Monday, September 21, 2015

The Lead Sheet" Twin Cities Live Jazz, September 25-October 1



 
Patty Peterson and Friends, at the Dakota September 26
© Andrea Canter
Feels like Autumn in Minnesota! And our jazz venues are turning up the heat, from gigs with the best of our young lions to veteran performers in diverse contexts, including a CD release from very familiar musicians playing in the unexpected context of romantic standards.

Big Gigs This Week
Lucia Sarmiento
Friday, September 25. Young lions chew up the stage at The Nicollet on the Friday Night Jazz Series! I first heard young saxophonist Lucia Sarmiento a couple years ago on the youth stage at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. From Lima Peru, she studied with one of our favorite visiting artists, Andres Prado, and now is pursuing advanced studies at McNally Smith with Pete Whitman. She leads a band of like-minded artists who appeared on the Sixth Street stage at the 2015 festival.

Maud Hixson
At Parma 8200 in Bloomington, it's the monthly evening with the Maud Hixson Trio, with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson. Maud and Rick just returned from Portland, OR where they performed her "Skyscraper Wits" show-- music from Porter, Hart and Mercer, so perhaps some of that repertoire will be on the Parma setlist?

Javi Santiago
At Vieux Carré, start the evening with the sublime piano/bass duo of Jeremy Walker and Jeff Brueske, then re-boot your ears with the Javi Santiago Sextet. The young pianist, recently relocated back home after a few years honing his chops in New York, has assembled a band of the top young guns in town-- trumpeter Jake Baldwin, bassist Ted Olson, and drummer Miguel Hurtado, along with two of our most prolific veterans--guitarist Zacc Harris and saxophonist Pete Whitman. It will be a blast.

Anthony Cox
Jazz Central has a new, more eclectic format for Fridays, starting at 8 pm. This week, internationally acclaimed bassist Anthony Cox leads Riotous N ("mysticism explored") with an ensemble featuring top improvisers deVon Gray (keys), John Penny (guitar), Davu Seru (percussion), and Sarah M. Greer (vocals).

Saturday, September 26. Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog makes a bit of a right turn tonight with a CD release party for A Night Together. Conceived and funded by frequent Black Dog patrons Holly Augustine and Bill Coulter, the recording puts familiar Black Dog performers Brandon Wozniak, Steve Kenny, Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst into less familiar territory--standards that tell the story of love ("A Night Together") from preamble ("Suggestion") to conclusion ("Denouement"), arranged by Adam Meckler. 

John Penny
To be sure there is an initial jolt of adrenalin, the 7 pm opening set features the John Penny Trio--guitarist/vocalist John with bassist Charlie Riddle and drummer Davu Seru. Surely a night with something for everyone! 

At the Dakota, there's always some fun as well as music flowing with Patty Peterson and Friends, and tonight's "Friends" include both brother Ricky Peterson on keys and frequent guest Steve Cole on sax, along with Jason Peterson DeLaire, Joe Elliot, Billy Franze, and Bobby Vandell.  

Debbie Duncan
 Across the river, Minnesota's First Lady of Song, Debbie Duncan, entertains as only she can at Vieux Carré. (I just ran into her, almost literally, on the grounds of the Detroit Jazz Festival-- and I think it's time she performed there for her hometown crowds.)

Pavel Jany
Regular Saturday night gigs continue-- JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel; the swinging Talking Strings (Pavel Jany, Gary Schulte) at the Loring Pasta Bar; and the epitome of piano jazz at Parma 8200 with the Benny Weinbeck Trio.

Sunday, September 27. Sunday Jazz Brunch is offered at Crooners Lounge with songbird Maud Hixson; at the Aster Cafe with the swinging Patty and the Buttons; and at Maria's Cafe with Brazilian jazz favorite Robert Everest. End the day in relaxed surroundings at the Riverview Wine Bar with the Zacc Harris Trio.

Larry McDonough
Monday, September 28. Our favorite piano-playing attorney Larry McDonough celebrates the big 6-0 at the Dakota with his long-running quartet-- saxophonist Richard Terrill, bassist Greg Stinson and drummer Dean White, usually assisted by Larry's daughter Rosie on African percussion. To make this gig more festive, Larry has asked fans for song requests from his CDs and recent shows.

Cameron Kinghorn
Tonight the young turks of Jazzland Wonderband debut at Crooners Lounge, playing the music of Dixieland and the Swing era. These are musicians you have heard in more contemporary contexts-- Cameron Kinghorn, Nelson Devereaux, Keith Hilson, Evan Clark and Andres Crovetti.

JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse features a star-bright organ trio, with Kevin Gastonguay, Zacc Harris and JT himself. This is no church organ gig!

Arne Fogel
Tuesday, September 29. The benefit of a fifth Tuesday this month-- the Acme Jazz Company (with vocalist Arne Fogel) performs on Big Band night at Jazz Central Studios!  With one of the most original books among regional big bands, Acme brings a modern twist to Big Band sounds.

Dave Graf
Tuesday Night instrumental jazz series continues at Crooners with the Dave Graf Quartet. We seldom hear the ace trombonist in a leading role, and he has gathered some simpatico pals--Dan Leahy on piano, Gary Raynor on bass and Mac Santiago on drums.

Dean Magraw
A worthy double-header at Vieux Carré: Start your evening with calm elegance from the solo piano of Chris Lomheim. Then jump-start your cardio system with the ever-surprising Red Planet, featuring Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein in the band's VC debut.

Wednesday, September 30. New Music Night at Jazz Central presents a dazzling duo with Steven Hobert and Dean Magraw, taking piano and guitar to new heights with "honesty, passion, exploration. . . . letting loose. Come and dig it."

Solomon Parham
Thursday, October 1. Vieux Carré kicks off the new month with early evening music from guitarist Joel Shapira, followed by Solomon's Sessions-- a jam of sorts led by trumpeter Solomon Parham and friends.

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. tc@jazzpolice.com).

Coming Soon!
. October 2, Pete Emblom Sextet at Jazz Central
. October 3, Wayne Bergeron and Andrew Walesch with JazzMN Orchestra at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. 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 10, Maud Hixson, Jazz @ St. Barneys
. October 13, Phil Hey Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. October 15, Amina Figarova Sextet at the Dakota
. 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 Lounge
. October 25, Benny Green Trio at the Dakota
. October 26, Mike Sopko/Hamir Atwal/Martin Dosh at the Icehouse
. October 27, Jane Monheit at the Dakota
. November 1, Soul Cafe at the Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church
. 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 21, JazzMN Orchestra at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. 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
. December 25-28, The Bad Plus at the Dakota

Atrium Jazz Ensemble, new season October 8 at Orchestra Hall









Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, September 18-24



 
Chris Lomheim Trio at Crooners' Lounge on September 22

© Andrea Canter
Stunning pianists are in the spotlight this week, as well as one of the area's longest-running jazz festivals, a new Monk-inspired project from Pete Whitman, and a good handful of area (and international) vocalists. And for aspiring jazz artists, the annual auditions for the Dakota Combo will be held Sunday afternoon.

Big Gigs This Week
Bryan Nichols
Friday, September 18. Last night at the Dakota, vocalist/pianist Patricia Barber was on stage with her current Chicago band of Kurt Schweitz (bass), Jon Deitemyer (drums), and Jim Gailloreto (saxophone). This trio hangs out another day in Minnesota, long enough to visit Vieux Carré with pal and top-flight pianist Bryan Nichols.

Donald Washington
The Black Dog presents the early show with pianist Todd Harper, then brings on the monthly gig with the always intriguing Donald Washington Trio, tonight featuring bassist Yohannes Tona and drummer/son Kevin Washington in company with bari/tenor saxophonist Donald.

Davu Seru
Over at The Nicollet, the Friday Night Jazz Series gets a boost with the music of three of the region's most exciting improvisers-- Davu Seru (percussion), Brandon Wozniak (saxophone) and Chris Bates (bass). Where it goes, where it ends, is anyone's guess, but you can count on an exciting ride.

Jazz Central has changed its Friday night format, offering a more eclectic line-up and starting later, at 8 pm. Tonight, young saxophonist Evan Benidt leads an ensemble (Joe Mayo, Javi Santiago, Greg Byers and Mac Santiago) through two sets of jazz, blues, and rock.

Patty Peterson
Bringing the finest area music to the north burbs, Crooners presents a night with Patty Peterson and Friends, which tonight include Jason Peterson DeLaire (keys, sax, vocals), Mark Weisberg (bass), and Bobby Vandell (drums). Often the band is somewhat larger, but the quartet format might be the best way to enjoy Patty's savvy delivery of a wide-range of great songs. On the south end of the metro, enjoy the stellar voice of Thomas Bruce in the relaxed setting of Parma 8200.
 
Ben Abrahamson
Guitar fans should check out three of the metro's finest young masters at the Public Kitchen late tonight -- Park Evans takes on steel-string; Thomas Nordlund adds electric, and Ben Abrahamson provides the flamenco flair.

Freedom Jazz Fest All-Stars
Saturday, September 19. Most every summer over the past 15 years, the Freedom Jazz Festival has been held in a Minneapolis park setting, bringing a wide range of contemporary and traditional jazz to a free, community-centered event. Held a little later this year, the festival returns to Minnehaha Falls Park, noon-6 pm, featuring perennial favorites McCrae Jazz Workshop, Walker West Jazz Band, and Capri Big Band along with the Tangents, a vocal showcase with Debbie Duncan, Yolande Bruce and Linda Sloan, Chip Minor and George Scott. Along the way, the festival will present its annual Sam Favors Award as well as arts, crafts, concessions, great food, and family fun.

Jazz in the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel is back for its new season with pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff Brueske entertaining with the songs of Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie and more.

Paul Harper
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog kicks off with the Zeb Cruickshank Quartet, featuring Zeb on guitar, Dan Musselman on piano, Brent Wallace on bass and Byron Johnson-Blanchard on drums. The "prime time" show features Paul Harper's Show and Tell, a modern bebop ensemble with Paul on sax, Mike Cramer on guitar, Charlie Riddle on bass and visiting drummer Sheila Earley. Show and Tell has proven to be a popular band over their recent appearances at The Nicollet and Black Dog.

Laura Caviani
Two area virtuoso performers, composers and educators come together to reconsider classical composers as well as classic jazz artists. Pianist Laura Caviani and saxophonist David Milne first performed their "Jazz Impressions" last month in Northfield at the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, and now bring their rearrangements of Debussy, Ravel, Corea, Brubeck, and more to the opening concert of the Jazz @ St. Barney's series at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church in Plymouth.

Jay Young
Jay Young's Lyric Factory returns to the Dakota with a follow-up to their recent "Bandwidth" show, highlighting the music of jazz and pop radio. It's Jay's usual suspects including son Ian on a second bass, pianist Thom West, drummer Kevin Washington, violinist Ernest Bisong, and a team of vocalists (Yolande Bruce, Linda Sloan and Heather McElrath).

Something--or rather someone-- a little different takes the stage at Crooners tonight. Bassist and vocalist Kate Lynch adds a jazz sensibility to a wide array of tunes, largely from the 30s and 40s, and she's joined by the aptly named Most Excellent Fellows-- guitarist Chris Beaty, drummer Ken Chastain, trumpeter Greg Lewis, and trombonist Michael Nelson.

Andrew Walesch
Sunday, September 20. If it's Sunday, it's time for jazz brunch, with the Andrew Walesch Trio (with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein) at Crooners; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's.  Close the day (and every Sunday night) at the Riverview Wine Bar with the Zacc Harris Trio.

The Dakota Combo
This afternoon is a special one for area high school jazz students with a serious interest in small ensemble performance. For the tenth year, MacPhail Center for Music and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education join together to hold open auditions for the Dakota Combo, a metro-wide jazz band that provides scholarships for 5-8 talented young musicians (grades 9-12) to spend the school year studying with bassist/educator Adam Linz, performing at area venues including the Dakota, Black Dog, Nicollet and more; taking the Youth Stage at the Twin Cities and Iowa City Jazz Festivals each summer; visiting area schools and participating in clinics with nationally renowned musicians. Auditions are held today from 12:30 - 4 pm at MacPhail; no pre-registration required but interested students should review requirements posted on the DFJE website.

Tonight at the Dakota, Brazilian pianist/vocalist Clarice Assad returns for an evening of exquisite song-making.

Monday, September 21. Following their sold-out CD release at the Icehouse last month, the amazing young Potash Twins return to perform at the Dakota tonight. Still in college programs, the twin trombonists have played with Wynton Marsalis and Jon Batiste, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, South by Southwest, Birdland and beyond. Local guitarist Cory Wong describes their music as falling "someplace between Katy Perry and Miles Davis."

"Not that Paul Peterson" performs tonight on the weekly jam at Jazz Central. Not to be confused with St. Paul Peterson of the famed Peterson Family, this Paul is a saxophonist who studied at the U of M Duluth and is now making his way through the Twin Cities jazz scene, performing with hortZ, CC Septet, Nova Jazz Orchestra, and Century Big Band. His cohorts this evening include Larry McDonough on piano, John Hyvarinen on guitar, Greg Stinson on bass and Dean White on drums. 

JT Bates
Late night improv at the Icehouse features Nichols/Bates/Bates -- Bryan, Chris and JT having a lot of fun "performing compositions of all three members and generally navigating the music however they see fit at any given moment."

Chris Lomheim
Tuesday, September 22. It's a special "media night" at Crooners, with print and online media folks invited to check out the new Tuesday Night instrumental music series as well as the venue. And it's a perfect night for such an event, with the Chris Lomheim Trio (Gordy Johnson and Reid Kennedy) performing two sublime sets, largely drawn from Chris's 2014 recording of all-original music (Timelines) as well as newer material.

Mary Louise Knutson
At Vieux Carré, elegant pianist Mary Louise Knutson plays a couple solo sets early evening, followed by the swinging Parisota Hot Club and hot club chanteuse Connie Evingson.

Dubbed an "open rehearsal," the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra takes over the Jazz Central space once per month, boasting a who's who band of veterans and up and coming artists, led by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago.

Lizz Wright
Tuesday-Wednesday, September 22-23. It's been a few years since vocalist Lizz Wright visited the Twin Cities. Mixing jazz and soul, Wright has a remarkable instrument and several captivating recordings that capture it.

Pete Whitman
Wednesday, September 23. Pete Whitman launches another new project at Jazz Central tonight with "Rootie Tootie." Celebrating Monk and Ornette, the band includes two saxes--Whitman and Nathan Hanson, along with Steven Hobert on piano, Chris Bates on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Sounds like some rootin' tootin' jazz.

At Crooner's, Debbie Duncan returns for an evening of joyful song and a little mayhem.

Katia Cardenas
Thursday, September 24. Vocalist Katia Cardenas makes her debut at the Black Dog tonight, filling the club with her takes on jazz and R&B gems. At Khyber Pass, the Thursday Night gig is an LP release celebration for Paul Metzger's Improvisations on Modified Banjo. And up at Crooners, enjoy another swingfest with the Southside Aces.

Adam Meckler and the AMO
At Vieux Carré, the Adam Meckler Orchestra makes their venue debut, and their first public gig in a while as Meckler has been focused on recording his quintet. The AMO is a modern jazz orchestra in the tradition of Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmeyer, with a repertoire of original compositions and a stable of some of the finest jazz soloists in town.

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. tc@jazzpolice.com

Coming Soon!
. September 25, Javi Santiago Sextet at Vieux Carré
. September 25, Lucia Sarmiento Quartet at The Nicollet
. September 25, Anthony Cox at Jazz Central
. September 26, Patty Peterson and Friends with Steve Cole at the Dakota
. September 26, John Penny Trio followed by CD Release "A Night Together" at the Black Dog
. September 28, Larry McDonough 60th Birthday Celebration at the Dakota
. September 28, Classic B-3 Organ Trio at the Icehouse
. September 29, Dave Graf Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. September 29, Acme Jazz Company at Jazz Central
. September 29, Red Planet at Vieux Carré
. October 2, Pete Emblom Sextet at Jazz Central
. October 3, Wayne Bergeron and Andrew Walesch with JazzMN Orchestra at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. 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 26, Mike Sopko/Hamir Atwal/Martin Dosh at the Icehouse
. October 27, Jane Monheit at the Dakota
. November 1, Soul Cafe at the Hennepin Ave United Methodist Church
. 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

Red Planet - at Vieux Carre' on September 29

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sound Check: Will You Still Hear Me Tomorrow?

Kamasi Washington Dectet at the Icehouse, September 10, 2015
 © 2015, Andrea Canter

There was a blowout tonight at the Icehouse. Unfortunately it was ear drums that were most at risk.  I knew very little of saxophonist Kamasi Washington before I saw the promo on the Icehouse website for his "Dectet" gig. I'd skimmed an article in the June issue of Jazz Times. And I checked out his music online. Most recently he has toured and recorded with a ten-piece band, and the original music seemed at least interesting in combining hip hop and rock beats with improvisation and an orchestral feel.

Kamasi Washington
The gig sold out despite the $22 ticket price, on the high end for Icehouse shows. Tim Berne, somewhat of an icon among avant garde jazz fans, sold out the Icehouse a few months ago for half that price.

I counted myself lucky to snag a ticket (and a table) until the first blasts of the sound check. Then I realized I was in over my head, or rather over my ears. The space quickly filled with mostly standing Gen Xers and Millenials -- tables and chairs on the main floor had been cleared to allow for a larger, if less comfortable, audience. Kamasi Washington already had an eager following in the Twin Cities. A few younger people hovered outside in front of the window, either hoping for tickets or enough sound to provide free audio. They surely benefitted from the latter.

Javi Santiago and Tamara Renee
Javi Santiago, Miguel Hurtado and Taylor Johnson, aka Murkury, joined New York vocalist Tamara Renee for a short opening set of a cool blend of jazz, soul and R&B, albeit at a greater volume than I've ever heard from Javi and Miguel. That was just a warning.

Kamasi Washington and company wasted no time proving my ear plugs were close to useless.  Well, perhaps I would have passed out without them. It occurs to me that too few people complain about outrageous volume levels. Loud is equated with excitement and excitement is the most addictive "drug" of the 21st century. Most of this audience at the Icehouse came of age under the sign of Loud. I came of age under the sign of rock 'n roll -- what our parents considered Loud, but easily averaging about 50 decibels below the typical rock concert of 2015. Now I sound like my parents. But they were right about this.

What is not "relative" to time and place and musical taste is volume and its impact on human ears, which are not evolving to handle more and more decibels. Rather, those little hairs in your ears (stereocilia) are merely shrinking and disappearing along with the ability to distinguish and ultimately receive sound. My dad at 94 has precious few of those little hairs left and he never listened to loud music intentionally. The finest digital hearing aids can't reconstruct sounds that never reach the eardrum for lack of stereocilia. My 60-something peers who insisted on turning up the volume in their teens now may be approaching the hearing acuity of 90-somethings. What about the Millenials? What sounds will they hear in their 60s? Or 50s? And how exciting will that be?

Already I fear that one of the reasons for what seems to be ever-increasing volume at music events is the fact that half the audience can't really hear music at what to me is a normal, comfortable level. And that is why few people complain. To many, this is not loud at all. (Tell that to your stereocilia as they cringe, and disintegrate, under the increasing impact of louder and louder sound waves.)

Then there's the phenomenon of sound checks. It seems that the volume for drums and bass are established as the baseline for whatever band. Then the brass and piano have to be set high enough to be heard over drum and bass.  Why not reverse the process and set piano and saxophone (and voice) at a reasonable level and let the drums and bass come down to meet them?

Kamasi Washington Dectet
But I digress from this evening's event. With ear plugs, I only survived through the first three tunes (and I use the term loosely) of Washington and the Dectet. That was more than enough as I wanted to save my hearing at least long enough to enjoy Ron Carter and Bill Carrothers this weekend. And frankly I was unable to draw any real conclusions as to the talent of Kamasi Washington and his bandmates. One consequence of extreme volume is that it disguises talent as easily as lack of talent. As long as your drummers (Washington uses two) and bassist can effectively maintain a halfway interesting rhythm, you don't need much else as you won't hear much else, or what you do hear from horns etc. is so distorted that it is impossible evaluate. A weak saxophonist can hold his or her own and get away with it. And a strong saxophonist, which I suspect Washington really is, gets lost in the invasive auditory muck that obscures whatever talent. Does the audience care? Apparently not. After all, Loud = Excitement, and Excitement trumps all.

I actually might enjoy Kamasi Washington's new 3-disc release, Epoch, at least when I am in charge of the volume (and bass) settings. These musicians deserve much better than what they are giving themselves--sonic disguise. Get rid of the distortion, the excess vibration, the inevitable bleeding of sounds (as opposed to true harmony) and I bet we uncover an ensemble of talented musicians with distinct voices and inventive musical ideas. I just wish we could actually hear the music! It's hard to keep your ears wide open when your stereocilia are screaming for insulation.

September 10, 2015



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. tc@jazzpolice.com

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