Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 22-28

Adam Meckler Quintet, CD release at Vieux Carre' on April 23

© Andrea Canter

A salute to our jazz elders highlights the weekend, while welcome visits from veteran and up-and-coming artists keep jazz in high gear all week.

Jazz This Week

Mac Santiago
Friday, April 22They call the trio at Jazz Central tonight "Father Son Pancake Breakfast,"  and there really is a father and son team-- pianist Javi Santiago and drummer, dad Mac Santiago, along with world class bassist Anthony Cox. Caterer Vanessa will be there with some dinner treats, but it's unlikely she's bringing pancakes.  And you can swing all night at Vieux Carré, with Dan Newton and his accordion starting off the evening, followed by the South Side Aces and their own brand of New Orleans music.

Debbie Duncan
The very cool duo of Bryan Nichols and Zacc Harris play for dinner hours at the Icehouse, while Debbie Duncan returns to Hell's Kitchen for a sweet and sassy evening. Ace pianist/composer Steven Hobert and Syrian oud player Issam Rafea play the first of two shows this weekend, tonight a Powderhorn house concert at 3346 17th Ave S. Minneapolis (see Steven's website for more information). At Parma 8200, a relative newcomer to local gigging, vocalist Kim Fragodt and her trio will entertain in the lounge.

Saturday, April 23. The afternoon music series at Hosmer Library in south Minneapolis brings the second opportunity to hear Steven Hobert and Issam Rafea, in a free concert.

Javi Santiago
On Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog,  Javi Santiago turns up again, this time leading an inventive trio including Dan Carpel on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums, following an opening set from keyboardist Steve Kimmel's trio with Margo Breivik on bass and Trevor Haining on drums. 

Adam Meckler
At Vieux Carre', there's a rare prime time double header. Jack Lion is a trio from my home town of Iowa City, with keyboards, bass, percussion and electronics coming together in an opening set before they turn it over to the Adam Meckler Quintet's CD release. Recorded live in three venues last August, the result --Wander--is both edgy and sublime, as one would expect of Meckler's original compositions and arrangements.

JazzMN Orchestra
It's the season finale for the JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Auditorium, where they're putting their guests "Slide by Slide"-- that's two trombones who top the LA jazz scene, Andy Martin and Bob McChesney. Andy and Bob will play with the big band throughout the program, and vocalist Charmin Michelle joins in on a couple of tunes. 

JoAnn Funk
JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske have another month of Saturdays in the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel before their summer break, and the Benny Weinbeck Trio continues its Saturdays in the lounge at Parma 8200. In Osseo, the funky jazz of the Kronick Quintet rocks the house at the NOLA Bistro.

Jay Young
Saturday-Sunday, April 23-24. At the Capri Theater, get reacquainted with the music of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder as interpreted by bassist Jay Young and The Lyric Factory, with Ian Young, Scott Fultz, Kevin Washington, Eric Gravatt, Ernest Bisong, and vocalists Yolande Bruce, Heather McElrather and Linda Sloan. They perform two shows of "Superstitious Thriller".

Legend, Dave Karr
Sunday, April 24. Patty and the Buttons continue their weekly swing brunch at the Aster. And this afternoon, celebrate some local jazz history with some of the legendary elders of the Twin Cities jazz scene, in a show sponsored by KBEM and hosted by Patty Peterson at the Minnesota History Center theater. Elders in the spotlight include saxman Dave Karr, jazz and gospel vocalist Tom Tipton, bassist Clyde Anderson, pianist and singer Nancy Lovegren Lewandoski, and drummer Dick Bortolussi. And If you can't hear it live, a segment will be recorded for later broadcast, and include elders Herb Pilhofer and Jimmy Hamilton.

Lucia Newell
Sunday evening, legends in the making --vocalist Lucia Newell and pianist Phil Aaron are "in the crook" of the piano in the Dunsmore Room, with music covering some originals, some Brazilian, and perhaps some surprises. Off Loring Park in the Hennepin Ave Methodist Church, Soul Cafe welcomes Syrian oud master Issam Rafea, who joins the core trio of Steve Blons, Brad Holden and Steven Hobert. The music and poetry will address the theme, "Body and Soul" (so we can guess at least one tune on the setlist).

Another event in Lowertown, the weekly installment of Solomon's Sessions at the Bedlam, led by trumpeter Solomon Parham. But this one is special--it's also a celebration of Solomon's graduation after completing his Master's Degree program at McNally Smith!

Monday, April 25. The cliché "small town girl makes good" could not be more apt in describing New York-based vocalist and former Twin Citian, Nancy Harms. The Big Apple is a long way from Nancy's home town of Clara City, MN, and Nancy has come a long way since her first gigs on our jazz scene. Her third recording, Ellington at Night, grew out of a handful of shows starting in New York's Metropolitan Room with her frequent piano partner, Jeremy Siskind, with production shared with mentor Arne Fogel. After releasing the CD to a sold-out crowd at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, she has been on tour, working her way to tonight's Minnesota release party at the Dunsmore Room with Siskind and local pals Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein. First show is sold out  but tickets remain (at the moment) for the 9 pm show. Yes, you have heard plenty of Ellington, but no, you probably have not heard some of the obscure tunes on this recording, and Nancy's approach is fresh and original.

A drummer as well as social activist on the New York scene now based in the Twin Cities, Vinson Valega makes his Jazz Central debut tonight, followed by the usual Monday Night Jam -- everyone welcome.

JT Bates
City Pages just named drummer JT Bates as the area's "Jazz Artist of the Year," in no small way due to his curatorial talents in running the Jazz Implosion series for the past two decades, first at the Clown Lounge and over recent years at the Icehouse. Tonight, he teams up with guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker for an opening set before bringing on Lars-Erik Larson's Mancrush, unofficially the Minneapolis release of their Authentic Midwestern.

Manhattan Transfer
Monday-Tuesday, April 25-26. The Dakota welcomes back the prototype jazz vocal ensemble, the Manhattan Transfer. This will be the band's first visit with Trist Curliss, and without founder Tim Hauser, who passed away in 2014.  

John Raymond
Tuesday, April 26. New York-based trumpeter John Raymond is back in town to play with local pals in the Dunsmore Room; Bryan Nichols is on piano, JT Bates on drums. (John turns up again on Thursday -- see below.)

Arne Fogel
Wednesday, April 27. The Crooner at Crooners! Arne Fogel sings with his trio in the lounge at Crooners. At Vieux Carré, it's time for New Shoes -- former members of Prairie Home Companion's "Guy's All-Star Shoe Band," Richard Kriehn (fiddle and mandolin), Gary Raynor (bass), Joe Savage (pedal steel guitar) and Peter Johnson (drums).

Jeremy Walker
Thursday, April 28. The second season of Jeremy Walker's Jazz in the Target Atrium closes at Orchestra Hall with "Wild Midwest," new compositions by Jeremy and Bryan Nichols performed by various configurations of the Atrium Jazz Ensemble, with Jeremy and Bryan joined by John Raymond on trumpet, Chris Thomson and Brandon Wozniak on saxes, Jeff Bailey on bass and JT Bates on drums.

More Jazz!
The Twin Cities 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. This is Jazz Appreciation Month and April 30th is International Jazz Day. My guest next week on The Lead Sheet is Mac Santiago, talking about the Jazz Central Jazz Day celebration and fundraiser, which will feature four bands, with guest trumpeter Brian Lynch performing with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra. Artists, get your gig on the KBEM live jazz calendar -- send your information to Kevin Barnes at

Special Note to Twin Cities Jazz Musicians
Remember the photo hanging at the Artists Quarter, a local version of the famed A Great Day in Harlem photo of New York jazz musicians? It's been about 25 years! The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is organizing a new photo shoot to capture the diversity of the local jazz scene in 2016, to be made into a poster for sale to raise funds for the festival. All professional Twin Cities jazz musicians--any age, any instrument, vocalists included--are invited to be part of this photo. Just show up at 12:30 pm on Sunday, May 22, in the auditorium at McNally Smith College of Music! Questions can be directed to me at

Coming Soon!
. April 29, Guitar Night with Julian Lage Trio at the Dakota
. April 30, Jazz Central's International Jazz Day Festival with Brian Lynch at Pillsbury A Lofts
. April 30, How Birds Work/The Growlers, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. May 2, Sam Miltich and Tim Kliphuis at the Dakota (note date change!)
. 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 10, Stu Katz and Friends in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 11, Bill Charlap Trio at the Dakota (note date change!)
. May 17, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 19, Fall of the House of Usher/Halcyon Daze, Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie
. May 22, "Great Day in St Paul" -- photo for all local jazz artists at McNally Smith
. May 22, Dakota Combo Alumni Band, Spring Concert, and fundraiser for Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education at Vieux Carre'
. May 22, Maud Hixson with Dan Chouinard, The Birthday Club, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 23, Freddy Cole at the Dakota
. May 24-25, Bobby Lyle with Billy Peterson, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 26, Lucia Sarmiento Group, Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie
. May 29, Arne Fogel with Dan Chouinard, The Birthday Club, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. May 31, Dave Karr Quartet, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. June 2, Javi Santiago Group, Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie
. 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)
. July 5, Chick Corea, Christian McBride and Brian Blade at the Dakota
. July 24, Rochester (MN) Jazz Festival

Celebrate International Jazz Day with Brian Lynch, Jazz Central Jazz Fest at A-Mill, April 30