Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, December 2017

Peterson Family "Jam Before Christmas" at the Dakota, December 17-18

© Andrea Canter

[The Lead Sheet is published monthly and updated weekly. Updated 12-8]

Our spring-like weather will probably fade into winter -- after all, it is winter in Minnesota! But falling temperatures (and perhaps the white stuff too) will be countered by rising heat from both local and visiting jazz artists as we count down 2017. This month we welcome such touring talents as Earl Klugh, Brad Mehldau, Benny Green, Joey DeFrancesco,  Bobby Lyle, Chris Speed, John Raymond, and of course, ending the year as well as the original configuration, The Bad Plus. From our local scene, Brandon Wozniak kicks off the month in a leading role; traditions like White Christmas at the Heights with  Maud and Rick and the Peterson Family "Jam Before Christmas" return;  Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson again reprise their "Crosby-Clooney Story"; Laura Caviani releases her second recording in two months; Andrew Walesch celebrates Sinatra; JazzMN swings in the holidays; and a long list of young guns do their best to make winter break a "Jazz Futures" blowout.

Big Gigs This Month
Brandon Wozniak
Friday, December 1. Everyone's favorite collaborator and sideman, we never see saxophonist Brandon Wozniak stepping out in front. So no surprise that when he leads a trio, it will be at one of the most cherished jazz venues in the Metro (the Dunsmore Room at Crooners) in the company of internationally acclaimed cohorts--bassist Anthony Cox and drummer JT Bates.

Jax Ravel
Young bassist Jax Ravel has been building his cred around town, leading a revolving cast of his "Gang" which plays on the Illicit Jazz Workshop schedule tonight at Jazz Central. His cohorts include some of our brightest young jazzers--Nelson Devereaux on saxes, Joe Strachan on piano, and Miguel Hurtado on drums.

Saturday , December 2. Another new jazz venue--the Chilkoot Cafe and Cycle Shop in Stillwater is offering some of the area's top artists on Saturday nights, tonight featuring JT Bates, Mike Lewis and Thomas Nordlund. The menu also features some of the most creative cuisine in the region so make it a dinner/jazz night.

Peter Kogan
Saturday Night at the Black Dog features former Minnesota Orchestra tympanist Peter Kogan and his "Monsterful Wonder Band," a hard boppin' septet that highlights Kogan's drum chops along with Geoff Senn, Pete Whitman and Scott Agster on horns, Chris Olson on guitar, Joe Strachan on piano, and Jeff Bailey on bass. The night opens with Le Voyage--Matt Trice and Donald Washington on sax, Dick Studer on bass, and Steve Hirsh on drums.

Jazz at St Barneys offers a trio of swingers-- Butch Thompson, Tony Balluff, and Steve Pikal.

Patty Peterson
Sunday, December 3.  Patty Peterson brings the holiday spirit to the Dunsmore Room with "A Season of Love," and you will love her supporting cast-- Sean Turner on keys and Tony Axtell on bass. No doubt there will be surprise guests!

Brad Mehldau
Sunday-Monday, December 3-4. There are few artists working today who have generated as much comment and praise as pianist Brad Mehldau. Performing solo and in interesting duo combinations over the past decade, it was "art of the trio" that first brought him international acclaim in the mid -late 90s, and generate a strong fistful of albums that set his career on star trajectory. The trio format is again Mehldau's most generative format, and with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, he's back for two nights, four sets of trio magic at the Dakota.

Maryann Sullivan
Tuesday, December 5. Count on Maryann Sullivan to brighten your holidays with swinging favorites. She's at Vieux Carre' with her Moneymakers; pianist Steven Hobert plays the opening sets.   In the Dunsmore Room again, songsters Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson are back with another performance of The Crosby Clooney Story. Hear it for the first time or enjoy this partnership again.

Joey D
Wednesday, December 6. B-3 master Joey DeFrancesco is typically heard in trio format but he is touring with a quartet dubbed The People (with sax, bass and drums), and his 2017 recording, Project Freedom, just named a Grammy nominee in the Best Instrumental Jazz category. He's at the Dakota for one night, two sets.

Laura Caviani
About six weeks ago, Laura Caviani and her trio (Chris Bates, Dave Schmalenberger) celebrated the release of her Mysterious Thelonious tribute to Monk. Now Laura has a second album to celebrate, this one of original music dubbed Confluence, and the release party takes place tonight in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners.

Thursday, December 7. Khyber Pass might be pretty small as a music venue, but the music palette spreads far and wide. Tonight it's Music Formerly Known as Jazz: A Continuing Conversation with J. Otis Powell ?!, performed by Douglas Ewart, Pat O'Keefe and Steve Hirsh.

Eric Gravatt
Friday, December 8. Two veterans a few generations apart star tonight: On the Illicit Jazz Workshop schedule, one of the legends of jazz drumming, Eric Kamau Gravatt leads his long-running Source Code ensemble at Jazz Central. His line-up is a bit different than in recent years, with two saxes Dean Brewington and Aaron Kippola) joining trumpet master Solomon Parham and long-time cohort, bassist Ron Evaniuk.

In the late night slot in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, 20-something Javi Santiago leads a trio--his usual cohorts are Ted Olsen and Miguel Hurtado. 
Rodney Ruckus

Saturday, December 9. What's all the ruckus? Ruckus--Rodney Ruckus--is back in town for a visit, and headlining the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog night with touring partner Jonathan Greenstein on sax and local pals Javi Santiago on piano and Jax Ravel on bass. The opening set features vocalist Lila Ammons and her quartet (Ted Godbout, Tom Lewis, Nathan Norman).

If you are heading to Orchestra Hall, and even if you aren't, come by early for the pre-concert freebie with the Mary Louise Knutson Trio. You really don't have to stay for the orchestra concert--you can head on out for more jazz!  And just down the street at the Dakota, you can catch the great Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera and his ensemble, the Universals. Guaranteed to warm up the coldest Minnesota night!

Benny Green
Sunday-Monday, December 10-11. Benny Green has been a popular visitor to the Twin Cities for many years, going back to his days with Ray Brown. Now he has a new "home" on the road at the Dunsmore Room, where he helped launch the new Steinway in fall 2016. Benny returns for two nights, four sets of solo piano magic. 

Monday, December 11. Jazz Central provides one of the most consistent venues to hear up-and-coming jazz stars, and tonight the spotlight is on pianist/composer Patrick Adkins, currently studying at Lawrence Conservatory. 

Andrew Walesch
Tuesday, December 12. Congenial host at the Dunsmore Room, singer/pianist Andrew Walesch should be better known for his interpretations of Sinatra and leadership of his big band. Tonight Andrew honors Sinatra's 102nd birthday with the big band in the lounge at Crooners.

At Vieux Carre, Tony Balluff's Big Three salutes Fats Waller-- that's Balluff on clarinet, Mike Polad on piano, and Dave Michael on drums. Chris Lomheim opens the evening on solo piano.

Wednesday, December 13. The New Boundaries series at Jazz Central features Chris Bates' Acoustic Concussion--with Brad Holden on sax, Javi Santiago on piano, and JT Bates on drums playing the music of Ornette, Sam Rivers and more.

Thursday December 14. At Jazz Central, hear "Holiday in Harmony" as three of the area's top voices--Vicky Mountain, Dorothy Doring and Connie Dussl (aka Song Sister) --join pianist Phil Aaron for some seasonal magic.
At the Black Dog, another chance to hear pianist Patrick Adkins as he teams up with drummer Luke Peterson (Northwestern University), along with Taylor Wisgerhof  on saxes and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Larry McDonough
And more holiday mischief as the Larry McDonough Quartet brings their Twisted Holiday to Vieux Carre'. Joel Shapira opens on solo guitar.

Aaron Hedenstrom
Friday, December 15. Since returning to the Twin Cities after studies at UW-Eau Claire and earning is doctoral degree at the University of North Texas, saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom has become a busy member of the local jazz scene. His Quartet performs at Jazz Central, part of the Illicit Jazz Workshop series curated by Steve Kenny. The band  this weekend includes Julian Manzara on guitar, Ted Olsen on bass, and Theo Harris on drums.

JC Sanford
Saturday, December 16.  A rare doubleheader that moves from the bar to the dining room at the Black Dog! The Steve Kenny Trio (with Kameron Markworth and Miguel Hurtado) opens the evening in the usual space, but the music moves into the larger dining room for the headliner sets with the Inatnas Orchestra making its debut. The 17-piece ensemble is led by trombonist JC Sanford and wife/conductor Asuka Kakitani, both recently relocated from New York where they were acclaimed bandleaders and composers. The band includes some of the best-known jazzers in the Twin Cities.

Bobby Lyle
Saturday-Sunday, December 16-17. One of the Twin Cities favorite sons, Bobby Lyle comes home for a weekend in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners. Adding to the holiday music will be Detroit guitarist Perry Hughes and our own drum legend, Joe Pulice.

Sunday-Monday, December 17-18. It wouldn't be the holidays without a Peterson Family Jam Before Christmas at the Dakota! The Monday night show was added after tickets sold out for the two shows on Sunday. Three generations of Petersons will make your spirits bright! 

Monday, December 18. JazzMN Orchestra celebrates the holidays at Chanhassan Dinner Theater. In addition to big band arrangements of holiday fare from Diana Krall, Gordon Goodwin, Harry Connick, Jr and more, the band joins local chanteuse Connie Evingson for even more holiday cheer.

Red Planet
More Monday madness-- Red Planet makes their monthly pilgrimage to the Black Dog, while in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners,it's a rare local appearance by New York multi-reed star Chris Speed . Speed's trio features bassist Chris Tordini and drummer/Minnesota miracle Dave King.  

Charmin Michelle and Sam Miltich
Tuesday, December 19. Crooners Lounge welcomes vocalist Charmin Michelle and frequent partner, guitarist Sam Miltich "and friends."  At the Dakota, the multi-talented George Maurer hosts his annual holiday bash.

The Bad Plus
Wednesday-Saturday, December 20-23. This year, the Bad Plus residency at the Dakota falls before Christmas. And it's a bittersweet series of gigs as this will be the final appearance of the original cast before pianist Ethan Iverson moves on, to be replaced by another outstanding pianoman, Orrin Evans.

Thursday, December 21. Vocal Night at Jazz Central, hosted by Sarah M. Greer, turns into a holiday party "Piano Bar" this evening with sing-a-longs, open mic, and more.

John Raymond
Friday, December 22. John Raymond comes home for the holidays and a night with his Standards Trio at Jazz Central. Adding their ultra cool punch will be Graydon Peterson and Phil Hey. And stick around for the 10 pm show with young Jerome Treadwell on sax.

More Jazz!
See the Live jazz calendar posted on the KBEM website, and see more about jazz events at --online and on facebook.

Coming Soon!
. December 13, Chris Bates' Acoustic Concussion at Jazz Central 
. December 13, Kevin Gastonguay/Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw at Vieux Carre'
. December 14, Song Sister Trio, Holiday Show at Jazz Central 
. December 14, Adkins Peterson Quartet at the Black Dog
. December 14, Real Tree at Khyber Pass Cafe'
. December 14, Larry McDonough's "Twisted Holiday" at Vieux Carre'
. December 15, Aaron Hedenstrom Quartet at Jazz Central
. December 15, Dosh and Friends at the Cedar
. December 15, Luke Polopnik and Chris Bates at the Icehouse
. December 15, Jazz Standards with Dorothy Doring at the Underground Music Cafe' 
. December 16, Charmin and Shapira, Midtown Global Market (12:30 pm)
. December 16, Parisota Hot Club at Chilkoot Cafe (Stillwater)
. December 16, Tim Sparks and Gary Raynor at the Icehouse
. December 16, Larry McDonough Quartet at the Warming House
. December 16-17, Bobby Lyle in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge 
. December 16, Inatnas Orchestra (Asuka Kakatani/JC Sanford) at the Black Dog
. December 17, Peterson Family Jam Before Christmas at the Dakota
. December 17, McNally Smith Emerging Artists at the Black Dog 
. December 17, Holi-Jazz-Le with Charmin and Shapira, Andrew Riverside Church
. December 18, JazzMN Big Band Swings in the Holidays with Connie Evingson at Chanhassan Dinner Theater
. December 18, Red Planet at the Black Dog
. December 18, Luke Peterson at Jazz Central
. December 18, Chris Speed Trio (with Dave King) in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge 
. December 19, Charmin Michelle with Sam Miltich and Friends at Crooners Lounge 
. December 19, George Maurer Holiday Show at the Dakota
. December 19, Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central
. December 20, Chris Lomheim Quintet at Jazz Central 
. December 20, Aaron Kerr's Dissonant Creatures at the Black Dog
. December 20-23, The Bad Plus at the Dakota (last tour with Ethan Iverson)
. December 21, Beasley's Big Band, Swing Night at Wabasha Street Caves 
. December 21, Charmin and Shapira at the Bad Waitress
. December 21, Holiday Piano Bar at Jazz Central
. December 22, John Raymond Standards Trio at Jazz Central 
. December 22. Pete Snell Trio (Lee Blaske, Tom Pieper, Pete Snell) at the Lupine (Delano)
. December 23, Ted Olsen Quartet/ Cole Mahlum Group at the Black Dog
. December 26, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central
. December 27, Will Kjeer Trio with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst at Vieux Carre'
. December 28, Greg Schutte at Jazz Central
. December 29, No Exit/Ben Ehrlich at Jazz Central 
. December 29, New Standards at the Dakota
. December 29, Dean Granros' Tall Tales in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. December 30, Patty and the Buttons at Chilkoot Cafe (Stillwater)
. December 30, Hoaxer/DDT at the Black Dog
. December 31, Black Dog New Year's Eve party
. December 31, Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Shakopee Ballroom
. January 9, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, "She Said/She Said" in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 11, Mary Louise Knutson Trio in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge
. January 16-17, Roy Hargrove at the Dakota
. January 28, 2018 Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival at Crooners Lounge
. March 7, 2018, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. March 8-11, Charles Lloyd 80th Birthday Celebration at the Dakota
. March 13-14, Jose James at the Dakota

The Bad Plus -- one last gig with Ethan Iverson, at the Dakota December 20-23