Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, March 18-14

Ellen Lease and Pat Moriarty, Quartet at the Black Dog on March 19

© Andrea Canter
High School tournament season, blustery March weather, and any remnants of St. Patrick's Day can't compare to the hours of live jazz available in the Twin Cities this week. There's a tribute to one of the area's jazz icons, Jeanne Arland Peterson, the first recordings from two of the area's hot "young lions" ensembles, the screening of a groundbreaking film about the women of jazz, and a welcome homecoming of one of the region's most lauded native sons.

Big Gigs This Week
Irv Williams
Friday, March 18. Friday always brings some great music to start the weekend -- like Irv Williams and Steve Blons for Happy Hour at the Dakota, the solo accordion of Patrick Harison tonight at the Icehouse, or Piano Fridays with Todd Harper (in a Mystery Duet!) at the Black Dog. Hang around at the Black Dog as it's the monthly performance of the Donald Washington Group, this week a trio with bassist Dick Studer and Donald's son, drummer Kevin Washington.

Clay Pufahl and Joe Mayo, Really Big Shoe
One of the last Friday gigs before moving to Thursdays (in May), Friday Night Jazz at Reverie presents Really Big Shoe, a new double saxophone quartet led by Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl, along with bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Joey Van Phillips. Given the breadth of their chops (Joe and Clay primarily in jazz/R&B projects, Matt in jazz and hot club ensembles, Joey most recently supporting hip hop artist Dessa as well as more experimental improvising bands), the original tunes should cover the universe of sound.

Chris Bates
At Jazz Central, it's a reprise of the Inventions and Dimensions Trio led by Chris Bates, with young guns Joe Strachan (piano) and Matt Buckner (drums). The trio worked out new material over three successive monthly gigs on Jazz Central's
"new music" Wednesdays, and come back to Jazz Central to pull it all together.

One of a group of recordings to be released in coming months on the local Shifting Paradigms label, Authentic Midwestern is the first CD for drummer Lars-Erik Larson's quartet, Mancrush, with Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak and Bryan Nichols, celebrated tonight at Vieux Carré. The album is filled with Larson's folk-inspired originals and an arrangement of Bartok. Come early for the (free) opening sets from pianist/composer Jeremy Walker.

The March edition of Eight O'Clock Jump, the very successful concert series at Walker West, features the great drummer/vocalist, Mint Condition's Stokely Williams; this one is sold out but you might get lucky if there's a no-show.

Pat Moriarty and Ellen Lease
Saturday, March 19. Over the past two decades-plus, the collaboration of pianist Ellen Lease and saxophonist Pat Moriarty has helped define the local avant garde. Their much acclaimed quintet, quartets (Insurgent, Resurrection) and trios have been frequently presented at Studio Z as well as at the Black Dog where they return tonight with Chris Bates and Davu Seru on the headline sets of the Saturday Night Jazz series. And keeping it "in the family," the opening set features the award-winning Roseville Area High School Jazz Combo I, directed by Pat.

Pavel Jany, Talking Strings
Start your evening with some sophisticated swing from the Talking Strings (Pavel Jany on guitar, Dan Weston on bass, Gary Schulte on violin) playing in their weekly slot at the Loring Pasta Bar, or another weekly stalwart, Benny Weinbeck and his trio making the most of piano jazz in the lounge at Parma 8200. You can also enjoy a night of nothing but guitar at the annual Minnesota Guitar Society Board concert in the Sound Bite Cafe at McNally Smith College of Music.

Peter Kogan
At Vieux Carré, former Minnesota Orchestra timpanist Peter Kogan brings his jazz quartet back with arrangements of standards and original compositions. His usual cohorts include saxophonist Pete Whitman, pianist Peter Schimke and bassist Anthony Cox-- the definition of an all-star ensemble. Another definition of "all-star" -- tabla ace Zakir Hussein, performing tonight at the Pantages Theater.

Prudence Johnson
Sunday, March 20. Nearly three months into his run, Dan Chouinard offers another installment of The Birthday Club in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, bringing back his first guest, Prudence Johnson, for another round of songs celebrating March birthdays and more. This is not only an inspired series of music, but a very entertaining way to spend a Sunday evening.

Jeanne Arland Peterson (2011)
Monday, March 21. It's a big week in the Dunsmore Room, with a special presentation tonight with Patty Peterson hosting a tribute to her late mom, pianist, vocalist, composer Jeanne Arland Peterson, accompanied by more Petersons-- brother Paul on bass and vocals, and nephew Jason DeLaire on keys, vocals and perhaps saxophone. And likely more Petersons will be waiting in the wings.

Pat O'Keefe, Cherry Spoon Collective
The monthly gig with the Cherry Spoon Collective is on the schedule at the Black Dog. This collaboration among some of the most inventive music collectives in the area-- Zeitgeist, Jelloslave, Orange Mighty Trio and more, presents original music in varying configurations every month, led by project leaders Michelle Kinney (cello), Nick Gaudette (bass), and Pat O’Keefe (sax).

Dean Granros, '58 Belvedere
JT's Jazz Implosion presents a double-header at the Icehouse: Up first, a solo set from Chicagoland drummer/percussionist Paul Grill, followed by '58 Belvedere, a trio with guitar monster Dean Granros, Pat Keuhn and Dave Power.

Tuesday, March 22. About five years ago, attendees at the Minneapolis-St Paul Film Festival were able to screen a new film celebrating the history and progress of women in jazz, The Girls in the Band. The film went on to win numerous awards, returned to the Twin Cities briefly in 2012, and now will be broadcast on March 25 by TPT. Ahead of the broadcast, TPT is hosting a special screening in its studios in Lowertown St Paul, with the added attraction of a small all-women's ensemble directed by Pippi Ardennia, The Women of Jazz, featuring ace bassist/guitarist Joan Griffith. Tickets are limited, check the TPT website for tickets and information. And see the broadcast schedule.

Pete Whitman X-Tet
At the Dakota it's a special night as the Jazz 88 Restaurant Tour comes into the club for its monthly fundraising dinner and music party. But anyone can come into the club tonight to hear some great music from the Pete Whitman X-Tet. Hot off their performance at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, this ensemble of ten of the area's most respected jazz musicians has a bunch of new charts from band members Pete, Laura Caviani and David Milne, new arrangements of some of Laura's "From Bach to Bop" classical works, and old favorites. (Check the KBEM website for availability of the Restaurant Tour.)

Twin Cities 7
Big Band night at Jazz Central features the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, a unique ensemble in the area that includes top metro jazz musicians led by trumpeter Geoff Senn and drummer Mac Santiago. And a littler but mighty ensemble, the Twin Cities 7 led by Doug Haining, plays a rare Tuesday night in the lounge at Crooners, and features vocalist Maryann Sullivan.

Mary Louise Knutson
Two of our own Women in Jazz, Mary Louise Knutson on solo piano, Connie Evingson singing "hot jazz" with her band, appear back to back at Vieux Carré. And some jazz fun at Bradstreet Crafthouse with Katz and Dogs--Steve Katz on vocals and bass (and compositions), Park Evans on guitar and Ken Goldman on drums. Looks like they have Tuesday nights nailed down indefinitely.

Geoffrey Keezer
Wednesday, March 23. He grew up in Eau Claire, played often at the Dakota in his teens and throughout his early career, and was the last pianist for Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers at a mere 18. Geoffrey Keezer has only returned recently in a supporting role, with Dianne Reeves at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival and frequently with Chris Botti's winter tours. Now he's back with a solo/duet show in the Dunsmore Room, teaming up with rising star vocalist Gillian Margot. Geoffrey will play some of the music from his latest release, The Heart of the Piano; he and Gillian will perform some re-arrangements of these tunes for piano/voice duo as well as some of the music from Gillian's very recent release, Black Butterfly. Limited tickets remain!

Nathan Hanson
New Music night at Jazz Central presents saxophonist Nathan Hanson with pals Steven Hobert (piano) and Pratik Singh on tablas, while at Vieux Carré, things take a very different (and always fun) turn with New Shoes (formerly Guy's All-Star Shoe Band from Prairie Home Companion), featuring the Americana and beyond sounds of Richard Kriehn (fiddle and mandolin), Gary Raynor (bass), Joe Savage (pedal steel guitar) and Peter Johnson (drums). 

Thursday, March 24. Another CD release from Shifting Paradigm Records at Vieux Carré features Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band -- that's Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Brandon Wozniak on sax, Erik Fratzke on bass and Healey on drums; and of course the CD is called Beautiful Sunshine. Guitar giant Joel Shapira opens the evening solo. 

Martha Alkins
Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central presents up-and-coming singer Martha Alkins. Performing standards from the 20s-90s (aka most of the 20th century), Martha's band includes pianist Ian Carlton, bassist Evan Corcoran and drummer C Harris.

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 guest on March 24 will be Sarah Schmalenberger, leader of the Swing Sisterhood Big Band. Venues and artists are reminded to send gig information to KBEM ( and print media calendars.

Coming Soon!
. 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 26, Brian Courage Quartet, Jazz at Studio Z
. 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 Jason Peterson DeLaire, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 29, Swing Sisterhood Big Band at Jazz Central
. March 30, Connie Evingson with Tanner Taylor and Dave Karr, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. March 31, McNally Smith Vocal Jazz Showcase
. April 1-2, Dave King Trio with Bill Carrothers and Billy Peterson at Vieux Carré
. April 2, Maud Hixson, salute to Doris Day, Bloomington Schneider Theater
. April 2, Courageous Endeavors, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 5, Larry McDonough Quintet, Tribute to Chet Baker in the Dunsmore Room, Crooners Lounge
. April 8, Dakota Combo/NuSkein Ensemble, "Friday Night Jazz" at Studio Z
. April 8, PipJazz  (Pippi Ardennia, Jo Schad) 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 23, Jay Young and Lyric Factory, Tribute to Stevie Wonder at the Capri Theater 
. April 24, Lucia Newell and Phil Aaron, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 24, Soul Cafe' at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church
. 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 2, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota
. May 3, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. 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
. May 24-25, Bobby Lyle with Billy Peterson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. 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 20, JazzMN Orchestra at Chanhassen Dinner Theater
. June 21, David Hazeltine and Eric Alexander, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. June 22, David Hazeltine/Eric Alexander Quartet, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

Bassist Brian Courage returns for a visit-- Quartet on March 26, Courageous Endeavors on April 2