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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 18-24

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Baby, it's cold outside, but we have our jazz to keep us warm! And on the move, given the number of venues offering temptations this week. The weekend starts off with another local CD release party; one of the greatest jazz singers of all time stops in Minneapolis Sunday night; and as always, there's one gig after another throughout the week.

Highlights This Week

Friday, January 18. Two veteran performers, one a long-time resident, one a recent transplant, join forces to highlight the songwriting magic of Duke Ellington, celebrating the release of their duet recording at the Artists Quarter. Vocalist Dorothy Doring and pianist/arranger Phil Mattson found plenty of magic in the songs that Duke wrote with Billy Strayhorn and others, and those who have heard Dorothy's “big voice" might be surprised by the gentility of Compositions by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. With Phil's tasteful comping, Dorothy brings her softer side to the recording, although she notes that the CD Release Party will have a more diverse playlist.

Saturday, January 19. Often a mid-week gig, the brass ensemble Snowblind plays a rare weekend show at the Artists Quarter. Comprised of a handful of rising stars (Shilad Sen, Scott Agster, Adam Rossmiller, Graydon Peterson and Reid Kennedy), Snowblind features playful and energetic original compositions and some inventive reworkings of great jazz covers. Each of these musicians keeps busy with a long list of other projects, but when they come together, brass is boss!

Sunday, January 20. NEA Jazz Master and 17-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett makes a rare Twin Cities appearance at the State Theater. And if you don't already have tickets, you may be out of luck. Dubbed “the best in the business" by Frank Sinatra, Bennett's career seems to have peaked twice.. and the second peak is a high plateau of the past 2 decades. Now 86, Bennett continues to tour and record with no plans for retirement.

Monday, January 21. I loved the name of this band from its debut gig. Courageous Endeavorsis an ensemble of some very young, very talented jazzmen, including recent Lawrence U graduate Brian Courage on bass and his “Endeavoring" mates, Nelson Devereaux on sax, Joe Strachan on piano, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. All in their early 20s, these guys define the next decade of jazz in the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, January 22. I am not going to try to define José Feliciano as a jazz musician, but let's just say that anyone with some affinity for guitar knows that his gig  at the Dakota is both rare and very special. Now in his mid-60s, Feliciano continues to dazzle no matter what language or style.

Wednesday, January 23. You can hear one of the fastest rising stars in area jazz when Miguel Hurtado appears in a second configuration this week, this time leading his own quartet at the Artists Quarter. The Manhattan School of Music trained drummer has been hanging out with the best lately, including Jeremy Walker's Boot Camp and with Walker, Kelly Rossum and Michael O'Brien. Heavy company but Miguel is clearly ready for the challenge. And he's already proven to be steady in the driver's seat.

Thursday, January 24.  Singer Thomas Bruce came to gigging rather late - in his 50s. But his roots ran deep, brother of the late Roberta Davis and uncle of Moore by Four's Yolande Bruce. A hairdresser by day, Thomas gets out often in the evening, polishing his tenor chops that at times sound uncannily like Chet Baker. Tonight he pairs up with pianist Phil Mattson for a sublime evening at Jazz Central Studios, part of the weekly Vocalists series.

More Jazz Every Night Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Policeand KBEM sites. A few more gigs of note:

Friday, January 18. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Maryann Sullivan at the Wine Market; Alden Ikeda Trio at Café Maude (Loring Park); Ticket to Brasil at Faces Mears Park; James Buckley and Bryan Nichols, dinner set at the Icehouse; Kavanessence at 318 Cafe;  Paul Renz' Caterwaul and Night Owl Band at the Riverview Wine Bar

Saturday, January 19. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Phil Aaron and Chris Bates, dinner set at the Icehouse; Maryann Sullivan at the Eagles Aerie Club; Lila Ammons Jazz Quintet at Honey; Alden Ikeda Trio at Café Maude (Loring Park); Sophia Shorai at the Red Stag

Sunday, January 20. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Café; Mouldy Figs at Mainstreet Bar and Grill (Hopkins); Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Dan Musselman Trio at the Red Stag

Monday, January 21. Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse (Embezzler with Metzger, Linz and Bates); Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)

Tuesday, January 22. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and Friends at the Artists Quarter; Haining/Agster Explosion at Jazz Central

Wednesday, January 23. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early set at the Artists Quarter; Connie Evingson at the Dakota

Thursday, January 24. Cassondra Lea CD Release at the Artists Quarter; Lee Engele and Reynold Philipsek at the Red Stag; Emily Davis and Robert Bell at Barbette


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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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