Twin Citian Michael O'Brien has been in town for a couple weeks, and he finishes off his performance at Jazz Central tonight with his "Triage" ensemble, featuring pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. The trio played their inaugural gig two years ago at the Artists Quarter-- it's been too long between gigs for such elegant music.

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske turn the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel into an intimate jazz club every weekend (September-May). Tonight they celebrate their seven-year collaboration with the release of Jazz in the Lobby Bar, adding in pals Nathan Norman, Pete Whitman and Richard Kriehn as they recreate the weekly gig in the hotel's larger Promenade Ballroom. The arrangements perfectly display JoAnn's unique phrasing and interpretative sense, as well as Jeff's ability to comp as well as serve as a second voice.

At Parma 8200, another notable songbird, Maud Hixson, draws from an uncommon songlist supported by pianist/husband Rick Carlson and bassist Gordy Johnson.

Eric Gravatt
Saturday, May 16. Zacc Harris brings his fourth annual Jazz at Studio Z season to a close with the daunting duo of Eric Kamau Gravatt and Dean Magraw. About a year ago the two veterans released Fire on the Nile, and the fire just keeps burning. They'll kickoff the evening with a free public master class. Emphasis on "master." 

Paul Renz
Down the hill at the Black Dog, an old favorite from the Artists Quarter resurfaces as Headspace plays the opening set. Also resurfacing after bicep surgery, guitarist Paul Renz and his quartet take the stage for the second part of "Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog," in the company of special guest, flautist Anders Bostrom. Renz is jumpstarting his new ensemble, with Wes Ruelle on piano, Jonathan Thomas on bass, and Jessie Lesmeister on drums.

Butch Thompson
Sunday, May 17. Two Sundays in a row with Butch Thompson at the Dakota? Last week, Thompson was a special guest with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard; tonight it's his show as the ragtime and stride piano/clarinet veteran helps swing the night away.

Katia Cardenas
Monday, May 18.  One of the bright young lights on the local jazz scene, vocalist Katia Cardenas brings sophistication (and a bit of Ella?) to Foodie Night at the Dakota. Her repertoire is evolving to encompass not only the Great American Songbook but her own spin on more contemporary fare.

Dave King
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features Real Bulls --a drum duel with JT and Dave King. More like Raging Bulls!

Tuesday, May 19. Hot club guitar stylist Stephane Wremble returns to the Dakota, going beyond Django and infusing his music with everything from blues to flamenco to rock.

Todd Clouser
Wednesday, May 20. Minnesota native guitarist/composer Todd Clouser has been spending most of his time in Mexico lately where he has initiated some innovative music education programs while honing his composition and vocal chops. His A Love Electric band has evolved into a more rock-oriented ensemble with a firm jazz foundation. He's back in town this week, bringing his current edition of ALE to the Turf Club.

Billed as Boomers vs Millennials, a quartet of Pete Whitman, Jay Young (the Boomers), Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado (the Millennials) will really be a collaborative effort, not a war, as the cross-generational talents merge at Jazz Central.

Martha Alkins
Thursday, May 21. The weekly vocal jazz night at Jazz Central features a newer talent, Martha Alkins, who presents "Generations of Jazz" -- songs from the 20s to the 70s, backed by pianist Ian Carleton and bassist Graydon Peterson.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 15. Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Tim Sparks and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Vinnie Rose Trio at Crooners Lounge; Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog; Minnesota Youth Jazz Band at The Nicollet (7:30 pm)

Saturday, May 16. Art-a-Whirl music: Charlie Lincoln Group at Elias Metal Studio; Fall of the House of Usher at Broadway and Central NE; Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Nick Videen Quartet at Cambridge High School; Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge; Paula Lammers Trio at the Mason Jar; Charmin Michelle at the St. Cloud Eagle's Aerie Club; Maurice Jacox Trio at the Normandy Kitchen; Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network monthly salon at the Town House

Sunday, May 17. Charmin Michelle with Rick Carlson at Seward Co-op; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Mid Level and Jazz III)

Monday, May 18. Adam Rossmiller at Jazz Central

MYJB
Tuesday, May 19. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge; Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at Famous Dave's Uptown (North Metro Honor Band)

Wednesday, May 20. Stu Blu and Friends at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Andrew Walesch at Crooners Lounge; River City Jazz Orchestra at Como Dockside; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Jazz I and II)

Thursday, May 21. Third Thursday (Joe Damman, Scott Fultz, Davu Seru) at Khyber Pass Cafe

Coming Soon!
. May 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet
. May 22, Travis Anderson Trio at Parma 8200
. May 22, Kristin Sponcia Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 23, Central Standard Time followed by Firebell at the Black Dog
. May 24, Ginger Commodore and Friends at the Dakota
. May 25, David Martin at Jazz Central
. May 26, David Torn (solo) at The Cedar
. May 27, Pat Kuehn Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 1, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, CD Release at the Icehouse
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at SunRay Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vincinius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet with Billy Hart at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

Chris Lomheim Trio (at The Nicollet May 22)