Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 26-March 3

Red Planet opens the Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z, February 27

© Andrea Canter

This winter has seemed like a nonstop jazz festival, including two events carrying that designation, one sponsored by the Twin Cities Jazz Festival organization at the end of January, and now the third annual "Winter Jazz Fest" at Studio Z, five hours of modern jazz in the heart of Lowertown St. Paul on Saturday. (This after a month of Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, Scofield and Lovano, Mack Ave Superband, Ches Smith with Craig Taborn, Rez Abbasi with Rudresh and Vijay, Bill Carrothers...) Other highlights this coming week include a visit from Brian Blade's Fellowship band-- their Twin Cities debut--and a long-awaited reprise of Tommy O'Donnell's tribute to Erroll Garner, filling the earspace in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge.

Davu Seru
Friday, February 26. Friday Night Jazz at Reverie presents another debut, this one from Davu Seru and a band yet to be named, but promising plenty as they test drive some new compositions from the master percussionist. Joining Davu will be clarinetist Pat O'Keefe, trumpeter Jake Baldwin, bassist Chris Bates and young vibes master Levi Schwartzberg.

Pete James Johnson
Basement Society (an appropriate name given the venue!) returns to Jazz Central tonight, headed by drummer Pete James Johnson with pianist Javi Santiago and bassist Dan Carpel. Stick around for the late show, featuring young guns from Rosemount High School, dubbed Beneath Green.

New York-based trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg is in town to perform with the Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble at the college's Foss Center. Her leanings are "hot traditional jazz."

Maryann Sullivan
In St. Paul, Maryann Sullivan returns to the Black Dog with her swinging Corner Jazz crew, tonight with Gus Sandberg on sax, Reynold Philipsek on guitar, Keith Boyles on bass and son Trevor Haining on drums.

At Parma 8200, relative newcomer on the vocal jazz circuit Emily Jane Davis performs with Ron and Aane Fosse on piano and bass. On the opposite side of the metro, songbird Patty Peterson is at it again with her "Friends" -- Jason Peterson DeLaire, Billy Franze and Bobby Vandell-- at Crooners Lounge in Fridley.

Jay Young
Vieux Carré presents another edition of Bandwidth from Jay Young and the Lyric Factory -- this is the fourth installment, Radio Play, with radio hits from the likes of Prince, El Debarge, Jimi Hendrix, Sly, Marvin Gaye, Aretha, the Beatles, Elton John, Miles Davis and more.  Jay's cohorts include our own heavy hitters--son Ian on bass, Thom West on keys, Ernest Bisong on violin and Kevin Washington on drums. Jeremy Walker opens the evening.

JT Bates at Studio Z
Saturday, February 27. Lowertown St. Paul has more than its share of the action today! At Studio Z, it's the third annual Winter Jazz Fest, sponsored in part by Shifting Paradigm Records and showing off some recent and upcoming recordings from their "stable" -- five sets featuring Red Planet, Adam Meckler Quintet, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, and solo works from Bryan Nichols (piano) and JT Bates (drums).

Eric Gravatt
The Studio Z fest is over around 9, meaning you can go one more round a mere 2 short blocks away at the Black Dog, where Steve Kenny hosts Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code (with Chris Thomson, Solomon Parham, Dean Magraw and Ron Evaniuk). If you come down earlier you can catch some talented jazzers from UW-River Falls, dubbed Falls Five.

Laura Caviani
The U of M Jazz Festival brings in student ensembles from throughout the area for clinics and adjudications today, ending in a free, public concert at Ted Mann featuring the U's Jazz Ensembles with special guest and clinician Laura Caviani. Minnesota Youth Jazz Band will also perform.

Zacc Harris
Sunday, February 28. The Aster Cafe offers a double today, with Patty and the Buttons on hand for brunch, and the Paul Renz Trio coming in for the evening. The Zacc Harris Trio is in full force tonight at the Riverview Wine Bar, with Zacc joined by long-time pals Matt Peterson on bass and Peter Hennig on drums. Over in Lowertown, Joel Shapira plays his monthly solo guitar gig at the Black Dog in late afternoon, while Solomon Parham leads his weekly "Sessions" (aka jam sessions) at The Bedlam.

Judi Vinar
In the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Dan Chouinard leads his almost weekly Birthday Club, tonight pairing up with songbird Judi Vinar (Donaghy) to highlight the music of artists with February birthdays.

Monday, February 29. You might as well camp out at the Dunsmore Room, with another piano/vocal pairing tonight that is a must-hear: Pianist Rick Carlson and vocalist Dennis Spears "In the Crook" of the Bösendorfer. Come early-- vocalist Lila Ammons makes her Crooners Lounge debut for happy hour, so it's a stellar evening of jazz from start to finish. (Lila is back for happy hour on Wednesday.)

Geoff Lecrone
At Jazz Central, the Monday "Spotlight" shines brightly on a young virtuoso, guitarist Geoff Lecrone. He's been swinging with the Acme Jazz Company since his late teens, studied jazz guitar with Joan Griffith at St. Thomas, and still performs with his mentor on occasion, as well as performing regularly with Yohannes Tona and the Andrew Walesch Big Band. Acme Jazz Company cohort, saxophonist and arranger Bob Parsons will join Geoff tonight.

JT Bates will have to go some to top last week's Implosion at the Icehouse with the Ches Smith Trio, but there is always something cool cooking on this series. Tonight he showcases the talents of Leisure Valley-- Joey Van Phillips, Chris Bates, Patrick Harison and Bruce Thornton.

Tommy O'Donnell
Tuesday, March 1. In the "old days," pianist Tommy O'Donnell dazzled with tributes to the great Erroll Garner. Now he brings back the magic with his trio (Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, coinciding with the recent re-issue of the Complete Concert by the Sea recording. It will actually be a concert by the lake, in Fridley, but the magic will remain! Arrive early and you can hear some virtuosic solo guitar from Reynold Philipsek, happy hour in the lounge.

More piano magic, at Vieux Carré, with solo musings from Chris Lomheim, followed by the Jon Pemberton Trio -- Jon on piano here, leaving his trumpet to larger ensemble work.

Snowed out last month, here's another opportunity to hear the Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central, providing a preview of their upcoming recording. And ditto-- Maud Hixson and Dave Singley rescheduled from last month's storm, at Peoples' Organic in Wayzata.

Dean Magraw
And it's first Tuesdays, which means an evening of musical antics with Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog.

Wednesday, March 2. Hear what's up with future jazz stars when the McNally Smith X-Tet, directed by Pete Whitman, and the college's Jazz Combo take over the stage at Jazz Central for the opening set; Pete and his quartet play the second set. At Hell's Kitchen, swinging mayhem prevails with the Wolverines Trio.

Connie Evingson's Jazz in the Lounge (Minneapolis Woman's Club) offers a special preview tonight-- Connie with Dan Chouinard and Dave Karr test drive some material from their upcoming "Music of the Jazz Age."

Brian Blade
Wednesday-Thursday, March 2-3. It's about time that the Brian Blade Fellowship came to the Twin Cities! Drummer Blade has supported some of the best in the business, including a long stint with Wayne Shorter; his Fellowship ensemble with Jon Cowherd (piano), Chris Thomas (bass), and reedmen Myron Walden and Melvin Butler as been one of the most praised bands for the past 15 years. Catch what is described as "countrified, folkloric gospel jazz" at the Dakota--four sets, two nights.

Paula Lammers
Thursday, March 3. It's a special night for vocal jazz at Jazz Central, as long-time singing partners Paula Lammers and Reeves Cary come back together for a night of stellar swing and harmony.

More Jazz!

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive live jazz calendar can be found at KBEM, with more listings at Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, and of course, here on the Lead Sheet. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts; you can find promos of area jazz on the Jazz Police website and Facebook page. The live edition of The Lead Sheet can be heard at 4:40 pm on Thursdays on KBEM, rebroadcast at 8:20 am on Fridays (note later time), and recent broadcasts archived at KBEM on Demand. Special guests on March 3 will be Pete Whitman and Laura Caviani, sharing news about the X-Tet. Venues and artists are reminded to send gig information to KBEM ( and print media calendars.

Coming Soon!
. March 4, Larry McDonough Quartet Tribute to Chet Baker, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 5, Larry McDonough Quartet, Jazz @St Barneys (St Barnabas Church)
. March 5, Sidewalk Cafe at the 318 Cafe'
. March 5, Davis Wilson Birthday Celebration, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. March 6, Andrew Walesch Trio, Songs from the Great American Songbook, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 7, Lisa Fischer at the Dakota
. March 7, Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. March 8, Butch Thompson and Pat Donahue, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 9, Steven Anderson, solo piano in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 10, Adam Linz's Le Percheron at Khyber Pass
. March 11, Stokely Williams at Walker West Music Academy
. March 11, MacPhail Jazz Ensemble/Steven Hobert and Dean Magraw, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. March 12, Bottomless Pit, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 13, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Ann Reed, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 13-14, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield at the Dakota
. March 17, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Vieux Carré
. March 18, Really Big Shoe, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. March 18, Mancrush Quartet CD release at Vieux Carré
. March 19, Zakir Hussain at Pantages Theater
. March 19, Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quartet, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. March 20, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Prudence Johnson, Dunmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 21, Patty Peterson Presents Tribute to Jeanne Arland Peterson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margo, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 24, Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band CD release at Vieux Carré
. March 25, Jeremy Walker's Boot Camp at Vieux Carré
. March 25, King/Fletcher/Woods, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. March 26, Steve Kenny Quartet, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. March 27, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Maria Jette, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 28, In the Crook with Erin Schwab and Jay Fuchs, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 29, Billy Peterson and special guest, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 30, Connie Evingson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 1-2, Dave King Trio with Bill Carrothers and Billy Peterson at Vieux Carré
. April 2, Maud Hixson salute to Doris Day, Bloomington Black Box Theater
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 8, Dakota Combo at Studio Z
. April 9, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. April 10-11, David Sanborn at the Dakota
. April 10, Joyce Lyons Sings Carmen McRae, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 12, Andres Prado with Mississippi, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 15, Atlantis Quartet at Walker West Music Academy
. April 18, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at the Guthrie Theater
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 20, Peter Bernstein/Larry Goldings/Bill Stewart Organ Trio at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 25, Nancy Harms with Jeremy Siskind, CD Release, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 26, John Raymond Quartet, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall (Atrium Jazz Ensemble)
. April 29, Guitar Night with Julian Lage Trio at the Dakota
. April 30, International Jazz Day Festival with Brian Lynch at Jazz Central
. May 4, Tim Kliphuis and Sam Miltich at the Dakota
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 5, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota
. June 17, David Binney Quartet at Walker West
. June 17, Tord Gustavsen Trio at Mindekirken (Norwegian Lutheran Church)
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

Davis Wilson celebrates #80 at the Black Dog, March 5