The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, March 15-21
If this weekend seems tame compared to last, maybe that is not such a bad thing. Might be able to get to more enticing events if they are more spread out in time! Still, there are plenty of jazz gigs, and a few tough choices along the way. Longer days might encourage more evening outings, especially during the week when one can most often find free and cheap music without sacrificing quality.
Big Gigs This Week Friday, March 15. Always full of energy and charm, the Jana Nyberg Group lands at Hell's Kitchen tonight. Vocalist, flautist and songwriter Jana can be sultry, wistful or just sassy as she leads a quintet featuring husband Adam Meckler on trumpet, Evan Montgomery on guitar, Matt Peterson on bass, and Zach Schmidt on drums.
Friday-Saturday, March 15-16. The Divine Miss D—Debbie Duncan returns to the Artists Quarter, filling the room with blues, ballads and standards, with tears, smirks and belly laughs. This is how one defines entertainer."
Saturday, March 16. In a unique project, the Atlantis Quartet has lined up a limited public live recording session at Filter Lab, to be broadcast live via Misplaced Music, the third annual installment of Live From the Filter Lab.The live audience has been invited from the Atlantis mailing list, limited to 20 people who are asked for a $10-$20 donation. Attendees also receive a physical copy of the recording. The set list for the evening will include a few tunes from the AQ's previous releases, a couple standards, and never-recorded orginals. There were a few tickets left for the live session, but anyone can join remotely via live streaming. To see if you can still get into the live session, email the Atlantis Quartet.
Although they did not get together that often, the quartet East Side generated a strong following with its energetic swing and unique takes on more adventurous repertoire. Underground since harmonicist Clint Hoover moved to Pittsburgh, the remaining musicians—guitarist Reynold Philipsek, bassist Matt Senjem, and percussionist Michael Bissonnette - are warming up for a full-blown reunion next month with a trio gig at Hell's Kitchen tonight. Maybe they will test out some tunes from their upcoming second recording. Back at least 6-7 years ago when KBEM sponsored a Winter Jazz Fest, I first heard guitarist Mimi Fox. She's (finally) back in town, performing at Sundin Hall of Hamline University tonight. Dubbed a prodigious talent who has not only mastered the traditional forms but has managed to reinvigorate them" (Guitar Player Magazine), Fox has released nine recordings in the past 20 years and has performed with many of the major stars of jazz. Her concert and latest release show off her talents in the bare-bones context of solo guitar.
Monday, March 18. In case things were too tame on St. Patrick's Day: One of the most remarkable jazz gigs I've seen in recent years was Japanese percussionist/gong specialist Tatsuya Nakatani. I caught a couple shows at Rogue Buddha Gallery, featuring a solo set by Nakatani as well as interactions in varying combinations with bassists Chris Bates and Adam Linz. The three reunite at the Black Dog (where seating is more limited and incidental noise more likely). Come early. You want to sit close enough to see what Nakatani is doing to generate a menagerie of sound....and Chris and Adam will no doubt be pulling off some surprise antics of their own. Adam has a big night as he next heads to the Icehouse to join fellow Fat Kid Wednesdays musicians, Mike Lewis and JT Bates for a show that probably will not start on time at 9:30! So no need to rush, enjoy the Black Dog and come on over to the Icehouse with Adam.
Tuesday, March 19. When it debuted in 2004 under the leadership of Joshua Redman, the SF Jazz Collective was unique as a resident ensemble of top jazz artists devoting a season to the music of one jazz legend. The idea was to perform the legend's music as well as original works written by members of the Collective. Redman's tenure ended a few years ago but the Collective has successfully continued with other personnel changes, always featuring the very best in jazz. The 2013 edition rolls into the Dakota for just one night, two sets. This year, the band honors the music of Chick Corea. The music is in good hands—Miguel Zenon (alto sax), David Sanchez (tenor sax), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Stefon Harris (vibes), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Obed Calvaire (drums).
Wednesday, March 20. An intriguing blend of youth and experience from start to finish at the Artists Quarter tonight: As they do every week, Steve Kenny and the Bastids kicks off the evening with a free 7 pm set of hard-hitting bop, with veteran trumpeter Kenny fronting a band of up-and-comers. The prime time show tonight, unnamed, features long-standing stalwart Jay Epstein on piano, still sort of young stars Bryan Nichols on piano and Park Evans on guitar, and local newbie and recent Lawrence grad Brian Courageon bass. It's always cool when the generations mix it up.
Thursday, March 21. Vocal music leaped a few giant steps ahead when pianist, arranger, composer and vocal coach Phil Mattson moved to the Twin Cities a few years ago. His Phil Mattson Singers has garnered a long list of fans, and tonight they join forces with sax star Richie Cole at the Artists Quarter. Cole has been connected to the Twin Cities recently through his work with Five By Design.
More Music Every Night Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Policeand KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:
Friday, March 15. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Arne Fogel at Parma; Classic Big Band at KC Hall (Bloomington); Phil Aaron and Gary Raynor, dinner set at the Icehouse; Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog; Vicky Mountain and James Allen at the Wine Market; Pat O'Keefe, new (solo) works at Studio Z
Saturday, March 16. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Kat Edmondson at the Dakota; Phil Aaron and Gary Raynor, dinner set at the Icehouse
Sunday, March 17. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Café; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagen Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom
Monday, March 18. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Geoff Senn at Jazz Central; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
Tuesday, March 19. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw/Bryan Nichols/Billy Peterson/Kenny Horst at the Artists Quarter; Explosion Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at the Amsterdam Bar
Wednesday, March 20. Charmin & Shapira and Friends at the Dakota; Wolverines at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Café Maude (Penn Av); Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie at the Eagle's Club; Pete Whitman at Jazz Central
Thursday, March 21. Beasley's Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; Jon Pemberton at Barbette; Vocal Night at Jazz Central; Nate Wooley at Walker Art Center