Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 15-21

Lizz Wright
© Andrea Canter

Some times it seems "special" events come in clusters. This weekend is one such merger. Tough choices but I'd rather have such dilemmas rather than a dearth of possibilities.

Gigs This Week
Friday, April 15. About three years ago, KBEM radio sponsored an unusual performance melding jazz and Native American flutes and drums, paying homage to the cultural heritage of such well known jazz figures as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Pettiford and more. The program was led by jazz and Native American flute specialist Bobb Fantauzzo, who teamed up with Native American vocalist/percussionist Lyz Jaakola and members of Fantauzzo's JazZen trio. Back again in Sundin Hall at Hamline University with the support of a state arts board grant to KBEM, Fantauzzo and Jaakola take another look at "Weaving of Traditions," this time in the company of local jazz artists Anthony Cox, Mac Santiago, Javi Santiago and special guest, Irv Williams. 
Bobb Fantauzzo

Atlantis Quartet
Walker West Music Academy is deep into its first season of monthly Eight O'Clock Jump concerts. On stage tonight will be the always-inventive Atlantis Quartet with Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig-- a group of such in-demand musicians that it is quite a challenge to get the quartet in one place at one time. Limited tickets remain-- reserve online or plan to arrive early!

Joan Hutton
Friday Night Jazz in Exile has one more gig before taking a short break and reconvening as Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie. Tonight at Jazz Central, curator Steve Kenny has a special double header, starting out with the eclectic Ancia Saxophone Quartet, followed by the equally eclectic jazz/fusion/funk amalgam known as Rare Medium.  Ancia sports four saxes from bari to soprano, with tenorman David Milne the most familiar to jazz audiences. Altoist Joan Hutton is the common denominator of the evening, performing with both bands.

Debbie Duncan
At Vieux Carré, pianist Jeremy Walker (and likely a guest) warms up the stage for a CD Pre-Release show with young vocalist Katia Cardenas and cohorts Ted Godbout, piano; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. And it's a veteran vocalist who will entertain with song and sass at Crooners Lounge, where Debbie Duncan and her quartet will be the center of attention.

Maryann Sullivan
On Friday nights, it's rare that Parma 8200 presents more than a duo or trio, but tonight, vocalist Mary Ann Sullivan brings her Corner Jazz ensemble to the lounge, with Phil Aaron on piano, Graydon Peterson on bass, and son Trevor Haining on drums. Family ties also help define the music at the Black Dog, where Donald Washington heads a trio with bassist Dick Studer and son Kevin Washington on drums. They're not related but pianist Bryan Nichols and bassist Jeffrey Bailey have a natural affinity for improvisation which they demonstrate during dinner sets at the Icehouse.

Saturday, April 16. Start your day swinging-- the Mill City Hot Club, led by guitarist Dean Harrington, entertains during brunch at Hell's Kitchen.

Ryan Nyther and Jabari Powell
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog brings in two bands as always, but this unusual doubleheader features two debuts -- the Free Range Jazz Quartet is a newly assembled group with veteran Anthony Cox mixing it up with three young guns, Jabari Powell, Ryan Nyther, and Rodney Ruckus. And the Rochester, MN-based D'Sievers Quartet, led by trombone master John Sievers, makes their Black Dog debut as the opening act. 

Charmin Michelle
Bryan Nichols is back on stage at the Icehouse, tonight with bassist Cody McKinney; Benny Weinbeck and his trio hold their weekly seance at Parma 8200, while JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske bring their weekly duo magic to the Lobby Bar at the Saint Paul Hotel. And more vocal magic at The Normandy Kitchen tonight as Charmin Michelle teams up with "Friends" Joel Shapira, Tom Lewis and Nathan Norman.

Connie Evingson
Sunday, April 17. Although she has skillfully headed projects as diverse as The Beatles, David Frishberg and Ella Fitzgerald, vocalist Connie Evingson may be best known for her albums and gigs celebrating gypsy jazz and the hot club music of Django Reinhardt and his contemporaries. With "Gypsy in My Soul," Connie returns to the hot club era with two shows at the Jungle Theater and cohorts Patrick Harison, Dean Harrington, Mark Kreitzer, Josh Granowski, and special guest Dave Karr.

Thomasina Petrus
Another vocalist particularly know for her portrayal of Billie Holiday, Thomasina Petrus makes her Dunsmore Room debut with host Dan Chouinard on this week's installment of The Birthday Club, celebrating singers and songwriters with April birthdays.

Bela Fleck and Chick Corea
Monday, April 18. Sponsored by the Dakota but taking place at the Guthrie Theater, two legends ---Chick Corea and Bela Fleck-- return to the Twin Cities for a night of sublime duos. They first paired up locally at the Dakota about two years ago, perhaps one of the first collaborations of piano and banjo, and a very memorable one at that.

JAWS--Jordan Anderson/Will Schmid Quartet
On the opposite end of the experience spectrum, the Jazz Central featured artists tonight are the young guns of JAWS -- the Jordan Anderson-Will Schmid Quartet. Recently on their first JAWS gig at the Black Dog, the quartet proved their readiness for prime time despite an average age of perhaps 20: Pianist and high school senior Jordan Anderson is heading to the U of Michigan in the fall for studies with the great Benny Green; guitarist and high school senior Will Schmid will meld music and physics at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland; their cohorts include McNally Smith student bassist Drew Stinson and drummer, Roosevelt High grad Ben Beyene.

Cory Healey
JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band, hot off their St Paul CD release of Beautiful Sunshine, and ready for more, with drummer Healey joined by Jake Baldwin, Brandon Wozniak, Zacc Harris, and Erik Fratzke.

Irv Williams
Tuesday, April 19. Tonight is a special debut at the Dunsmore Room as 96-year-old Irv Williams brings his still-soulful tenor sax to the stage with Dave Graf, Phil Aaron, and Gordy Johnson on the Tuesday Night Instrumental jazz series.

At the Dakota, a singer hard to classify but so easy to listen to, the soulful Lizz Wright returns with music from her latest recording, Freedom and Surrender.

Steven Hobert
At Vieux Carré, wide-ranging pianist/composer Steven Hobert opens the evening, followed by the swinging Mill City Hot Club, while more explosive swing is in the offing at Jazz Central, with the Explosion Big Band led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster.

Bill Stewart
Wednesday, April 20. The Dakota hosts a star-studded organ trio featuring Larry Goldings on organ, Peter Bernstein on guitar and Bill Stewart on drums. Each is an accomplished performer, composer and bandleader in his own right; together they are likely to leave scorch marks on the club stage and singe anyone in the first rows.

Nathan Hanson
Jazz Central's improv night brings together two generations and four inventive minds as saxophonist Nathan Hanson leads a quartet with young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin and veterans Erik Fratzke (bass) and Davu Seru (percussion) playing music from Carla Bley, Jamaladeen Tacuma and original as well as spontaneously composed works.

Judi Vinar
In the Dunsmore Room, jazz diva Judi Vinar salutes her favorite "Swinger Songwriters" with the always swinging Wolverines Trio. Expect tunes by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Mel Torme, Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr., and Sarah Vaughan.

Andrew Walesch
Thursday, April 21. At Crooners in the lounge, singer/pianist Andrew Walesch reprises his salute to Frank Sinatra wit his ten-piece big band, while at Jazz Central, the focus is south of the border as vocalist Karen Page (Bossa Jazz) and pianist Karen Pieper cover bossas from Jobim to Mendes as well as original tunes.

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 is Arne Fogel, talking not about his own vocal jazz but about the new CD from former Minnesota resident Nancy Harms (Ellington at Night), just released at Dizzy's in New York and set for the Minnesota release in the Dunsmore Room on April 25; Arne served as co-producer. Artists, get your gig on the KBEM live jazz calendar -- send your information to Kevin Barnes at

Coming Soon!
. April 22, Kim Fragodt Trio at Parma 8200
. April 23, Steven Hobert and Issam Rafea (piano and oud) at Hosmer Library (2 pm)
. 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 History Center
. April 24, Lucia Newell and Phil Aaron, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 24, Soul Cafe' with special guest Issam Rafea (oud) at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church
. April 25, Nancy Harms with Jeremy Siskind Trio, 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, Jazz Central's International Jazz Day Festival with Brian Lynch at Pillsbury A Lofts
. 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 23, Freddy Cole at the Dakota
. 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)
. July 24, Rochester (MN) Jazz Festival

Nancy Harms, Ellington at Night MN CD Release in the Dunsmore Room, April 25