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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, April 12-18

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Seems that every so often, we have a weekend that is so jammed packed with music, you can only hope to clone yourself or hope it's all captured on You-Tube. Here comes another such weekend.  No matter what you choose to do, you're going to miss something special. But no matter what you choose to do, you're going to enjoy something special.  Just be sure to get out! The weather has to improve, right?

The Big Gigs

Friday-Saturday, April 12-13. Eric Kamau Gravatt is one of those national jazz treasurers here in our own backyard.  Drummer for Weather Report and off-and-on collaborator with McCoy Tyner, Gravatt spent a lot of years off the grid as a guard at Lino Lakes. Once he retired, he was back touring with Tyner and playing (mostly at the Artists Quarter) with his band, Source Code. This weekend, he brings one of his most incendiary editions of Source Code to the AQ, with Dave Graf, Solomon Parham, Dean Magraw, Bryan Nichols and Ron Evaniuk. This is a sextet that can really blow.

Saturday, April 13. Three very different shows in different corners of the metro tonight: Jeremy Walker (Jazz Is Now!, Box Car, Boot Camp) has been working for the past 18 months on a concert-length work using the text of  “Seven Psalms," with original music for jazz quartet, voice, and choir. The debut takes place as a free concert at Bethel (in the Benson Great Hall), making it easily the bargain jazz event of the week. Or month. Jeremy's pals Brandon Wozniak, Jeff Brueske and Tim Zhorne, with Jason Harms handling the vocals, add to the excitement of this premiere. (See Pamela Espeland's piece in the Thursday Strib!)

Arne Fogel is at it again, this time saluting the relationship between singers and pianists with “We Love Our Pianos," at the Hopkins Center for the Arts with the sterling voices of Connie Evingson and ex-Twin Citian, now Big Apple vocalist Nancy Harms, along with keyboard monsters Rick Carlson and Tanner Taylor. Surely we love those pianos!

In Lowertown St Paul, Zacc Harris' Jazz at Studio Z takes a tropical turn as Doug Little and Charanga Tropicale fill the April concert slot. The band is still hot from its recent tour of Cuba, and the ensemble of strings and flute “presents a sound that is harmonically rich and infectiously rhythmic, inspiring visions mojitos and Caribbean sunsets," to quote Little. Come early (5 pm) for a free informative “workshop" before the evening concert.

Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14. Two years ago, singer Rhonda Laurie was awarded a grant via Legacy Funding to bring a musical revue - “Happy Days Are Here Again"—to libraries and other small town venues throughout Eastern Minnesota. Soon Rhonda's songs from the 30s and 40s were featured in theaters, old opera houses and other spaces outstate, usually with a guitar trio. Finally Rhonda will debut this show in a metro concert space, in the Black Box Theater of the Bloomington Center for the Arts, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. And it's sort of a revival, as Rhonda is now booked in September to take the show back on the road, from Brainerd to Bemidji.  We could use some happy days!

Sunday, April 14. I'm glad the 2013 season of PipJazz Sundays moved up to 4 pm. Makes it easier to do a double header. At Landmark Center, the April installment of PipJazz is a double pleasure as virtuoso violinist Gary Schulte (Twin Cities Hot Club, Gypsy Mania, Sidewalk Café) teams up with young jazz violinist Zosha Warpeha (Perpich Center for Arts Education, Dakota Combo). Also on hand, Central High senior trombonist Aiden Kronmiller and of course the always exciting PipJazz band.

Two shows tonight at the Dakota feature the master clarinetist Paquito D'Rivera with world-renowned guitar duo the Assad Brothers. “Dances From the New World" is the name of their show and the name of their upcoming CD release, showcasing original compositions and arrangements that bridge classical, jazz and New World influences. Wrote Don Heckman in the LA Times, “Call it one of the most engaging musical presentations of the season. Better yet, call it a stunning display of the music of the Western Hemisphere, performed by three of that region's (and the world's) finest artists."  

Monday-Tuesday, April 15-16. The Dakota welcomes back the indefatigable Doc Severinsen and his Big Band. The gig last spring was loads of fun as well as an opportunity to enjoy Doc's enduring trumpet and some of our local heroes as well. Once again, pianist Mary Louise Knutson will handle the keyboards (here and on tour), and we likely will see some familiar faces in the horn section.

Thursday, April 18. Cuban drummer extraordinaire Francisco Mela was here recently with McCoy Tyner, and a year ago with Joe Lovano. Now he's back alone, conducting workshops and master classes in  area schools, building up to a concert with local cohorts at MacPhail on April 20th. Tonight there's a free, all-comers drum clinic at Jazz Central. All percussion students are invited! Check the McNally Smith website for information about public clinics this weekend, and the MacPhail site for information on the Antonello Hall concert Saturday night.

At the Artists Quarter, a relatively new trio, Talking Strings, takes the stage. Featuring guitarist Pavel Jany, bassist Andrew Foreman and violinist Gary Schulte, the music reaches global proportions as these musicians meld classical, jazz and international traditions.

More Jazz, Every Night Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Policeand KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. A few more gigs of note:

Friday, April 12. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper (early set) followed by Darryl Holter with special guest Ben Wendel at the Black Dog; Todd Clouser and Chris Bates, dinner set at the Icehouse; Nick Haas Trio at Hell's Kitchen; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Classic Big Band at the KC Hall (Bloomington); Todd Clouser and A Love Electric (Midnight Show) at the Amsterdam Bar

Saturday, April 13. Ted Olsen and Joe Strachan at Angelina's Kitchen (Woodbury); JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; Dave Karr and Bryan Nichols, dinner set at the Icehouse; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen

Sunday, April 14. Patty and the Buttons (brunch) at the Aster Café; Robert Everest (brunch) at Maria's Café; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Maurice Jacox and Thom West at Eat Street Social; Bend in the River Big Band at Edinborough Indoor Park; Zacc Harris at Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, April 15. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; JT's Jazz Implosion with Anthony Cox at the Icehouse; John Kazilarmut at Jazz Central

Tuesday, April 16. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Zacc Harris/Bill Brown/Kenny Horst at the Artists Quarter; Doug Haining's Twin Cities 7 at Jazz Central; East Side at Hell's Kitchen

Wednesday, April 17. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Seteve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Graydon Peterson Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Pete Whitman Group at Jazz Central; Sister Swing (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) at the Eagles Club; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen

Thursday, April 18. Patrick Harison at the Icehouse; Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Beasley's Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves


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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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