Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 29- February 4


© Andrea Canter

Cyrus Chestnut headlines the Winter Jazz Festival on January 31

Leave it to Minnesotans to find ways to celebrate winter, be it with ice sculptures, plunges into frozen lakes, or... jazz, of course. This weekend brings two jazz festivals, the annual event at Century College (this year boasting guest artist Randy Brecker) and the more intermittent bash, the Winter Jazz Festival sponsored by the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, held at the Saint Paul Hotel with the Cyrus Chestnut Trio in the headliner slot. And away from the festivals, there's the usual dose of great music throughout the metro, from local heroes like Dave Karr and Kenny Horst at the Black Dog to living legends Charles Lloyd and Bill Frisell, sharing the stage at the Dakota.

Big Gigs This Week

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson
Friday, January 29. Maud Hixson has been performing more out of town than locally lately, but she's singing away the blues, the chills or whatever else ails you at Parma 8200 tonight, with her most able sidekicks, Rick Carlson on keys and Gordy Johnson on bass.


Joe Mayo
A double sax quartet dubbed Really Big Shoe debuts at Jazz Central, as Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl take the "stage" with Ted Olsen on bass and Lars-Erik Larson on drums, playing mostly original music. Following their show, it's North Central University's "Collegiate Night," directed by Bobby Peterson protegé Peter Shu, with several sets ending with an open jam.


Dave Brattain
At The Nicollet (soon to be Reverie), Friday Night Jazz brings in da-ke-broo-da, that weirdly named quartet featuring some well-seasoned post-boppers -- Dave Brattain on sax, Kevin Daley on guitar, Bruce Heine on bass and Dave Stanoch on drums.


Peter Kogan
At Vieux Carré, Jeremy Walker opens the evening with solo piano, followed by Peter Kogan's Monsterful Wonderband, a septet of area titans under the leadership of the Minnesota Orchestra's retired principal timpanist who released Some Monsterful Wonderthing last year. The band includes Pete Whitman, Adam Meckler and Scott Agster on horns, with a rhythm section of Sean Turner, Chris Olsen, Jeff Bailey and of course Kogan.


One-man band Patrick Harison entertains over the dinner hours at the Icehouse; Irv Williams is back at the Dakota for Happy Hour; and Todd Harper's Piano Friday at the Black Dog features the piano/drum/bass trio with Eric Coursen and Keith Yanes.


Saturday, January 30. Kate Lynch and her Most Excellent Fellows take the lounge stage at Crooners. Bassist/vocalist Kate elevates the songs of the 30s and 40s, and her Fellows include Chris Beaty on guitar, Ken Chastain on drums and vocals, Greg Lewis on trumpet and flute, and Micheal Nelson on trombone.


Dave Karr
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog presents a sterling double-header from some of the youngest to one of the oldest of our jazz artists. The 7 pm set features the Next-Tet, and you might see some familiar faces among these teens -- Jordan Anderson (piano), Alma Engebretson (bass) and Will Schmid (guitar) have appeared in other configurations at the Black Dog, Nicollet and Jazz Central in recent months, and drummer Luke Westermeyer has been building his reputation at Wayzata High School and beyond. Moving to the other end of the experience spectrum, the 8:30 show brings in the Dave Karr Group, with Steve Kenny, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.


Jana Nyberg Group
At Vieux Carré, the Jana Nyberg Group makes prime time fun, as the popular vocalist brings along pals Adam Meckler on trumpet, Thomas Nordlund on guitar, Matt Peterosn on bass, and Andres Crovetti on drums. Says Jana, "some righteous tunes in a super hip club!"


Benny Goodman is long gone but as long as Julian Bliss is around (and he's still in his 20s), the King of Swing won't be forgotten. The classically trained (and employed) clarinetist, who has been fascinated by Goodman since early childhood, brings his renowned septet to Orchestra Hall.


Randy Brecker
Saturday-Sunday, January 30-31. The annual Century College Jazz Festival returns for its 27th year this weekend with guest artist, trumpeter Randy Brecker. After the collegiate ensembles and adjudications, Saturday evening features Charmin and Shapira and Friends (Tom Lewis and Nathan Norman), followed by the Century College Jazz Ensemble with Brecker; the concert repeats on Sunday afternoon.


Cyrus Chestnut
Sunday, January 31.  The biggest jazz day of the winter season! The Winter Jazz Fest kicks off at noon with a clinic aimed at middle and high school students (free!) at McNally Smith, featuring festival headliner and dazzling pianist Cyrus Chestnut. The festival launches in full force at 2 pm at the Saint Paul Hotel, with music throughout the afternoon and early evening on three stages plus the Lobby Bar. Unlike the summer festival, this is a ticketed event with proceeds going to support the summer festival as well as the new Leigh Kamman Legacy Project. Top local jazzers are featured-- Acme Jazz Company, Patty Peterson with Dave Karr, Debbie Duncan with the Jazz Central All-Stars, the eclectic Ancia Saxophone Quartet, dueling trumpets from Solomon Parham and Steve Kenny, Lobby Bar stalwarts, the JoAnn Funk Trio, and the stars of tomorrow, the Dakota Combo and the Will Schmid/Adam Astrup Guitar Duo. The festival ends with the much-anticipated headliner set, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio with bassist Gerald Cannon (McCoy Tyner) and drummer and Twin Cities Jazz Festival Artistic Director, Francisco Mela (McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano). The Lobby Bar also hosts a special (and sold-out) "afternoon tea" sponsored by the St. Paul Winter Carnival with long-running "tea" pianist Chris Lomheim.  Tickets online ($30) or at the door ($35), and a special student ticket ($10) is available.


Bryan Nichols
Vieux Carré hosts an "after party," with the festive talents of the Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates. Only two blocks away from the Saint Paul Hotel, this one seems like a no-brainer for festival patrons.


Dan Chouinard
If you're festivaled-out by early evening, consider a short ride north to the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge where Dan Chouinard hosts another installment of The Birthday Club-- featuring music from artists celebrating January birthdays  and the vocal talents of our local jazz community. Tonight, Dan welcomes Debbie Duncan as his partner for the evening; Debbie should be warmed up following her appearance at the Winter Jazz Fest. Shows in the Dunsmore Room have been running near full, so be sure to reserve ahead.



At the Dakota, Ginger Commodore and assorted friends -- e.g., Yolande Bruce, Tonia Hughes-Kendrick, Ash Smash and Dennis Spears, will pay tribute to the late Natalie Cole, backed by the best--Brian Ziemniak, Deevo Dee, Jay Young and Daryl Boudreaux.


And if you're in the vicinity of Mankato tonight, hear Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson perform some "classic jazz" at Halling Recital Hall on the Minnesota State-Mankato campus.


Andrew Schwandt

Monday, February 1. Saxophonist Andrew Schwandt takes the spotlight at Jazz Central, while the Acme Jazz Company fills the lounge at Crooners.  Tommy and the Lieberman entertain at The Dakota,  and the antics of JT's Jazz Implosion will bring the night owls in from the cold at the Icehouse-- this week featuring the Regional Jazz Trio, a rather benign name for an incendiary threesome of Bates, Anthony Cox and Michael Lewis.


  Tuesday, February 2. It's always an uplifting show when Charles Lloyd is in town, and for one night, he's sharing the Dakota stage with another jazz icon, guitarist Bill Frisell. Their cohorts are just a generation away from similar stature-- Lloyd's recent ensemble pals, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. Both Lloyd and Frisell bring a folkloric, globally inspired meditation quality to their compositions and approach to melody and harmony, ensuring their collaboration will be thoughtful and inspiring.


X-Tet
They won't fit in the Dunsmore Room, so the Pete Whitman X-Tet will take over the lounge at Crooners for the Tuesday Instrumental Jazz Night. Instead of nearly ten feet of piano, they have ten artists of the highest caliber filling the space with original tunes and arrangements of post-bop masters.



 First Tuesday regulars-- the Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central, and Dean Magraw/Davu Seru at the Black Dog. And at Vieux Carré, Chris Lomheim offers a solo piano intro to the evening, followed by the "jazz band for people who don't like jazz," Fuzzy Math.


Thomas Bruce
Wednesday, February 3. In the lounge at Crooners, a modern day "crooner" Thomas Bruce takes the stage, putting his own spin on standards and ballads. In another lounge, First Wednesday means Connie Evingson and friends at the Minneapolis Woman's Club for "Jazz in the Lounge," this month featuring Sanford Moore and Dave Karr.


JoAnn Funk
On "loan" from the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, singer/pianist JoAnn Funk brings her trio (Jeff Brueske, Nathan Norman) to the Dakota for a night of Blossom Dearie, Diana Krall, and more.


Thursday, February 4. Out west in Delano, a new venue, Bonde Bistro, features the veteran Pete Snell Trio, with Pete on sax, Lee Blaske on piano and Jim Chenoweth on bass.


On Thursday Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central, eclectic pianist Steven Hobert performs with Twin Cities Cabaret Artist Network member, vocalist Joey Babay, for an evening of stories in song.


Avant garde music series at Khyber Pass continues tonight with the off-the-edge sax-bass-drum trio of Nathan Hanson, James Buckley and George Marich.


More Jazz!

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive jazz calendars can be found at Jazz Police and KBEM, with more listings at Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts. 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 February 4 will be jazz hound Larry Englund, talking about the local jazz scene-- favorite venues and where to learn about local events. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g. tc@jazzpolice.com).


Coming Soon!
John Scofield/Joe Lovano Quartet, coming to the Dakota February 8-9
. February 5, Steven Hobert-Yohannes Tona Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (aka The Nicollet)
. February 5, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at Jazz Central
. February 5, Thomas Bruce at Parma 8200
. February 5-6, Keys Please! (Carei Thomas, Todd Harper, Paul Cantrell with Heather Barringer) at Studio Z
. February 6, Dean Sorenson Sextet, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 7, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Dane Stauffer, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 7, New Ruckus Composers Night at Studio Z
. February 8-9, John Scofield and Joe Lovano at the Dakota
. February 8-9, Mardi Gras Party with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Vieux Carré
. February 9, Mardi Gras Night at Crooners Lounge with Reuben Ristrom, Steve Pikal and friends
. February 10, Chris Bates with Ted Olsen and Matt Buckner at Jazz Central
. February 11, Mack Avenue Super Band at the Dakota
. February 11, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Vieux Carré
. February 12, Judi Vinar and the Wolverines at Crooners Lounge
. February 12, No Room for Squares, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 12-14, "Night of Wonder": Tribute to Stevie Wonder, Ginger Commodore and friends at Chanhassen Dinner Theater
. February 13, Debbie Duncan and Dennis Spears at the Dakota
. February 13-14, Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson, "Crosby-Clooney Story" at the Capri Theater
. February 13, Carnival Brasileros at International Market Square
. February 14, Charles Lazarus at Orchestra Hall
. February 14, Badi Assad, Valentine's Day Dinner/Cocktail shows at the Dakota
. February 14, Debbie Duncan, "Songs in the Key of Love" Valentine's Day show in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, followed by Debbie in the Lounge
. February 14, Jazz at the Jungle, Connie Evingson with Jon Weber, Gordy Johnson and Dave Karr at the Jungle Theater (2 shows)
. February 15, Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 with Maryann Sullivan at Crooners Lounge
. February 16, Bill Carrothers, solo piano in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 16-17, Davell Crawford Tribute to Allen Toussaint (Encore) at the Dakota
. February 18, Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, Bruce Henry at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, Graydon Peterson Quartet at Jazz Central
. February 19, JazzINK Youth Showcase, Paul Harper's Bardo Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 20, Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at Jazz @ St Barneys
. February 20, Bill Frisell "When You Wish Upon a Star" ensemble at the Dakota
. February 21, St. Olaf College Jazz Ensemble, fundraiser for Cuba tour at Crooners Lounge
. February 21, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Gwen Matthews, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 22, Dave Karr at Jazz Central
. February 22, Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn at the Icehouse
February 23, Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 23, Connie Evingson at Vieux Carré
. February 24, Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. February 25, Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa at Walker Art Center
. February 25, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. February 25, Jazz in the Target Atrium, Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols at Orchestra Hall
. February 26, Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge
. February 26, Davu Seru Group, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 26, Jay Young and the Lyric Factory at Vieux Carre'
. February 26, Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble with Bria Skonberg, Foss Center, Augsburg College
. February 27, Shifting Paradigm's Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z
. February 28, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Judi Vinar, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 29, "In the Crook," Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears, Dunsmore Room at Crooner's Lounge
. March 2-3, Brian Blade Fellowship at the Dakota
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 5, Larry McDonough Quartet, Jazz @St Barneys (St Barnabas Church)
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 19, Zakir Hussain at Pantages Theater
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margo, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 10-11, David Sanborn at the Dakota
. April 18, Chick Corea and Bela Fleck at the Guthrie Theater
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

The Lead Sheet Live -- KBEM 88.5 FM, Thursdays at 4:40 pm, Fridays at 8:20 am


Thursday, January 21, 2016

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



© Andrea Canter
 
This week: John Raymond CD release at Vieux Carre'; Dave Karr Quartet in the Dunsmore Room
 A favorite son returns to celebrate what is arguably his best recording yet; another hometown hero celebrates a pretty big birthday with family and friends; a high-profile trio and a should-be high profile trio both play rare home gigs; one of our star composers brings a major work to Orchestra Hall; and three hot shows in a row fill the Dunsmore Room. Just a normal jazzy weekend in the Twin Cities!

Big Gigs This Week
Happy Apple
Friday, January 22. It's a too-rare event these days when Happy Apple performs in home territory. Back from multiple appearances at the New York Winter Jazz Fest, Dave King and pals Mike Lewis and Erik Fratzke take the late night stage at the Icehouse; Tim Sparks and James Buckley offer a more sublime view of the music world earlier in the evening during the dinner hours.

Nick Symans
Younger talents prevail elsewhere tonight: Trombonist Nick Symans brings a quartet of like-minded spirits to the "Masters" sets at Jazz Central --with Ted Godbout on piano, Ted Olsen on bass and Pete James Johnson on drums. The "Young Masters" late set features guitarist Julian Manzara heading a quartet with Levi Schwartzberg on vibes, Drew Stinson on bass and Blake Huebl on drums. 

Will Schmid
At Reverie--the rebranded Nicollet, Friday Night Jazz (at Reverie) opens with the JazzINK Youth Showcase, tonight presenting dazzling teen guitar duo of Will Schmid and Adam Astrup, followed by the latest iteration of President Flow-- Joe Mayo (sax), Josh Granowski (bass) and Rick Nair (drums), along with "surprise guests."

There's more guitar, with Ben Abrahamson and bass cohort Andrew Foreman on the early sets at Vieux Carré, followed by the NOLA-infused sounds of the Southside Aces. Crooners Lounge hosts the always-cool and often-sassy Debbie Duncan and her quartet, performing a tribute to the late Natalie Cole, while Headspace, the former Monday night staple at the old Artists Quarter, takes the stage at the SW Crafthouse (formerly Senor Wong's).
Debbie Duncan

Friday and Saturday, January 22-23. Pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk, usually with Jeff Brueske on bass, continues the winter edition of Jazz in the Lobby Bar at the Saint Paul Hotel.

Saturday, January 23. Surrounded by one of the best arrays of ethnic treats in the metro, Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira give us a midday respite (voice and guitar, standards and samba) at Midtown Global Market. And it's the annual Winter Jazz Blast at McNally Smith College, lots of action for student musicians and an evening public concert featuring the JazzMN Orchestra and guest clinician Kenni Holmen, along with the McNally Smith Fusion Ensemble and Serbian Ensemble in the History Theater.

Dave Hagedorn
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog features students of St. Olaf jazz professor Dave Hagedorn in the opening set, followed by the Good Vibes Trio, led by Chris Bates (bass) with Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums. GVT doesn't hit the stage very often these days, but what a treat to the ears when they do -- a chordless "Modern Jazz Quartet" with emphasis on "modern" yet always accessible.  


John Raymond
In the heart of downtown St. Paul, Vieux Carré hosts the local CD release party for Twin Cities native, John Raymond, and his Real Feels trio. Dubbed the Roots Trio when they first toured and recorded the album at Terrarium Studios in Minneapolis, the band includes rising stars on the national scene, Gilad Hekselman on guitar and Colin Stranahan on drums, and of course leader John Raymond exclusively on flugelhorn. The Real Feels album is a magical set of arrangements of music that covers Americana, pop, bebop and more.

Jeremy Walker
Another debut tonight: Jeremy Walker brings his 7 Psalms project to Orchestra Hall. Having performed this full-length work for jazz ensemble and choir twice at Bethel College (including the CD release), Jeremy collaborates with the new American Public Media Radio Choir, conducted by Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, and featuring vocal soloist Jason Harms; Walker appears on piano with jazzers Brandon Wozniak, Jeff Brueske and Tim Zhorne.

Doug Little
In the category of great bands that seldom play these days, saxophonist/flautist Doug Little brings his Seven Steps to Havana to the Dakota tonight, highlighting the rhythms of Cuba with an ensemble of globally-charged musicians--natives of the U.S., Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and Ethiopia.

Billy Peterson
At the Icehouse, Tim Sparks and James Buckley again provide the dinner sets, while later, popular bassist Billy Peterson is back in town, just in time to celebrate his 65th birthday with family and friends, and introducing Minnesota to the charms and talents of Iceland's vocalist Anna Mjöll.

Solomon Parham

Sunday, January 24. 
If you missed John Raymond's CD release last night, you can get a feel for Real Feels as well as learn something at his open Master Class at MacPhail Center for Music this afternoon! At the Bedlam, the now-weekly Solomon's Sessions brings trumpeter Solomon Parham to the stage to lead an open jam/improv session, often with a crew of students from McNally Smith.

Patty Peterson
On the first of three consecutive nights of music in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, it's another installment of the Birthday Club, led by pianist Dan Chouinard, and tonight featuring vocalist nonpareil Patty Peterson, singing songs from singers and composers with January birthdays! So often heard in larger ensembles, this is a rare opportunity to hear Patty in such an intimate setting where both piano and voice will shine.

Jerry O'Hagen has retired, but his dance band carries on, now under the leadership of Charmin Michelle and Mike Haynes, still most Sundays at Cinema Ballroom. Some room for spectators but this venue is one big dance floor and orchestra stage! The swing era comes to life - bring your dancing shoes.

Rachel Holder
Monday, January 25. "In the Crook" is a new monthly series in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners, putting one of our talented local singers "in the crook" of the Bösendorfer with such talented pianists as Rick Carlson. Tonight Rick supports Rachel Holder, one of the area's accomplished and most versatile vocalists. Rachel has performed with The Girls, The Wolverines, The George Maurer Group, Vital Organ, Reception Jazz, The Modd Squad, and Bruce Henry Band, and teaches at McNally Smith.


Thomas Strommen
In the spotlight at Jazz Central, yet another of the area's Young Lions -- saxophonist Thomas Strommen. Still engaged in college studies (at the U of M), Thomas is a veteran performer, playing with the Dakota Combo during his senior year of high school, leading the quartet Dark Blue for several years, and on the front line with Steve Kenny's Group 47 since its inception.

Thomas Nordlund
At the Icehouse, a double-header for JT's Jazz Implosion starts with a heady trio of JT (drums), Anthony Cox (bass) and Paul Metzger (guitar and banjos), followed by the CD release for baritone guitarist Thomas Nordlund, and his young lions' ensemble (Ben Abrahamson on guitars, Jake Baldwin on trumpet, Kevin Gastonguay on keys, Andrew Foreman on bass and Lars-Erik Larson on drums. They will be playing the new album, Divide Avenue, front to back.

Dave Karr
Tuesday, January 26. And the third consecutive night in the Dunsmore Room, the Tuesday Instrumental Jazz series presents beloved octogenarian reed man Dave Karr and his quartet--Phil Aaron on piano, Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums. Karr seldom takes the spotlight, but anytime he is on stage, the spotlight just naturally falls on Dave, one of the primo purveyors of bebop (and beyond) in the metro.

At Jazz Central, it's big band night, with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra taking their turn on the fourth Tuesday, under the batons of leaders Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago.

Vieux Carré brings back two favorites, Chris Lomheim on solo piano for the early sets, followed by vocalist Connie Evingson's "Hot Jazz" sets.

Dean Magraw
Wednesday, January 27. One of the most distinctive pairs in metro jazz, as well as one of the most eclectic, pianist Butch Thompson and guitarist Dean Magraw will fill the room at Vieux Carré. And in their own salute to New Orleans, drummer JT Bates and pals Joel Schaan (guitar and vocals), Jim Anton (bass) and Kevin Gastonguay (organ) rock the stage at the Icehouse. The promo suggests we might hear JT sing a few as well!

Jake Baldwin
It's Wednesday so that means "new music" night at Jazz Central, which tonight features a new trio headed by trumpet king Jake Baldwin, with Ted Olsen on bass and Matt Buckner on drums.

Wednesday-Thursday, January 27-28. A special Winter Carnival edition of Jazz in the Lobby Bar brings JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske to the Saint Paul Hotel for some midweek hipness.

Joel Shapira
Thursday, January 28. The masterful Joel Shapira plays solo guitar for the early evening sets at Vieux Carré, while talented young singer Katia Cardenas takes the stage for Jazz Vocal Night at Jazz Central, and pianist Benny Weinbeck serenades in the lounge at Parma 8200.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities. The most comprehensive jazz calendars can be found at Jazz Police and KBEM, with more listings at Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You. KBEM and KFAI radio host jazz programs regularly and provide daily notices of jazz gigs and concerts. The live edition of The Lead Sheet can be heard at 4:40 pm on Thursdays on KBEM, rebroadcast at 7:20 am on Fridays, and recent broadcasts archived at KBEM on Demand. Special guest on January 28 will be Steve Heckler, Executive Director of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, who will join me to talk about the highlights of the Winter Jazz Festival, coming to the Saint Paul Hotel on January 31. Venues and artists are reminded to send information to online and print calendars (e.g. tc@jazzpolice.com).

Coming Soon!
Cyrus Chestnut headlines Winter Jazz Fest, January 31

. January 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. January 29, Peter Kogan's Monsterful Wonderband at Vieux Carré
. January 29, da-ke-broo-da, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (aka The Nicollet)
. January 30, Jana Nyberg Group at Vieux Carré
. January 30, Nextet/Dave Karr Group, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. January 30-31, Century College Jazz Festival featuring Randy Brecker
. January 31, Winter Jazz Festival at the Saint Paul Hotel, featuring the Cyrus Chestnut Trio
. January 31, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, Halling Recital Hall, Mankato State University
. January 31, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Debbie Duncan, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 31, Ginger Commodore Tribute to Natalie Cole at the Dakota
. January 31, Bryan Nichols Trio, Winter Jazz Fest celebration at Vieux Carré
. February 1, Acme Jazz Company at Crooners Lounge
. February 2, Charles Lloyd Trio with Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. February 3, Thomas Bruce at Crooners Lounge
. February 3, JoAnn Funk Trio at the Dakota
. February 4, Pete Snell Trio at Bonde Bistro (Delano)
. February 5, Steven Hobert-Yohannes Tona Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie (aka The Nicollet)
. February 5-6, Keys Please! (Carei Thomas, Todd Harper, Paul Cantrell with Heather Barringer) at Studio Z
. February 6, Dean Sorenson Sextet, Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog
. February 7, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Diane Stauffer, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 7, New Ruckus Composers Night at Studio Z
. February 8-9, John Scofield and Joe Lovano at the Dakota
. February 8-9, Mardi Gras Party with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Vieux Carré
. February 11, Mack Avenue Super Band at the Dakota
. February 11, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Vieux Carré
. February 12, Judi Vinar and the Wolverines at Crooners Lounge
. February 12, No Room for Squares, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 12-14, Night of Wonder: Tribute to Stevie Wonder, Ginger Commodore and friends at Chanhassen Dinner Theater
. February 13, Debbie Duncan and Dennis Spears at the Dakota
. February 13-14, Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson, "Crosby-Clooney Story" at the Capri Theater
. February 14, Charles Lazarus at Orchestra Hall
. February 14, Badi Assad, Valentine's Day Dinner/Cocktail shows at the Dakota
. February 14, Andrew Walesch and Debbie Duncan, Valentine's Day show in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, followed by Debbie in the Lounge
. February 14, Jazz at the Jungle, Connie Evingson with Jon Weber, Gordy Johnson and Dave Karr at the Jungle Theater (2 shows)
. February 15, Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 with Maryann Sullivan at Crooners Lounge
. February 16, Bill Carrothers, solo piano in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 16-17, Davell Crawford Tribute to Allen Toussaint (Encore) at the Dakota
. February 19, Bruce Henry at Crooners Lounge
. February 19, JazzINK Youth Showcase, Paul Harper's Bardo Quartet, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 20, Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at Jazz @ St Barneys
. February 20, Bill Frisell "When You Wish Upon a Star" ensemble at the Dakota
. February 21, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Gwen Matthews, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 22, Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn at the Icehouse
. February 23, Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 23, Connie Evingson at Vieux Carré
. February 24, Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge
. February 25, Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa at Walker Art Center
. February 25, Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota
. February 25, Jazz in the Target Atrium, Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols at Orchestra Hall
. February 26, Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge
. February 26, Davu Seru Group, Friday Night Jazz at Reverie
. February 27, Shifting Paradigm's Winter Jazz Fest at Studio Z
. February 28, Dan Chouinard's Birthday Club with Judi Vinar, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. February 29, "In the Crook," Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears, Dunsmore Room at Crooner's Lounge
. March 2-3, Brian Blade Fellowship at the Dakota
. March 5, Pete Whitman X-Tet at Hopkins Center for the Arts
. March 13, JazzMN Orchestra with Tierney Sutton at the Hopkins High School Auditorium
. March 19, Zakir Hussain at Pantages Theater
. March 23, Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margo, Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. April 3-4, SF Jazz Collective at the Dakota
. April 10-11, David Sanborn at the Dakota
. April 18, Chick Core and Bela Fleck at the Guthrie Theater
. April 19, Lizz Wright at the Dakota
. April 23, JazzMN Orchestra with Bob McChesney and Andy Martin at Hopkins High School Auditorium
. April 28, Jazz in the Target Atrium at Orchestra Hall
. May 6, Tony Bennett at the State Theater
. May 7, Steve Lehman Octet at the Walker Art Center
. June 23-25, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park
. July 1-3, Iowa City Jazz Festival

The Lead Sheet Live -- KBEM 88.5 FM, Thursdays at 4:40 pm








Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Real Feels": The Roots of Success for John Raymond



© Andrea Canter


Real Feels, Studio Z in St. Paul, September 2014


"I feel like the album captures the seed of something on its way to becoming more honest and beautiful, and I think there's a certain "magic" to that that makes it special to me." --John Raymond



“Electrifyingly new and strangely familiar at the same time…with his mix of modern sounds and old-fashioned feeling, Raymond is steering jazz in the right direction.” - Downbeat Magazine



John Raymond
Few young musicians truly find success when they spread their wings in the Big Apple. That Twin Cities native trumpeter John Raymond found plenty of work as a sideman and leader within a few years of his graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is in part testimony to his artistic talent, in part to his tenacity in marketing his music. Both have served him well on the New York scene: In addition to completing his master's degree under Jon Faddis at SUNY-Purchase, Raymond has gigged regularly with his own ensembles throughout the Manhattan club circuit and on national tours; participated in the renowned Festival of New Trumpet; received the 2015 Herb Alpert Young Composer Award; and released a well-received recording on Fresh Sound/New Talent, featuring the great drummer, Billy Hart (Foreign Territory, 2015).  

 Fortunately for Twin Cities' audiences, John returns "home" often, and on one of those visits in fall 2014, he performed at Studio Z with what he then called his Roots Trio (with guitarist Gilad Hekselman and drummer Colin Stranahan). Shortly thereafter, the trio went into Terrarium Studios in Minneapolis to lay down the tracks that became Real Feels, to be officially released in February on the Twin Cities label, Shifting Paradigm Records. Prior to the trio's New York release (Cornelia Street Cafe on February 11), they're celebrating on a mostly Midwest tour, landing in St. Paul at Vieux Carré on Saturday, January 23 (9 pm), followed by a master class at MacPhail Center for Music on January 24 (1 pm).



From "Roots" to "Real Feels"

John Raymond
Real Feels is a unique project on several levels. For the first time, John relies solely on the flugelhorn. "I’ve transitioned to only playing flugelhorn with the trio," he told Bebopified's Pamela Espeland before the Roots Trio gig in St. Paul. "I think it sounds great with guitar. That comes out of the Art Farmer/Jim Hall influence. Farmer is one of the only people who’s known for playing mainly flugelhorn. I got a new flugelhorn, and there’s something about it and just playing flugel in general that has brought out a voice in me that I didn’t have playing trumpet."



Gilad Hekselman
The trio instrumentation is unusual --just flugelhorn, guitar and drums, somewhat akin to the Paul Motian/Joe Lovano/Bill Frisell Trio. "The bass-less vibe is very unique,” says Raymond. “Gilad is one of the only people I know that function so effortlessly in a situation like this. In a sense I’ve given him all control of the harmony, comping, and different textures, and I feel that he really thrives in this setting.” An Israeli native, guitarist Gilad Hekselman has developed a stellar reputation over his first decade in New York, winning the 2005 Gibson Montreux International Guitar Competition, releasing four recordings as leader, and sharing the stage with such notables as Chris Potter, Mark Turner, John Scofield, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Jeff 'Tain' Watts and more.  Denver native Colin Stranahan was selected as a Brubeck Fellow after high school graduation and as a participant in Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead program, and in 2012 placed third in the Thelonious Monk International Drum Competition. Notes Raymond, "Colin was someone that I played a handful of sessions with before doing some gigs together. He's got such a natural feeling for the music - amazing instincts and he's always really in-the-moment. He brings a sense of unpredictability to this band - in the best kind of way."
Colin Stranahan



Also setting this album apart from many of its contemporaries is the setlist, which reflects the original trio name "Roots," connecting Americana folk (Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land", the Appalachian hymn "Amazing Grace"), traditional English balladry via modern American rock ("Scarborough Fair"), and American gospel (I'll Fly Away") to classic bebop (Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee"), pop (Lennon and McCartney's "Blackbird"), alternative rock (Thom Yorke's "Atoms for Peace) and modern jazz (Dave Holland's nod to Charles Mingus, "Blues for CM"); John provides one original track, the opening "Thaddeus." This might seem to be a step back as Raymond's first two recordings provided more original material. But, he says,  "I thought, let’s just scrap the whole originals thing. Let’s play songs that people are familiar with, whether that’s folk songs or hymns or indie rock tunes, and incorporate some standards in there, too."



And he is not concerned that much of the setlist comes from places other than jazz, noting that "the nature of the instrumentation, specifically flugelhorn and guitar, will lend a rootsy feel to things, for lack of a better word, so I’m not as concerned about squeezing the jazz out of it." And the familiarity of most of the material has allowed the musicians to make a more direct connection with the audience. “I’ve really sensed a different connection with audiences when playing this music with this band," says John. "It’s coming from such a genuine place for all of us that I think it really connects with people in a profound way. That’s precisely why I named the band Real Feels."



John Raymond and Real Feels (Shifting Paradigm Records, 2016)

Still, a "unique" project is only memorable if well executed, and here the trio shines brightly. Without piano or bass, the music has a raw edge, providing a fresh immediacy regardless of the tune's origins in medieval England, Appalachia, bebop or contemporary rock. The one original, "Thaddeus," opens the set, Raymond noting that his tribute to Thad Jones is "based on his song 'Three and One,' so it’s a contrafact." Spare with wide spaces, flugelhorn harmonizes with guitar, drawing energy from the splatter-patter of Stranahan's drums, the trio filling in spaces as they move along with some Monkish turns.



The traditional gospel hymn "I'll Fly Away" gets a funky intro from Hekselman, feeling much like a march down Bourbon Street as it generates a lot of sound for three musicians. Hekselman particularly plays multiple roles, conjuring bass, banjo and guitar all at once, while Stranahan fills dual roles as well with bass drum/snare/cymbal action, and Raymond brings the flugelhorn to the higher end of sassy brass. In a different spiritual direction, "Amazing Grace" covers two tracks, the intro track a solo improv on flugelhorn that folds into a fairly straight reading before Hekselman's long guitar solo, creating an exquisite country prayer. The flugelhorn returns with an unmistakable call to church as the guitar mimics the church organ.



On "Atoms for Peace," Hekselman appears to be using a looper to maintain what sounds like a bass vamp throughout the track, while also drawing ethereal effects from the guitar. The trio thus sounds like a quartet or quintet; Raymond's flugelhorn is elegant and haunting in the mode of modern European ensembles. Reaching back to Charlie Parker on "Donna Lee, the trio creates a sketchy, spartan feel to their conversation, particularly effective in the weaving of flugelhorn and guitar, maintaining the essence of Parker throughout their unique interpretation.



"Scarborough Fair" nods to both American folk-rock (Simon and Garfunkel) and the traditional English song, yet wrapped in a modern jazz feel. Again the pairings of lines and harmonic statements from flugelhorn and guitar, and the underlying pacing from Stranahan (especially from the toms and cymbals), yields glorious understatement. As if from the other side of the Earth, Dave Holland's "Blues for CM" is given a swampy foundation via guitar and drums, like Mingus Meets Dave Torn.



The intro to "This Land Is Your Land" doesn't give much hint of the tune. Raymond's whiney flugel, followed by agile twists from Hekselman, does not suggest "Redwood Forests"  but perhaps more "New York Island," more rush hour traffic than majestic mountain trails! But the terrain is rugged and filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and the final recall of the melody does indeed feel like home. The final track, "Blackbird" starts as a slow meander down a country lane or a float down a lazy stream. Graced by Stranahan's fluttery brushes and cymbals, it's sweeter, more nostaligic, than the original from Lennon and McCartney.



John Raymond
"I think it captures exactly who this band was at the time," notes John. "It was pretty early on in the band's existence that we recorded this music, and so in a lot of ways I feel like we've really evolved and deepened in our chemistry with one another since we recorded it. I also feel like my vision and concept for the group has really developed since then, too..."  As for the next step in his evolution and vision, John says, "I actually feel like both this and my last record [Foreign Territory] were both in the 'seed' stage, and thus I'm sensing the need to continue to grow each of them. I have tentative plans to record again with Billy, Dan and Joe [Hart, Tepfer, Martin] for another quartet record in May, and I'd like to record Real Feels again, maybe later in the year or early in 2017. But I'm definitely going to keep focused on these two projects primarily and see where they lead artistically and otherwise."



What unites these two directions is the creative searching of John Raymond as he moves from "foreign territory" into the music that feels "real" -- ideas that have solid roots in the musical traditions of the distant past as well as the broadly defined present, and all that adds up to a very bright future.



Real Feels CD Release Tour

John Raymond and Real Feels celebrate the CD release in the Twin Cities on January 23 (9 pm) at Vieux Carré (408 St Peter Street, lower level of the Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul); $12 cover, cash only. Other tour dates:



·         January 21, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN

·         January 22, Grand Kabaret, New Ulm, MN

·         January 24, MacPhail Center for Music (Master Class), Minneapolis, MN

·         January 24, State Theater, Eau Claire, WI

·         January 25, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Master Class), Eau Claire, WI

·         January 25, Lawrence University, Appleton, WI

·         January 26, Turner Jazz Center, Des Moines, IA

·         January 27, The Frequency, Madison, WI

·         January 28, Knox College, Galesburg, IL

·         January 29, Roosevelt University (Master Class), Chicago

·         January 29, Pianoforte, Chicago

·         January 30, Cliff Bells, Detroit

·         February 11, Cornelia Street Cafe, New York City

·         February 16, Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia



See www.johnraymondmusic for more tour dates

Real Feels: Gilad, John, Colin