Thursday, March 31, 2016

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

SFJazz Collective at the Dakota, April 3-4
© Andrea Canter
I know spring is here because the calendar says so. Trees are trying to bud, my rhubarb is up a few inches, robins are flitting around the yard. It will warm up. Until the thermometer catches up with the calendar, we can take comfort in some sizzling hot music over the coming week, from internationally renowned local heroes to internationally revered visitors to a popular former resident reuniting with his band and a favorite songbird saluting a film and stage icon, while another local hero brings his tribute to a tragic jazz figure to a key listening room.

Big Gigs This Week

Paul Harper
Friday, April 1. The hot club swing of Gypsy Mania prevails tonight in Hell's Kitchen, while starting their one-month exile, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie moves for one night only to Public Kitchen, with Paul Harper's Chordless Quartet, featuring Harper on saxes, Steve Kenny on FLUMPET™, Tom Lewis on bass and Matt Buckner on drums. The series will move around the Twin Cities the rest of April (Studio Z, Jazz Central), returning to Reverie in May as Thursday Nigh Jazz.

Eric Gravatt
At Jazz Central, it's what seems to be a monthly opportunity to hear Eric Kamau Gravatt and his group Source Code, with Solomon Parham on trumpet, young Lucia Sarmiento on sax, Dean Magraw on guitar, and Ron Evaniuk on bass.

Dave King
Friday-Saturday, April 1-2. The Dave King Trio reassembles in St Paul for their debut at Vieux Carré. Bad Plus drummer Dave put this group together a few years ago for a recording session with Bill Carrothers on piano and Billy Peterson on bass (yielding the very fine I've Been Ringing You on Sunnyside), and since then they've headlined at the Village Vanguard and venues in Europe. They were the opening act for the Dunsmore Room in December and now bring their pithy originals and magical rearrangements of standards to Vieux Carre'.

Brian Courage
Saturday, April 2. Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog brings another chance to hear bassist Brian Courage before he heads back home to New York, this time with the original Courageous Endeavors quartet. Joining Brian are Nelson Devereaux on sax, Joe Strachan on keys, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. Since Brian's move they have performed as Endeavors, but Saturday they will again be Courageous.

More young lions on the prowl at the Icehouse tonight, a late double bill with the McNasty Brass Band and New Sound Underground, the funkier side of jazz and brass.

Maud Hixson
Another special night, in Bloomington at the Schneider Theater, features a new production from songbird Maud Hixson, "What Would Doris Do?" This tribute to one of Maud's favorites, Doris Day, digs into the Doris songbook as well as looking beyond the sunny character presented in film and on records, and reveals her courage in facing darker personal struggles. Joining Maud will be the swinging Wolverines Trio of Rick Carlson, Keith Boyles and Jendeen Forberg.

Dennis Spears
Sunday, April 3. It's the monthly afternoon of Latin magic with Doug Little's Charanga Tropical at the Icehouse. And it should be a fun evening as Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club in the Dunsmore Room welcomes guest vocalist Dennis Spears; they'll include songs from singers and songwriters with April birthdays, and Dennis may have a few April Fools surprises of his own.

Robin Eubanks, Avishai Cohen and David Sanchez, SFJazz

Sunday-Monday, April 3-4. One of the world's premiere jazz ensembles is in town for two nights (four sets) at the Dakota. Every year, The SFJazz Collective brings together eight all-stars for a San Francisco-based residency and tour, honoring one composer's work each season -- and this year it's Michael Jackson. The current touring band includes alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Edward Simon, vibraphonist Warren Wolfe, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Obed Calvaire.

Acme Jazz Company
Monday, April 4. The Acme Jazz Company is back in the lounge at Crooners, with Arne Fogel handling the vocals. In the spotlight at Jazz Central, young trumpeter Riley Helgeson (McNasty Brass Band) leads the evening, with the weekly jam session to follow.

Mike Lewis
At the Icehouse , Jazz Implosion starts off with Noodhammer - "the slow/fuzzy brainchild of Jeremy Ylvisaker & Michael Lewis," followed by Mamiffer, on tour supporting their new recording, The World Unseen, using piano, voice, guitar, wurlitzer organ, bass synthesizer, tape machines, and effects pedals. Well, anything can happen on Mondays at the Icehouse.

Larry McDonough
Tuesday, April 5. If you have not yet heard Larry McDonough Quintet tribute to Chet Baker, here's another chance, as Larry will be sitting at the Bosendorfer in the Dunsmore Room, reprising Chet's vocal talents with Steve Kenny taking the trumpet role. And it's First Tuesday, which brings Dean Magraw and Davu Seru to the Black Dog with special guest Chris Olson, and the Bill Simenson Orchestra to Jazz Central.

Jendeen Forberg
Wednesday, April 6. The ever-popular Wolverines Trio swings hard in Hell's Kitchen--Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal or Keith Boyles, and Jendeen Forberg, one of the region's longest-running ensembles. Over at the Marsh, Maud Hixson sings the night away with Phil Aaron on keys. Similar activity at the Minneapolis Woman's Club, for First Wednesday it's Connie Evingson in the lounge with Mary Louise Knutson and Dave Karr.

Lila Ammons
Thursday, April 7. Savvy vocalist Lila Ammons brings her Quad (Phil Aaron, Tom Lewis and Jay Epstein) to Jazz Central, while the edgy Fall of the House of Usher turns up the improv heat at the Black Dog. And there's lots of trumpet at Vieux Carré tonight, with a double-header featuring the Gerard Ahlgren Group and Hayden Fihn Quartet.

More Jazz!
See the full Lead Sheet at Live jazz calendar is posted on the KBEM website, and you can see more about jazz events at  Tune into the live edition of The Lead Sheet on KBEM, Jazz 88.5, every Thursday at 4:40 pm, rebroadcast on Fridays at 8:20 am. Next week, my guest will be vocalist and educator Pippi Ardennia who heads the PipJazz Foundation, talking about her educational efforts and upcoming show at the Bedlam (April 8). Artists, get your gig on the KBEM live jazz calendar -- send your information to Kevin Barnes at

Coming Soon!
. April 8, Dave Graf at Jazz Central
. April 8, Kronick Quintet at Golden's Deli
. April 8, Dakota Combo/NuSkein Ensemble, "Friday Night Jazz" at Studio Z
. April 8, PipJazz and the VIP Sound Collective  (Pippi Ardennia, Jo Schad) at The Bedlam
. April 8, Ginger Commodore Quartet at Vieux Carre'
. April 8-10, Arne Fogel and Jennifer Eckes, "Days of Wine and Roses", Bloomington Black Box Theater
. 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 12, Dean Magraw and Butch Thompson at Vieux Carre'
. April 15, Atlantis Quartet at Walker West Music Academy
. April 15, Ancia Quartet/Rare Medium at Jazz Central
. 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, "Superstitious Thriller"--Tribute to Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson at the Capri Theater 
. April 23, Adam Meckler Quintet CD Release at Vieux Carre'
. April 24, Minnesota Jazz Legends, hosted by Patty Peterson, at the Minnesota Historical Society
. 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, Sam Miltich and Tim Kliphuis at the Dakota (note date change!)
. May 3, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 4, Abdullah Ibrahim at the Dakota
. May 5, Golden Circle Trio, Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. May 11, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota (note date change!)
. 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 (Delfeayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Joey Alexander, Russell Malone, John Pizzarelli, Michael Franti & Spearhead)
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Vijay Iyer Trio, Miguel Zenon, Poncho Sanchez, Allison Miller, David Berkman, Marquis Hill, Edmer Casteneda, Akiko Tsuruga, Phil Hey Quartet)

Andres Prado and Mississippi, coming to the Dunsmore Room on April 12