© 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. email@example.com).
. 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, 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