Thursday, May 21, 2015

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



Firebell (Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein) -- Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog

© Andrea Canter

Seems we were just shivering and complaining about our cool spring, and here it is, Memorial Day Weekend and (finally) some warm sunshine. New challenges await, of course, like getting the garden planted, summer vacation reservations confirmed, and-- figuring out how to contend with parking and crowds as the Saints new ballpark opens in Lowertown -- scene of some of the area's most inventive jazz in recent months. This weekend will be the first big test of "baseball meets improvised music", with a Saints home game getting underway Saturday at the same time as gigs at the Black Dog and Studio Z; a new, late night improvised music series at Public Kitchen on Friday might actually benefit as an after-game destination--for those already in the area. Plan accordingly!

Big Gigs This Week
Chris Lomheim
Friday, May 22. At The Nicollet, the Chris Lomheim Trio debuts on the Friday Night Jazz series. Any fan of piano jazz should be familiar with the elegant Mr. Lomheim, whose Evanescent touch graces whatever he's playing, be it original compositions from his recent Timelines recording or standards from bebop and beyond. With Gordy Johnson and bass and Reid Kennedy on drums, Chris promises an evening of joyful jazz.   


Travis Anderson
Piano trio jazz is also on the menu at Parma 8200, where the Travis Anderson Trio (Steve Pikal, Nathan Norman) swings through a rare instrumental Friday night. And I mean swing.

Kristin Sponcia
Tonight at Jazz Central, former McNally Smith faculty Kristin Sponcia plays her first of two gigs within a week, while on break from graduate studies at the University of Illinois (Champaign). On the Bridge Series, it's the quartet with Kristin on piano and vocals, backed by Mike Krajewski (guitar), Graydon Peterson (bass) and Dave Schmalenberger (drums). (See Thursday below for Kristin's gig on the Vocal Jazz series.)

Pawan Benjamin
Following at 9:30, Jazz Central hosts a fundraising concert to support communities damaged by earthquakes in Nepal. Music will be provided by an explosive young trio featuring Javi Santiago on piano, Miguel Hurtado on drums, and visiting Milwaukee-born saxophonist Pawan Benjamin. Pawan first met Javi and Miguel in New York where he can Miguel were classmates at the Manhattan School of Music; this is not Pawan's first visit to Jazz Central, where he hopes to raise funds to help his family's village, among others.

Kevin Gastonguay
A new addition to music in Lowertown is Public Kitchen & Bar, just off Mears Park and offering a 10 pm show of improvised music on Fridays in the lower level lounge. Tonight, Gastonguay (Kevin) + Markworth (Kameron) + Schmidt (Zach) ), a new piano/bass/drum trio,  do the honors.


Jay Epstein, Firebell
Saturday, May 23. Lowertown jazz and improvised music will test the impact of baseball tonight. At the Black Dog--which could be jammed earlier with pre-game traffic, the Saturday Night Jazz series continues with the usual double-header: Opening will be the cross-generation antics of Central Standard Time, featuring teen bass master Charlie Lincoln with Steve Kenny, Sten Johnson, Dave Roos and Dennis Glaus. At 8:30, catch a couple sets with Firebell-- a veteran guitar trio with Park Evans, Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein. Expect a lot of original material from their new CD, Impossible Vacation.

At Studio Z, the Twin Cities epicenter for new music, it's a rare double piano trio configuration with Chris Granias and Carei Thomas on the grands. Billed as "new improvisations for two pianos and assorted instruments," there is no one better to handle "assorted instruments" than Douglas Ewart, playing multiple reeds and percussion, including is home-made instruments.

Connie Evingson
You can avoid parking dilemmas and head for the Aster at St. Anthony Main where songbird Connie Evingson will swing for the rafters with Patty and the Buttons. Notes Connie, "I always have a great time singing with Patty & the Buttons, and the bohemian vibe of the Aster Cafe makes it especially fun!" Patty (aka Patrick Harison) and his "buttons" (accordion)--with Tony Balluff, Mark Kreitzer and Keith Boyles -- swing and sway in a mix of New Orleans, hot club, and 1920s beats.  

Ginger Commodore
Sunday, May 24. Back one more time by popular demand-- Ginger Commodore and Julius Collins reprise "A Night of Wonder", their tribute to the great Stevie Wonder, at the Dakota. These two amazing vocalists are joined by Donnie La Marca (keys), Art Haynes (bass), Troy Norton (guitar), Bobby Commodore (drums), Daryl Boudreaux (percussion), and Ashley Commodore, Geoff & Chreese Jones (vocals).

David Martin
Monday, May 25. End your holiday weekend with some virtuosic guitar from David Martin, in the spotlight at Jazz Central. He's joined by bassist Jim Chenoweth and drummer Joel Arpin.

Tuesday, May 26. Guitarist/composer David Torn returns to the Twin Cities for a solo show at The Cedar. Known for his melding of acoustic and electronic elements and particularly his use of loops, Torn was here at the Walker back in 2007 with his Presenz ensemble. Now he's touring in support of his new solo effort on ECM, Only Sky.

Larry McDonough
Larry McDonough and friends reprise their Chet Baker tribute, first heard at Jazz Central last winter and now an encore at the Dakota. McDonough handles the singing Chet (as well as piano), while Steve Kenny takes on the trumpet role, with superb backing from Paul Peterson on saxes, Greg Stinson on Bass, Dean White on drums, and former WCCO anchor Don Shelby reading poetry about Baker and Bill Evans, written by regular McDonough cohort and saxophonist, Richard Terrill.

Rachelle Ferrell
Wednesday-Thursday, May 27-28. The songwriter translates emotion into words. The singer's job is to translate the words back into emotion." So said vocalist Rachelle Ferrell, and she lives these words whenever she's on stage. Returning to the Dakota for two nights, Ferrell is a singular force. She has a six-octave range and can sing in “whistle register” like Minnie Riperton; studied voice, piano and violin in her youth and attended the Berklee College of Music; sang back up to Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Wiliams and George Duke. While her popularity has ebbed and flowed, she was largely beneath the jazz scene’s radar until recently. Dakota owner Lowell Pickett mentioned that there were no words to describe her. Maybe that’s true. Or maybe all words describe her.

Phil Mattson
Thursday, May 28. The second of Kristin Sponcia's Jazz Central gigs in the past week (see Friday), tonight the spotlight is on her skills as a vocalist, with Phil Mattson handling the piano duties. Which is only fitting as Kristin was a member of the Phil Mattson Singers when she was a Twin Cities resident.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 22. Irv Williams and Steve Blons, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Dave Ziffer at Ingredients Cafe; Optimum Trajectory at Underground Music Cafe; BZ3 Organ Trio at the Black Dog; Jello Slave at the Aster

Saturday, May 23. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners' Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at Merlin's Rest Pub

Sunday, May 24. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners' Lounge; Joel Shapira, solo guitar at the Black Dog (4 pm);  Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; T Collective at the Icehouse

Monday, May 25. JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse

Tuesday, May 26. Cafe Accordion Orchestra at Loring Pasta Bar; Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central; Maud Hixson with the Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen

Debbie Duncan
Wednesday, May 27. Charmin Michelle at The Marsh; Retro Swing Sister at Eagles Aerie Club; Debbie Duncan Quartet at Crooners Lounge; Pat Kuehn Trio at Jazz Central; Lila Ammons Trio at The Tangiers

Thursday, May 28. Wes Ruelle Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Dave Ziffer at the Underground Music Cafe

Coming Soon!
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 1, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, CD Release at the Icehouse
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at Sun Ray Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vinicius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 19, Midtown Global Market Music Festival
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet with Billy Hart at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

 
Dean Granros' Tall Tales  -- CD Release on June 1 at the Black Dog








Friday, May 15, 2015

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



Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw (Saturday at Studio Z)

 © Andrea Canter
 In Northeast Minneapolis, it's Art-a-Whirl weekend. In the Twin Cities metro area, it might be dubbed Jazz-a-Whirl. Actually that title might fit every weekend here.  This weekend is the final gig for former resident bassist Michael O'Brien's current visit, a CD release for JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske's "Jazz in the Lobby Bar," a "comeback" of sorts for veteran guitarist Paul Renz, a grand finale for Jazz at Studio Z's fourth season with Eric Gravatt and Dean Magraw, an evening with Maud Hixson at Parma, and an evening at the Dakota with the king of rag and stride piano, Butch Thompson. The whirl continues into the week, with a Monday showdown of two volcanic drummers at the Icehouse (JT Bates and Dave King) and a Wednesday night homecoming at the Turf Club for Todd Clouser and A Love Electric. It's just mid-May but we are already feeling some summer heat!

Big Gigs This Week
Michael O'Brien
Friday, May 15. New York bassist and former Twin Citian Michael O'Brien has been in town for a couple weeks, and he finishes off his performance at Jazz Central tonight with his "Triage" ensemble, featuring pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. The trio played their inaugural gig two years ago at the Artists Quarter-- it's been too long between gigs for such elegant music.

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske turn the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel into an intimate jazz club every weekend (September-May). Tonight they celebrate their seven-year collaboration with the release of Jazz in the Lobby Bar, adding in pals Nathan Norman, Pete Whitman and Richard Kriehn as they recreate the weekly gig in the hotel's larger Promenade Ballroom. The arrangements perfectly display JoAnn's unique phrasing and interpretative sense, as well as Jeff's ability to comp as well as serve as a second voice.

At Parma 8200, another notable songbird, Maud Hixson, draws from an uncommon songlist supported by pianist/husband Rick Carlson and bassist Gordy Johnson.

Eric Gravatt
Saturday, May 16. Zacc Harris brings his fourth annual Jazz at Studio Z season to a close with the daunting duo of Eric Kamau Gravatt and Dean Magraw. About a year ago the two veterans released Fire on the Nile, and the fire just keeps burning. They'll kickoff the evening with a free public master class. Emphasis on "master." 

Paul Renz
Down the hill at the Black Dog, an old favorite from the Artists Quarter resurfaces as Headspace plays the opening set. Also resurfacing after bicep surgery, guitarist Paul Renz and his quartet take the stage for the second part of "Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog," in the company of special guest, flautist Anders Bostrom. Renz is jumpstarting his new ensemble, with Wes Ruelle on piano, Jonathan Thomas on bass, and Jessie Lesmeister on drums.

Butch Thompson
Sunday, May 17. Two Sundays in a row with Butch Thompson at the Dakota? Last week, Thompson was a special guest with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard; tonight it's his show as the ragtime and stride piano/clarinet veteran helps swing the night away.

Katia Cardenas
Monday, May 18.  One of the bright young lights on the local jazz scene, vocalist Katia Cardenas brings sophistication (and a bit of Ella?) to Foodie Night at the Dakota. Her repertoire is evolving to encompass not only the Great American Songbook but her own spin on more contemporary fare.

Dave King
At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features Real Bulls --a drum duel with JT and Dave King. More like Raging Bulls!

Tuesday, May 19. Hot club guitar stylist Stephane Wremble returns to the Dakota, going beyond Django and infusing his music with everything from blues to flamenco to rock.

Todd Clouser
Wednesday, May 20. Minnesota native guitarist/composer Todd Clouser has been spending most of his time in Mexico lately where he has initiated some innovative music education programs while honing his composition and vocal chops. His A Love Electric band has evolved into a more rock-oriented ensemble with a firm jazz foundation. He's back in town this week, bringing his current edition of ALE to the Turf Club.

Billed as Boomers vs Millennials, a quartet of Pete Whitman, Jay Young (the Boomers), Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado (the Millennials) will really be a collaborative effort, not a war, as the cross-generational talents merge at Jazz Central.

Martha Alkins
Thursday, May 21. The weekly vocal jazz night at Jazz Central features a newer talent, Martha Alkins, who presents "Generations of Jazz" -- songs from the 20s to the 70s, backed by pianist Ian Carleton and bassist Graydon Peterson.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 15. Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Tim Sparks and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Vinnie Rose Trio at Crooners Lounge; Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog; Minnesota Youth Jazz Band at The Nicollet (7:30 pm)

Saturday, May 16. Art-a-Whirl music: Charlie Lincoln Group at Elias Metal Studio; Fall of the House of Usher at Broadway and Central NE; Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Nick Videen Quartet at Cambridge High School; Patty Peterson and Friends at Crooners Lounge; Paula Lammers Trio at the Mason Jar; Charmin Michelle at the St. Cloud Eagle's Aerie Club; Maurice Jacox Trio at the Normandy Kitchen; Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network monthly salon at the Town House

Sunday, May 17. Charmin Michelle with Rick Carlson at Seward Co-op; Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Robert Everest at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Mid Level and Jazz III)

Monday, May 18. Adam Rossmiller at Jazz Central

MYJB
Tuesday, May 19. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Acme Jazz Company with Arne Fogel at Crooners Lounge; Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; River City Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at Famous Dave's Uptown (North Metro Honor Band)

Wednesday, May 20. Stu Blu and Friends at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Andrew Walesch at Crooners Lounge; River City Jazz Orchestra at Como Dockside; Minnesota Youth Jazz Bands spring concert at McNally Smith (Jazz I and II)

Thursday, May 21. Third Thursday (Joe Damman, Scott Fultz, Davu Seru) at Khyber Pass Cafe

Coming Soon!
. May 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet
. May 22, Travis Anderson Trio at Parma 8200
. May 22, Kristin Sponcia Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 23, Central Standard Time followed by Firebell at the Black Dog
. May 24, Ginger Commodore and Friends at the Dakota
. May 25, David Martin at Jazz Central
. May 26, David Torn (solo) at The Cedar
. May 27, Pat Kuehn Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 1, Dean Granros' Tall Tales, CD Release at the Icehouse
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at SunRay Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 19, Bill Frisell at the Dakota
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 29, Becca Stevens at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. July 5, Vincinius Cantauria at the Dakota
. July 12, Edina Jazz Fest at Centennial Lakes Park
. July 18, PipJazz at The Bedlam
. July 23, John Raymond Quartet with Billy Hart at the Dakota
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota
. September 7-8, Victor Wooten at the Dakota

Chris Lomheim Trio (at The Nicollet May 22)






Friday, May 8, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 8-14




Red Planet  -- at Jazz Central on May 8
© Andrea Canter
Some jazz giants visit this week (Tim Berne, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez), and the weekend is filled with veterans and rising stars across the metro. Spring is here, and we're warming up for big sounds this summer.

Big Gigs This Week
Dean Magraw
Friday, May 8.  A Twin Cities favorite for the past decade, Red Planet plays less often these days but with no less intensity. Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein invigorate Jazz Central Studios on the Bridge Series, now starting at 7 pm. Don't worry about dinner, Vanessa Lopez will turn up about 8 pm with her almost nightly treats.

Joel Shapira
Virtuosic guitarist Joel Shapira plays at Parma 8200 on a rare instrumental Friday. Nothing beats some inventive guitar trio music to melt away the stress of the week!

Ron Miles
A late night treat at Orchestra Hall tonight (10:30 pm) is the finale of the new Jazz in the Target Atrium series curated by Jeremy Walker. Following the orchestra's concert earlier in the evening, the Target Atrium welcomes Denver-based trumpeter Ron Miles with the Atrium ensemble, featuring Bryan Nichols, Anthony Cox and JT Bates. Miles is a long-time cohort of Bill Frisell as well as an accomplished leader, composer and educator.

Cory Healey
Saturday, May 9. The weekly double-header at the Black Dog brings young saxophonist Joe Mayo and company to start off the evening with a bang, followed by another young bandleader, drummer Cory Healey and his Beautiful Sunshine Band. Usually with two horns, tonight the Sunshine will be delivered as a quartet with Jake Baldwin, Zacc Harris and Erik Fratzke.

Dave Karr
Over at the Icehouse, you could not ask for a more sublime duo than Bryan Nichols and Dave Karr. A few generations apart, Bryan (piano) and Dave (sax) nevertheless find a lot of common ground musically, and it's really hard to beat free music at this level accompanied by some of the most inventive dining options in the area.

Tony Balluff (Southside Aces)
Sunday, May 10.  The Dakota offers two stunning options for Mothers Day -- brunch with the Southside Aces, dinner or whatever with Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard. The Aces are a top-notch New Orleans swing band headed by Tony Balluff; Prudence and Dan are a velvety voice/piano team celebrating the release of their new Gershwin. Their special guest tonight is ragtime piano magician Butch Thompson.

Steve Blons, Soul Cafe'
Another option for Mothers Day, and anyone else who likes some exquisitely rendered straight-ahead jazz melded with modern poetry is Soul Café, once a monthly event and now performing a few times each year at their home base, the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. Led by guitarist Steve Blons, the current configuration includes Dave Graf on trombone, Brad Holden on sax, and Darryl Boudreaux on percussion, with guest readers adding the poetic touches. Of tonight's concert, dubbed "Breathing Lessons," Steve says, "It's Spring and Minnesotans are feeling giddy. Yet, while the weight of winter may finally be lifting, the world can still feel heavy on our shoulders. Breathing helps.  Beauty helps. Lighten your load relaxing with an hour of jazz and poetry. Rest in the images and the music. Re-attune to the natural rhythms of breath and heartbeat."

Tim Berne
Monday, May 11. Once in a while, JT Bates turns his Jazz Implosion into an international jazz explosion! Tonight, he welcomes avant garde saxophonist Tim Berne and his Snake Oil ensemble to the Icehouse for a night of gleeful mayhem.  Snake Oil, which just released a new album on ECM (You've Been Watching Me), includes clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell, and drummer/percussionist Ches Smith.  This band will transform the Icehouse into an inferno.



At the Dakota, Cuban pianist Nachito Herrera departs from his usual weekend gigs to bring "Back to Cuba" to the stage, featuring Grammy winners drummer, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez and bassist José Armando Gola, and vocalist Mirdalys Herrera.
Nachito Herrera

Tuesday, May 12. Vocalist Vicky Mountain has been gigging more lately, and we're all the better for it. Tonight she invites us all to put on our swing dance shoes at The Nicollet, aided and abetted by guitarist Dave Martin and bassist Jim Chenoweth.

Wednesday, May 13. Former Minnesotan, NY-based saxophonist Nick Videen drops into the Icehouse, where he will play with three of our best-- Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates and Cory Healey. Among his credits, Nick has played with Superpower Horns, including a recording session with Beyonce'. Expect a jazzier version of Nick at the Icehouse.

At Jazz Central, "new music" night, Secret Stash house bassist Casey O'Brien brings in his Ghost Dance project with fellow improvisers Nathan Hanson on sax and Davu Seru on percussion. The original compositions, in the words of MPR's David Cazares, yields "sounds that dance in the air."

Adam Linz
Thursday, May 14.  Possibly the least likely jazz venue in the metro -- Khyber Pass Cafe in St. Paul sports improvised music every Thursday night. Tonight marks the return of Le Percheron, a cross-generational project headed by bassist Adam Linz, along with a troupe of modern experimenters including saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, vibes master Levi Schwartzberg, and drummer Cory Healey. Enjoy experimental music and some small plates from the kitchen!


More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 8.  Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Eastside at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Larry Dunsmore and Sheridan Zuther at Crooners Lounge; Trio Brasiliero with Pavel Jany and Natania Kamin at the Cedar Cultural Center; Classic Big Band & the Nostalgics Quartet at Bloomington KC Hall
Sheridan Zuther

Saturday, May 9.  Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; Nujume with Paula Lammers Quartet, Antonello Hall at MacPhail Center for Music; Pippi Ardennia's PipJazz Improv Night at the Bedlam Lowertown

Sunday, May 10. Swing Brunch with Patty and the Buttons at the Aster; Jazz Jam and Brunch at Crooners Lounge; Mothers' Day Big Band Blowout at the Como Dockside Pavilion; Fuzzy Math at the Black Dog; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Zack Lozier Three at Underground Music Cafe; Paul Renz at the Aster

Monday, May 11. Ray Covington and Bob Johnston at Crooners Lounge; Evan Benidt at Jazz Central

Tuesday, May 12. 7 Cats Swing Band at Crooners Lounge; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Chris Olsen and Kevin Daley, duets at the Black Dog; Nova Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe; Cedar Ave Big Band at Jazz Central

Wednesday, May 13. Lila Ammons Trio at the Tangiers

Thursday, May 14. Fuzzy Math at Hell's Kitchen; JazzMN Orchestra with Patty Peterson at Chanhassan Fireside Theater

Coming Soon!
. May 15, Minnesota Youth Jazz Band at The Nicollet
. May 15, Michael O'Brien Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 15, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. May 16, Headspace followed by the Paul Renz Quartet at the Black Dog
. May 20, Todd Clouser's A Love Electric at the Turf Club.
. May 20, Pete Whitman's Ageless Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet
. May 22, Travis Anderson Trio at Parma 8200
. May 22, Kristin Sponcia Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 23, Central Standard Time followed by Firebell at the Black Dog
. May 25, David Martin at Jazz Central
. May 27, Pat Kuehn Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 4, Phil Mattson Group at Jazz Central
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at SunRay Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota


Michael O'Brien at Jazz Central, May 15th






Friday, May 1, 2015

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 1-7



Jason Moran and Robert Glasper together at the Walker Art Center on May 2nd
© Andrea Canter
Green leaves, crab apple blossoms, tulips and a good be-bop riff-- you have to love spring in Minnesota, once it gets here. Can't use the weather as an excuse these days-- it isn't too cold, there's no snow and ice, and it isn't too hot yet!  Take your ears out for a spin: Some veteran ensembles at The Nicollet and Black Dog, young lions and a visiting New Yorker at Jazz Central, a visiting duo of piano titans at the Walker -- it's a jazz lovers weekend. The work week kicks off with homecoming gigs (sort of) for Minnesota bassists at the Icehouse.

Big Gigs This Week
Javi Santiago
Friday, May 1.  Youth rules tonight at Jazz Central, as the Javi Santiago Quartet takes its place on the Bridge Series. With 20-somethings Javi on piano and Cory Healey on drums, the youthful "old-timers" Zacc Harris (guitar) and Cody McKinney (bass) will have to keep them in line! Special "welcome back" to Cody who finished studies at the New School in New York this winter. Stick around for some even younger talents as the late show features the U of M Jazz Combo directed by Phil Hey.

Framework
Down the street, Friday Night Jazz at the Nicollet features the venue debut of Framework, the string trio that brings together three inventive improvisers in Chris Olson (guitar), Chris Bates (bass) and Jay Epstein (drums). Longtime favorites at the Artists Quarter, the band has found new audiences at Jazz Central and the Black Dog, fueling their sets with covers of Coltrane, Shorter and Coleman, as well as their own compositions.

Patty Peterson
And just a few blocks down at the Icehouse, Patty Peterson and Friends rocks the old bricks with special friend Steve Cole on sax and brother Ricky Peterson on keys and vocals. The music will definitely lean toward smooth, but no one melds jazz, R&B and smooth better than Patty and her pals. With the usual suspects--Paul Peterson, Jason Peterson DeLaire, Billy Franze and Bobby Vandell.

Robert Glasper & Jason Moran (photo WBGO)
Saturday, May 2. What might be billed as one of the biggest jazz nights of 2015 in the Twin Cities, the Walker Art Center presents a dazzling piano duo-- McArthur "Genius Grant" recipient Jason Moran and Grammy-winner Robert Glasper. Old pals from Houston, they've been touring in honor of Blue Note Records 75th anniversary, offering music that touches on the roots of jazz as well as their collaborative improvisations. Moran is no stranger to the Walker, having presented commissioned works several times in the past decade, and has appeared as a member of Charles Lloyd's Quartet at the Dakota; Glasper has not been in town for a while but his recent exploits with his electrified Robert Glasper Experience should intrigue-- this is an acoustic show at the Walker. First show sold out so a 10:30 late set was added.

Good Vibes Trio
At Jazz Central, it's also a special Saturday night as Chris Bates' Good Vibes Trio (with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey) welcomes New York-based tenor saxophonist Adam Kolker. In addition to earning a couple Grammys working with Ray Baretto, Adam has perfomed with the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Fred Hersch, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Bruce Barth, Judi Silvano and more, and has led groups with the likes of John Abercrombie and Billy Hart.

Anthony Cox
Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog kicks off with a band led by sax veteran Dave Brattain with drummer Mac Santiago. The prime time set features Anthony Cox's DD7 -- that's a two or three-horn band depending on Mike Lewis's schedule. Lewis is not on tonight, but with Brandon Wozniak and Steve Kenny, there's plenty of horn power, fueled by bassist Cox and drummer JT Bates.

Sunday, May 3.  Make it campus jazz day!  The Century Jazz Ensemble holds its annual Swing Into Spring concert mid-afternoon on the Century College campus. The long-running ensemble includes alums of the Century College jazz program and faculty. Later in the afternoon, in Northfield, Adam Kolker (see Saturday at Jazz Central) is the special guest with St. Olaf Jazz Ensembles II and III on the St. Olaf campus. Come evening, you can enjoy the U of M Jazz Ensembles I and II in a salute to Big Bands at Ted Mann.

Michael O'Brien
Monday, May 4. At the Icehouse, JT's Jazz Implosion brings a favorite son back to the Twin Cities. New York-based bassist Michael O'Brien is just visiting, but he's here for a week or so, starting tonight with a formidable ensemble including Zacc Harris, Jake Baldwin, Brandon Wozniak and JT Bates himself. (Catch Michael next Friday at Jazz Central.) 

Maryann Sullivan and Jim Chenoweth
Tuesday, May 5. You can count on a swinging good time whenever Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz are on the band stand, and tonight that good time is at The Nicollet. The band will barely fit on the stage-- bassist Jim Chenoweth, drummer Nathan Norman, trombonist Dave Graf, and pianist Andrew Walesch-- who very well might join Maryann on vocals.

It will be a different sort of good time, but good nonetheless, when Coloring Time featuring Cody McKinney takes the stage at the Icehouse. Quoting their press, "Coloring Time is a musical accident waiting to happen, so to speak. Instrumentalists Casey O’Brien (bass), Graham O’Brien (drums), John Keston (keys), Robert Mulrennen (guitar) and Jon Davis (reeds) pave nebulous jazzways on which vocalist/MCs Joe Horton, Kristoff Krane and Adam Svec race headlong to rapture and epiphany." Special guest, bassist Cody McKinney, is back in town after completing studies at the New School in New York, and he is wasting no time returning to the heart of the Twin Cities music community.

Lila Ammons
Wednesday, May 6. Lila Ammons has royal jazz roots -- grandfather Albert Ammons of boogie-woogie fame, uncle Gene Ammons, bebop tenor titan. And she has a stunning voice that is equally comfortable on a jazz ballad and a boogie-woogie blues. Often touring in Europe, she's around this spring and singing with local royalty-- pianist Thom West, bassist Tom Lewis, and drummer Nathan Norman, tonight at Crooner's Lounge.

More Jazz!
Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and Jazz Near You, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, May 1. Irv Williams, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper's Piano Fridays at the Black Dog; Andrew Walesch at Parma 8200; John Paulson with Swing, Inc. at Signatures (Winona); Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra and the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Jazz Band at ARCC Performing Arts Center; Matra at the Black Dog; Infinite Variety Band at Crooner's Lounge

Saturday, May 2. Charmin & Shapira, Midtown Global Market (12:30 pm); Lila Ammons, 3 pm at Club Saragota (Duluth); Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar; Zacc Harris and Phil Aaron, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar, Saint Paul Hotel; Paula Lammers with Mary Louise Knutson and Nuhjume at Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music; Seven Cats Swing Band at Crooners' Lounge

Sunday, May 3. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz Brunch at Crooners' Lounge; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Paula Lammers
Monday, May 4. Scott Agster at Jazz Central; Paula Lammers at Crooners' Lounge

Tuesday, May 5. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog; Brio Brass at Edinborough Indoor Amphitheater; Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Robert Everest at Crooners' Lounge

Wednesday, May 6. Connie Evingson with Chris Lomheim, Terry Burns and Dave Karr at the Minneapolis Woman's Club; John Penny Trio at Scratch Bar & Grill; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Anthony Cox at Jazz Central; Three Faces at Lake & Irving

Thursday, May 7. Benny Weinbeck, Wayzata Lunds & Byerly's; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Normandale Community College Jazz Band at Lorenz Fine Arts Auditorium (NCC); Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen

Coming Soon!
. May 8, Ron Miles with the Atrium Jazz Ensemble at Orchestra Hall (Target Atrium)
. May 8, Presidential Flow (Mayo, Brattain, Nair, Evans, Granowski) at The Nicollet
. May 8, Joel Shapira Trio at Parma 8200
. May 9, Joe Mayo/Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band at the Black Dog
. May 10, Southside Aces (brunch), Prudence Johnson and Dan Chouinard (evening) at the Dakota
. May 10, Soul Cafe' at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church
. May 10, Paul Renz Quartet at the Aster Cafe
. May 11, Tim Berne's Snake Oil at the Icehouse
. May 12, Vicky Mountain at The Nicollet
. May 13, Casey O'Brien Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 15, Minnesota Youth Jazz Band at The Nicollet
. May 15, Michael O'Brien Quartet at Jazz Central
. May 15, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200
. May 16, Headspace followed by the Paul Renz Quartet at the Black Dog
. May 22, Chris Lomheim Trio at The Nicollet
. May 22, Travis Anderson Trio at Parma 8200
. May 23, Central Standard Time followed by Firebell at the Black Dog
. May 27-28, Rachelle Ferrell at the Dakota
. May 29, Bottomless Pit at The Nicollet
. May 29, Connie Evingson at Parma 8200
. May 30, Dave Martin Trio followed by the Atlantis Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 2, Tim Reis Rolling Stones Project at the Dakota
. June 3, Steve Smith and Vital Information, NYC Edition at the Dakota
. June 5, Paul Harper's Show and Tell at The Nicollet
. June 6, Lulu's Playground followed by The Five at the Black Dog
. June 12, Tommy Bentz Quartet at The Nicollet
. June 13, Will Schmid Trio followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet
. June 16, Ticket to Brazil, Jazz in the Library at SunRay Library (St Paul)
. June 17, Good Vibes Trio, Jazz in the Library at Hamline Library (St Paul)
. June 19, The Dakota Combo followed by Dean Granros' Tall Tales at The Nicollet
. June 20, John Penny/Jay Epstein Duo followed by the Phil Hey Quartet at the Black Dog
. June 21, Francisco Mela Trio, Jazz in the Library at St Paul Central Library
. June 22, Kurt Elling at the Dakota
. June 23-24, Cecile McLorin Salvant at the Dakota
. June 25-27, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park and beyond (Dr John, Potter/Holland/Louke/Harland Quartet, Francisco Mela with Nicholas Payton, Araya-Orta Quartet, Marquis Hill Blacktet)
. June 28, John Pizzarelli at the Dakota
. June 30-July 1, Charles Lloyd Quartet at the Dakota
. July 2-4, Iowa City Jazz Festival (Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Julian Lage, Brian Charette, Atlantis Quartet, Becca Stevens, COLOSSUS, Dakota Combo)
. August 6, George Brooks with Larry Coryell and Bombay Jazz at the Dakota


Tim Berne's Snake Oil - coming to the Icehouse, May 11