The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Jazz, November 23-29
Baby, it's cold outside! Relatively speaking, that is. Maybe we were spoiled by the mild temps of the past few weeks. But if it is getting colder outside, it is only getting hotter inside our area clubs and music venues, and all signs point to an exciting winter jazz season. Maybe enough to bring in some of the Mn Orchestra and SPCO audiences starved for live music? This week is as diverse as it gets, with Meshell Ndegeocello and Karrin Allyson on the Dakota schedule, Dave King Trucking Company and Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter, the Zacc Harris Group at Café Maude/Loring Park, Nichola Miller at Jazz Central... and the beat goes on.
Big Gigs This WeekFriday/Saturday, November 23-24.Hot off a recording session for their second CD, the Dave King Trucking Company parks for the weekend at the Artists Quarter. It's a quintet on record (with New York-based Chris Speed providing a second reed) but the core quartet will be on the AQ stage, with Brandon Wozniak, Adam Linz and Erik Fratzke joining driving force Dave King. Come for the monologue, stay for the music!
And you can start the evening on a more sane and swinging note a block down the street at the Lobby Bar of the St Paul Hotel, where Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske expand to two nights. They celebrate with special guest, violin virtuoso Gary Schulte, on Friday. This is a perfect spot to unwind and recover from Black Friday madness; Funk and Brueske are a most compatible pair, and the addition of Schulte makes this a very special experience.
Sunday, November 25. You would be hard pressed to find a more eclectic musician on the scene today than Meshell Ndegeocello. Bassist, vocalist, songwriter and conceptualist, Meshell returns to the Dakota with her tribute to muse Nina Simone. Inventive musician and social activist, Simone was a major influence for Meshell, who started out more conservatively with some pop/rock/dance hits in the early 90s, now more inclined to meld rock/jazz/hiphop and beyond.
Monday, November 26. There are two chances this week to enjoy saxophonist Pete Whitman. In addition to his monthly last Thursday at the Artists Quarter with his X-Tet, Pete will shine in a much more intimate context tonight at Jazz Central. Likely cohorts are Tanner Taylor and Mac Santiago, and you never know who will show up to jam on the late set. JT Bates' Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse continues tonight with the Graydon Peterson Quartet, one of the hottest of new bands in town. Now well-established as a first-call bassist with a wide range of chops, Peterson harnesses the skills of trumpeter Adam Meckler, guitarist Vinnie Rose and drummer Adrian Suarez for his debut at one of the area's most daring music venues. Monday/Tuesday, November 26-27. Without fail, vocalist Karrin Allyson gives it everything she's got whenever she lands on the stage at the Dakota. Maybe it's because the Twin Cities have been a second home; maybe it's because she can count on family (her mom lives here) and friends to be in the audience; maybe it's because Karrin knows no other way to perform. Last year's release, Round Midnight, was one of her all-time best, and it's always a treat to hear new additions to her repertoire as well as crowd favorites. She raises the bar every time.
Tuesday, November 27. The Zacc Harris Group gets quite a workout this week, following their weekend gigs at Café Maude/Loring Park with tonight's offering at sister venue, Café Maude in southwest Minneapolis. Guitarist Harris assembles a stellar crew, with Bryan Nichols on piano, Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Anticipate mostly original music perfectly paired with the creative dinner menu. And speaking of original music, Big Band night at Jazz Central features one of the most creative young composers around, Adam Meckler and his Orchestra, with special guests tonight, Doug Haining (sax) and Scott Agster (trombone)—coleaders of their own big band.
Wednesday, November 28. What Would Monk Do in a 21stcentury context? Led by trumpeter Steve Kenny, an ensemble of area veterans tries to answer that question, tonight at the Artists Quarter. Along with Kenny, the explorers include Peter Schimke on piano, Billy Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. They get underway following Kenny and The Bastids" opening at 7 pm.
Thursday, November 29. The Twin Cities Jazz Society's Young Artists series continues at the Artists Quarter with a 7 pm set featuring the Dakota Combo. Directed by Adam Linz via the support of MacPhail and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, this year's ensemble features adventurous instrumentation, an octet of horns, rhythm, violin and vibes. Gotta hear these high school students!
Over at Jazz Central, the new vocalist series continues with sassy swinger Nichola Miller (backed by Tanner Taylor). Jazz and cabaret meet on very friendly terms in this intimate space.
More Jazz, Every NightWe're never at a loss for music, even with the double lock-outs. Live jazz calendars will help you find your favorites as well as some new sounds - check out Jazz Police and KBEM. Friday, November 23. Birthday jam for Luis Santiago at Jazz Central; Zacc Harris Group at Café Maude/Loring Park; Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Meridien Hotel); Marcus Wise/Dean Magraw at the Icehouse (7 pm); Debbie Duncan at The Lexington; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at the Wine Market
Saturday, November 24. Maurice Jacox and Bobby E at Eat Street Social (1 pm); Ticket to Brasil at the Loring Pasta Bar; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Meridien Hotel); Bryan Nichols and Dean Magraw at the Icehouse (7 pm); Charmin Michelle at Parma; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota; Zacc Harris Group at Café Maude/Loring Park; Sophia Shorai at the Red Stag Sunday, November 25.Patty and the Buttons at the Aster Café; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Medina Ballroom (3 pm); Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Zack Lozier at the Red Stag
Monday, November 26. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Patty and the Buttons at the Red Stag
Tuesday, November 27. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and friends at the Artists Quarter; Café Accordion at the Loring Pasta Bar; Carl Franzen and Rahjta Ren at the Black Dog Wednesday, November 28. Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Sophia Shorai at the Dakota; Dan Musselman at the Red Stag; James Buckley and Bryan Nichols at Café Maude (Penn Av)
Thursday, November 29. Eastside at Hell's Kitchen; Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter; Robert Everest at the Icehouse (6 pm); Lee Engele at the Red Stag; Carl Franzen, Rahjta Ren, and Antonio Monterroso at the Third Floor (Doctor Chocolate's Chocolate Chateau)