Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 1-7



Young jazz artists prevail this weekend, including Trap Tube, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog


© Andrea Canter
Young musicians dominate the weekend as we recover from a jazz-packed New Year's Eve. Yet it's an old favorite tickling the ivories in the new Dunsmore Room; and a favorite NOLA-style band releasing a new recording at the end of the week. Not a bad start to 2016.

Big Gigs This Week
Chris Lomheim
Friday, January 1. New Year's Day is always a bit slow for live music, but Orchestra Hall is open and pianist Chris Lomheim is in the lobby (e.g., free!) for an hour before the 2 pm orchestra concert-- you don't need a concert ticket for the prelude!

Ben Ehrlich, Sound Skirmish
Give your ears a jumpstart for 2016 with the youthful energy of Sound Skirmish at Jazz Central. This quartet launched about two years ago, before the full band was out of high school. Now, all involved in college music programs, and home for the holidays, SS features pianist Patrick Adkins (Lawrence Conservatory), vibraphonist Levi Schwartzberg (U of M), bassist Drew Stinson (McNally Smith) and drummer Ben Ehrlich (U of North Texas).

Edmund Caitlin, The Big Other
More young lions on the prowl tonight at the Gingko Coffeehouse in St Paul with The Big Other. The quartet of young college jazzers include two Mounds View High School grads, Peter Goggin on alto (U of Michigan) and Sam Worthington on bass (Peabody Conservatory), with pals Aidan Sponheim on trumpet (Lawrence Conservatory) and Edmund Caitlin (McGill U) on drums.

James Buckley
And dinner at the Icehouse might be just the antidote to New Year's Eve madness, and all the more enjoyable with piano/bass duo music from Bryan Nichols and James Buckley during the dinner hours.

Note about The Nicollet: Closed for New Years, the Friday Night Jazz series will be on a short vacation as the venue undergoes some remodeling and rebranding under new ownership. Watch for the return of Friday Night Jazz under the new club name (TBA), with an expanded kitchen, on January 22!

Reynold Philipsek
Friday-Saturday, January 1-2. Early evenings get a boost at Crooners Lounge this weekend, with guitarist Reynold Philipsek entertaining during Happy Hour. Reynold probably has the thickest book of original tunes in the Midwest!

In the Lobby Bar at the Saint Paul Hotel, JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske resume their usual winter weekend gigs, standards and more.

Patty Peterson
Saturday, January 2. Patty Peterson and Friends start the new year in the lounge at Crooner's -- with her usual suspects, nephew Jason Peterson DeLaire and pals Billy Franze and Bobby Vandell. It's always a party night with Patty!

At the Dakota, one of the area's favorite vocal pairings-- Ginger Commodore and Dennis Spears, with Ginger's band featuring Rich Manik, Lee Blaske, Tony Axtell and Bobby Commodore. It's an embarrassment of riches.

Levi Schwartzberg
At the Black Dog, Steve Kenny opens the 2016 season of weekly nights with Central Standard Time, a cross-generational band that launched about a year ago, featuring some of the hottest young talents in the area meshing seamlessly with veteran artists. It's an expanded ensemble tonight with Kenny (FLUMPET) and special guests Brandon Wozniak (saxes) and JT Bates (drums), along with young guns, Levi Schwartzberg (vibes), Will Kjeer (piano) and Charlie Lincoln (bass), taking a break from college studies.  And speaking of young guns, four high school seniors make up Trap Tube, playing the opening set -- Jordan Anderson on piano with Gerhardt Robinson (saxes), Alma Engebretson (bass) and Simon Petrick (drums).

Will Schmid
More teen wizards take the stage at the 318 Cafe in Excelsior as the Will Schmid Duos perform-- a two-guitar duet featuring Will and Adam Astrup opens, followed by Will and vocalist Kalli Anderson.

Sunday, January 3. Jazz brunch around the metro: The Andrew Walesch Trio at Crooners Lounge; Patty and the Buttons swing it at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's.  In the afternoon, Doug Little's Charanga Tropical brings some Havana heat to the Icehouse for their monthly gig; in the evening, the Zacc Harris Trio is at the Riverview Wine Bar, their home for the past decade.

Arne Fogel
Monday, January 4. Big band night in Fridley-- the Acme Jazz Company plays in the lounge at Crooners, and of course the band features the area's own "crooner," Arne Fogel.

Will Kjeer
In the spotlight tonight at Jazz Central, young piano whiz Will Kjeer assembles a band of somewhat older area notables-- Nelson Devereaux on saxes, Graydon Peterson on bass, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. Catch will now before he heads back to studies at Cal Arts.

Cory Healey
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion is a double feature, starting out with '58 Belvedere -- a trio heavy on guitar with Dean Granros and Pat Keen (adding vocals) and drummer "Diamond" Dave Power, playing what they describe as "explosive improvised experimental modern dance-core thrash music." The second set presents the magic of Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band, with the leader on drums, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Brandon Wozniak on sax, Zacc Harris on guitar and Erik Fratzke on bass.

Butch Thompson
Tuesday, January 5. If you haven't visited the new Dunsmore Room at Crooners yet, tonight is a perfect opportunity (assuming you can still get a reservation)! Butch Thompson takes his turn at the Bösendorfer grand with a solo night that we can only anticipate as a perfect context for ragtime and blues. There's no cover and reasonable minimums from the dining room menu and bar.

Vieux Carré holds a piano night of its own, with Chris Lomheim handling the happy hour sets and the Phil Aaron Trio coming on for the rest of the evening.

Travis Anderson
At the Black Dog, it is First Tuesday, meaning Dean Magraw and Davu Seru will offer their usual menu of fun and surprise. The Bill Simenson Orchestra takes the first turn of 2016 for Big Band Tuesday at Jazz Central, and the always-off-the wall fun of the Travis Anderson Trio warms the winter night at the Dakota.

Pete Snell
Wednesday, January 6. The plethora of local craft breweries has also expanded the venues for live music. Tonight, the Pete Snell Trio (with Lee Blaske and Jim Chenoweth) performs at the Lupine Brewing Company in Delano, so you can enjoy the veteran saxman with a one-of-a-kind brew.

Katia Cardenas
At the Dakota, vocalist Katia Cardenas returns for a night from her eclectic songbook, while Connie Evingson hosts Jazz in the Lounge at the Minneapolis Woman's Club, this evening with Sanford Moore and Dave Karr. At the Marsh, Maud Hixson is featured with Adi Yeshaya.

Thursday, January 7. It's a party whenever the Jack Brass Band is on stage, and when they release a new recording, it's a holiday party! The JBB brings their new CD to Vieux Carré, following opening solo piano sets from multi-instrumentalist Jon Pemberton.
Jack Brass Band

At the Dakota, the trombone-wielding Potash Twins return for another dose of low-brass adventures. Twins Adeev (SUNY Purchase) and Ezra (Manhattan School of Music) have been protege's of Wynton Marsalis, and are no strangers to Minnesota, having performed at the State Fair, First Avenue and Icehouse as well as the Dakota. And what could be more fun that two trombones?

Speaking of fun, The Wolverines are at it again at Hell's Kitchen, while Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central will feature local singer/songwriter/cabaret artist Erin Livingston, in a jazzy frame of mind with pianist Marc Z.

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. Special guest next week will be Walker West director Peter Leggett, updating us on the 2016 season of the Eight O'Clock Jump series. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g. tc@jazzpolice.com).

Coming Soon!
. January 8, Denny Malmberg Trio with Charmin Michelle at Parma 8200
. January 8, Jay Young and the Lyric Factory at the Dakota
. January 8, Bryan Nichols Trio, Eight O'Clock Jump at Walker West
. January 9, Andrew Walesch at Jazz @St Barneys
. January 9, JT Bates' Grain at Vieux Carré
. January 9, Pete Snell Trio/Golden Circle (Seru, Granros, Bates, Wozniak), Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. 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 12, Chris Lomheim Trio at Vieux Carré
. January 16, Nachito Herrera at the Dakota
. January 16, Midwest Sax Quartet/Zacc Harris Group, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. 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, JazzINK Youth Showcase at The Nicollet
. January 22, Happy Apple at the Icehouse
. January 23, Jeremy Walker's Seven Psalms at Orchestra Hall
. January 23, Hagedorn Student Ensemble/Chris Bates Good Vibes Trio, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. 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 30, Nextet/Dave Karr Group, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. 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


Chris Lomheim Trio, at Vieux Carre' on January 12

*All photos by Andrea Canter except Potash Twins CD cover.








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.

Add caption
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. tc@jazzpolice.com).

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














Wednesday, December 16, 2015

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



 
The Dunsmore Room opens officially with the Dave King Trio on December 22

 © Andrea Canter
The weather of the moment seems much like the Twin Cities jazz scene-- a mix of everything! From big band and trad to swinging vocals, "chamber jazz" to avant garde, and from holiday magic to CD release, there's no shortage of jazzy entertainment this week. Actually the scene is much better than the weather!

Big Gigs This Week


Dave Brattain
Friday, December 18. About a year ago, saxophone giant Dave Brattain and fleet-fingered guitarist Kevin Daley started a quartet dubbed the Daley Brattain Report, but soon rebranded with the impossible-to-spell da-ke-brōō-da, taking a couple letters--or sounds--from each musician's first name (Dave Brattain, Kevin Daley, Bruce Heine and Dave Stanoch). While I can't guarantee the spelling here, there is no doubt regarding the effectiveness of this collaboration, coming together again at Jazz Central.

Peter Vircks
In 2014, the Peter Vircks Quartet released a well-received album, What You Believe Is True, a favorite at MPR and elsewhere. The band returns to The Nicollet tonight (Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series), featuring leader Vircks on sax, Brian Ziemniak on keys, Ron Evaniuk on bass and Kevin Washington on drums.

Doc Severinsen & Vanessa Thomas
It's an almost annual holiday celebration at Orchestra Hall, as Doc Severinsen returns as "Jingle Bell Doc," conducting the Minnesota Orchestra along with our own Mary Louise Knutson on piano, Vanessa Thomas on vocals, the Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Bronze (handbell ensemble). It might be predictable, but it's always fun and Doc can still blow a great horn. The concert repeats on Sunday afternoon.

Irv Williams
Happy Hour just seems happier during the holidays. At 96, Irv Williams is still at it, with pal Steve Blons for Friday Happy Hour at the Dakota. At Crooners' Lounge, vocalist/pianist Andrew Walesch raps up his week-long Happy Hour run, while songbird Maud Hixson (with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson) returns to the lounge at Parma 8200 for a "happy evening," still flying high after her gig at the famed St. Peter's Church in Manhattan last month.

Pianist Todd Harper and his quartet open the evening at the Black Dog, followed by the inventive Donald Washington Group, with Washington on saxes, wife Faye on cello and flute, son Kevin on drums, and Dick Studer on bass.

Bryan Nichols
Want a little piano with your dinner? Bryan Nichols teams with bassist Jeremy Boettcher at the Icehouse, while Jeremy Walker starts the evening at Vieux Carré.  And JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske calm holiday nerves in the Lobby Bar at the Saint Paul Hotel, back again tomorrow (see below) as their two-night weekend gig continues through the holidays.

Ginger Commodore
Saturday, December 19. Another favorite songbird, Ginger Commodore brings her holiday show with her GCQ Quartet to Vieux Carré Saturday night-- with her core band of Lee Blaske, Mark Weisberg and Bobby Commodore, with Rich Manik on sax and some extra percussion from Daryl Boudreaux. Ginger's gospel-tinged, bluesy vocals are particularly well suited to holiday fare. (Catch her in the act again at Crooners on Wednesday!)

Dean Granros, Chris Bates (Tall Tales)
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog brings back two crowd favorites: Long-time Monday night band at the Artists Quarter, Headspace opens the evening (Rob Dewy, Matt Senjem, Adam Ropar) with curator Steve Kenny adding some brass; the headline band will be Dean Granros' Tall Tales -- a double guitar quartet with Zacc Harris, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein spinning "tall tales," of course, and nearly spinning out of orbit.

JoAnn Funk
JoAnn Funk's Lobby Bar gig at the Saint Paul Hotel transforms into her annual "Deck the Halls" night, adding the baritone voice of Steve Marking and violinist Gary Schulte to Jeff Brueske's basslines and of course JoAnn's piano and vocals.  And at the Normandy Kitchen, keyboard mayhem prevails with the Travis Anderson Trio (with Steve Pikal and Nathan Norman).

Sunday, December 20. Singer, pianist and bandleader Andrew Walesch does double duty at Crooners today, leading his trio (Gordy Johnson, Jay Epstein) during the weekly jazz brunch, then coming back with the trio at 5 pm in the new (not officially opened!) Dunsmore Room for a couple hours of his favorite holiday tunes, played on the Bösendorfer.

The Nova Jazz Orchestra makes it their fourth annual holiday concert lat afternoon at St James Lutheran Church in St Paul.

Patty Peterson and Jason DeLaire
And another very long-running tradition, the Peterson Family Holiday Show will be presented twice at the Dakota. Now headed by the five siblings--Linda, Patty, Ricky, Billy and Paul Peterson with Linda's son Jason Peterson DeLaire, the show has been a seasonal favorite for more than 25 years. Seating is very limited... if any seat remains!

Mike Lewis
Monday, December 21. Young guitar sensation Jon Wood takes the spotlight and heads the following jam session at Jazz Central, while the avant garde holds a meltdown at the Icehouse tonight -- guitarist Phil Wood tangles with saxman Mike Lewis and Implosion series host JT Bates.

Maryann Sullivan and Doug Haining
Taking a more traditional view, the popular Twin Cities Seven led by Doug Haining returns to its regular rotation at Crooners, with vocalist Maryann Sullivan guaranteeing the music will swing all night.

Monday-Tuesday, December 21-22. It's not unusual for Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera to play at the Dakota, as he is on stage there nearly monthly. But this two-night stand is different-- Nachito Herrera and the Universals features a collaboration of cultures and musics. In addition to the volcanic technique and firestorm energy of Nachito, the band features violinist Karen Briggs (Yanni, Stanley Clarke, David Grusin), saxophonist Mike Phillips (Stevie Wonder, Prince), Senagalese bassist Cheikh Ndoye (Eric Marienthal, Russell Ferante), and drummer Raul Pineda (Chucho Valdes).

Pat O'Keefe, Cherry Spoon
At the Black Dog, it's another installment of the Cherry Spoon Collective, surely one of the most intriguing ensembles of new music devotees. Performing new commissions and improvisational new music, the leaders include Michelle Kinney (cello), Nick Guadette (bass) and Patrick O’Keefe (sax), with a cast of the area's top experimenters. Funding comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the American Composers Forum. 

Dave King
Tuesday, December 22. Tonight marks the official opening of the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, the converted Lakeside Dining Room now a full service jazz club two-three nights per week, with the centerpiece a 9-foot Bösendorfer on a newly built stage, with new sound system. And what better way to celebrate than with the Dave King Trio? King launched this trio a few years ago with the acclaimed recording, I've Been Ringing You (Sunnyside, 2012), featuring piano wizard Bill Carrothers and eclectic bass genius Billy Peterson. Consistent with all music at Crooners, there's no cover, but shows in the Dunsmore Room will have a set minimum food and drink purchase. And they will make that easy with some special items. But most important, the quiet setting and policies of the Dunsmore Room should ensure a perfect listening environment for one of the most inventive jazz trios on the scene, anywhere.
The Dunsmore Room piano

The master of odd time signatures, pianist Larry McDonough brings his quartet and holiday show to Lowertown at The Bedlam. Larry's vocals and piano will warm the most surly Scrooge, and his band-- Richard Terrill on sax, Greg Stinson on bass, Dean White on drums, and daughter Rosie McDonough on African percussion--will add modern twists to some familiar holiday carols. 

Chris Lomheim
At Vieux Carré, two sure things: Solo piano from Chris Lomheim to start the evening, followed by vocalist Connie Evingson. They're just so predictable-- predictably at the top of the game. And on Big Band Night at Jazz Central, the music moves south for the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, led by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago.

Retro Swing Sister
Wednesday, December 23. The Ginger Commodore Quartet reprises their holiday show, now moving north to Crooners Lounge. And if your feet want more exercise than tapping, try a swing dance at the Eagles Club with music from Retro Swing Sister--Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie.

Yet another annual holiday show is back-- the George Maurer Group returns to the Dakota with rearrangements of seasonal favorites from his ensemble of the area's top instrumentalists and smoldering vocals.

Pete Whitman

At Jazz Central, Pete Whitman presents a new project -- Cold Fusion, and the name seems misleading as this is a volcanic ensemble: Pete on saxes, Steve Kenny on FLUMPET™, Chris Olson on guitars, Ron Evaniuk on bass and Reid Kennedy on drums.

Thursday, December 24. T'is the night before Christmas and some venues are closed, but you can enjoy Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen or Benny Weinbeck at Parma 8200.

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 23 (repeated on the 24th), with special guest JT Bates to talk about his new solo recording and the Jazz Implosion Series at the Icehouse.  Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g. tc@jazzpolice.com).

Coming Soon!
. December 26, Iron Chops/Framework at the Black Dog
. December 27, Big Band Christmas at Jazz@ St Barneys
. December 25-28, The Bad Plus at the Dakota
. December 28, JT Bates "Open Relationships" CD release at the Icehouse
. December 31, Artists Quarter New Year's Eve with Carole Martin at Hell's Kitchen
. December 31, New Year's Eve Dinner Show with Jazzland Wonderband at Vieux Carré
. December 31, Thomas Bruce/Maud Hixson/Benny Weinbeck Quartet, New Year's Eve Party at Parma 8200
. December 31, New Year's Eve Benefit for Feed My Starving Children with The Niskas at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Burnsville)
. January 5, Butch Thompson in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 7, Rachel Holder-Hennig "In the Crook" with Rick Carlson in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 8, Denny Malmberg Trio with Charmin Michelle at Parma 8200
. January 9, Andrew Walesch at Jazz @St Barneys
. 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
. January 12, Peter Kogan Quartet in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 17, John Penny CD release at the Icehouse
. January 19, Mary Louise Knutson Trio in the Dunsmore Room 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 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. 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 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 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


The Bad Plus Return to the Dakota, December 25-28