The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, March 1-7
Spring is here. Soon. I can tell. It's not just the pale moon that excites me...or even the longer days. The quality of light has changed as the angle of the sun moves. The birds are chirping in more upbeat choruses, undoubtedly anticipating the return of their snowbird" cohorts. Even 20 degrees feels somehow warmer than a few weeks ago. But if the nights are actually growing shorter, the list of jazz gigs is growing longer. That includes the schedule this week.
Big Gigs This Week
Friday-Saturday, March 1-2. There's no better way to set the jazz tone for the month than the return of Chris Bates and Red 5 this weekend at the Artists Quarter. Shifting into the leader role in early 2012, Bates brought a bunch of new compositions to a new ensemble, held some public rehearsals, and went into the studio last spring, emerging with one of the hottest area releases of the year (or make that the new century), New Hope. More new material is in store for the weekend, as Chris is joined by brother JT on drums, Adam Meckler on trumpet, Brandon Wozniak on saxophones, and additional saxophones from Pete Whitman (Friday) and Chris Thomson (Saturday).
Saturday, March 2. Two young performers I have gotten to know separately are now performing together as a piano/bass duo. Not long ago, Joe Strachan and Ted Olsen led featured gigs at the Artists Quarter via the TCJS Young Artists Series; now they are simply performing as young professionals. Joe, who started out at Lawrence, will graduate this spring from the U of M where he has held the piano bench for Jazz I throughout his three years on campus; he's also been seen at the Dakota, Artists Quarter and Jazz Central with such artists as Jake Baldwin, John Raymond, Miguel Hurtado and Alicia Steele. Ted attended Luther College and similarly has appeared around town in various configurations with up-and-coming talents. They now play every Saturday night at Angelina's Kitchen in Woodbury. Ted recommends the pizza! I recommend the music.
Sunday, March 3. It's the second annual Combo Festival for high school ensembles at the MacPhail Center for Music, and the grand finale is a public concert in the gorgeous sound environment of Antonello Hall. Boston-based trumpeter Phil Grenadier will follow a day of adjudicating and mentoring with an evening as guest artist, appearing in the first set with the Dakota Combo, and in the second set with Adam Linz and JT Bates. Gives Adam a chance to not only show off his legendary basslines, but his skill as educator, leading the Dakota Combo - this year, an octet including vibes and violin.
It's a special night of music at St. Joan of Arc (Minneapolis), as Healing With Feeling" features cancer survivor/guitarist extraordinaire Dean Magraw and an outstanding cast ("The Siblings), including Bruce Henry on vocals, Lidia Berman on percussion, Bryan Nichols on keys, Dik Headlund on bass, and Pete Johnson on drums.
And it is always a special night if you can spend it with Connie Evingson, taking the stage at the Dakota. If you like great standards, Frisberg satire, Peggy Lee cool, hot club swing, Beatles favorites or south of the border samba, you can find it all, and more, on Connie's gigs.
Monday, March 4. JT's Jazz Implosion brings excitement to the Icehouse every Monday night, and hopefully improved Facebooking will alert us to the nature of the Implosion in advance! Tonight, JT is on stage with volcanic percussion partner Dave King in an opening Real Bulls" duo; the two then join bassist James Buckley and vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist James Diers for a truly bullish second set.
Tuesday, March 5. First Tuesdays bring guitar wizard Dean Magraw and percussion magician Davu Seru together at the Black Dog.
Wednesday, March 6. Usually the opening act, tonight Steve Kenny and the Bastids get prime time billing at the Artists Quarter. Joining the veteran trumpeter is his longstanding band of young lions Jesse Mueller on piano, Adam Tucker on bass, and Aaron Rupar on drums, also known as the bebop bastids," with good reason.
Thursday, March 7. A new installment of the Twin Cities Jazz Society's Young Artists Series, Audio Cabinetfeatures a band of mostly Apple Valley High School musicians - Jack Hessburg (sax), Brandon Caplin (piano), Trevor Aarsvold (bass), and Blair Kelly on drums, with South High trumpeter Kris Berg ably filling in for the band's usual trumpeter.... Standards, original arrangements and perhaps a new composition make up the set list. This is a free event, starting promptly at 7, followed at 9 by the always inspiring Brian Grivna Quartet.
And speaking of inspiring, it's Vocalist Night at Jazz Central, and tonight it's that dazzling duo of vocalist Nichola Miller and pianist Tanner Taylor. These parents-to-be are glowing for many reasons, but swinging music is high on the list!
More Jazz Every Night Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Policeand KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:
Friday, March 1. Irv Willliams, Peter Schimke and Billy Peterson, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Tim Patrick and His Blue-Eyed Band at the Eagles Aerie Club; Charmin Michelle Trio at Parma; Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; Harper/Leggett/Foreman Trio at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner set at the Icehouse
Saturday, March 2. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Viva Brasil, Loring Pasta Bar; Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Minnesota State University Mankato Jazz Festival, Halling Recital Hall at Mankato State; James Buckley Trio, dinner set at the Icehouse
Sunday, March 3. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Café; Bend in the River Big Band at East Ridge High School, Woodbury (2 pm); Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagen Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom
Monday, March 4. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Southside Aces at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
Tuesday, March 5. Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Café Accordion at the Loring Pasta Bar; Cory Wong Quartet followed by What Would Monk Do at the Artists Quarter; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's Bar; Bill Simenson Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass at the Amsterdam Bar
Wednesday, March 6. Wolverines at Hell's Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; McNally Smith X-Tet, early show at the Artists Quarter; Triosé at Café Maude (Penn Av); Connie Evingson's Jazz in the Lounge with Parisota Hot Club at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis
Thursday, March 7. Nicholas Haas at Hell's Kitchen; Midnight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves; Dean Harrington Trio at Barbette