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

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The forecast calls for a return of summer heat next week. Jazz is warming up as well! This weekend at Jazz Central,  Zacc Harris salutes Wes Montgomery and Jay Young salutes Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson;  Maud Hixson returns to Parma 8200; the Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project holds its first festival at Rice Park; Steve Kenny's Group 47 plays one last preview before they release an LP; the Merlins are back at the Black Dog.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, July 18. If you've heard young Zosha Warpeha over the past few years with PipJazz or the Dakota Combo you know this violinist has special talent. A year ago, just before heading to New York where she attends the New School,  she was awarded  a grant from the state arts board to fund the purchase of a 5-string violin — sort of a cross between a violin and viola. Now she's ready to take the instrument to the bandstand, with an hour-long performance at The Beat coffee house in Uptown. It might not be jazz, it might be hard to define, but it is all Zosha.    Over at the Black Dog, one of Zosha's former bandmates with the Dakota Combo helps Steve Kenny's Group 47prepare for their   release. Pianist Will Kjeer will also be leaving town, taking a year to study at Interlochen Meanwhile, at Jazz Central, the Harris/Bates Collectivefinds Zacc Harris saluting the great Wes Montgomery.

A lot of instrumental magic tonight, but if you prefer vocals, you will also find the magic in the songs of Maud Hixson, with Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200.

Friday-Saturday, July 18-19. It's a rare back-to-back performance for bassist Jay Young and the Lyric Factory— Friday at the Icehouse, Saturday at Jazz Central! So you can't help but get a good dose of soul jazz as the band salutes Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson — with a line-up that includes Ian Young, John Penny, Kevin Washington, Scott Fultz, and vocals from Rachel Holder-Hennig, Judi Donaghy Vinar and Sarah Greer.

Saturday, July 19. The Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project, with help from the Dakota, hosts its first jazz festival at Rice Park. The line-up is impressive — Mississippi (Pete Whitman et al), Pippi Ardennia, Debbie Duncan, Thomasina Petrus, Kevin Gastonguay and the Innocent Reggae Band. 

Sunday, July 20. One of the area's premiere Brazilian ensembles, Ticket to Brasil, led by guitarist Pavel Jany and with an expanded cast to sextet proportions, performs (free!) in the pleasant outdoor setting of the Staring Lake Amphitheater in Eden Prairie ("Starring at Staring" concert).

Monday, July 21. Back at the Black Dog for their monthly gig, the Fantastic Merlins(Nathan Hanson, Doan Brian Rosseler, Pete Hennig) bring their own brand of mayhem to Lowertown. And we're lucky they do!  For a later start, and a later finish, JT's Jazz Implosion tonight at the Icehouse features the Bryan Nichols Quintet—with Brandon Wozniak and Mike Lewis as the tandem sax maniacs, with James Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums.

Tuesday, July 22. Tonight's big band bash at Jazz Central features the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, a relatively new ensemble headed by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago, and filled with the area's top big band musicians. At least the ones who are not playing with the Explosion Big Band over at the Minnesota History Center. Led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster, the band is a monthly fixture at Jazz Central, and now brings its explosive energy to Saint Paul.

Wednesday, July 23. One of the edgier trios in local modern jazz, Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein) spins around Jazz Central tonight, previewing some new tunes for their upcoming new CD;  while a more sublime evening is promised by Charmin and Shapira and Friends at the Dakota. “Friends" typically include saxophonist Paul Harper, bassist Tom Lewis and drummer Nathan Norman.

Thursday, July 24. How are our student musicians faring this summer? Check out the accomplishments of students in the Summer Enrichment program at Walker West, and see the new facilities including the cool performance hall, 10:30 am (across the street from the old WW).  The All Originals concert series, curated by Steve Kenny at Studio Z, picks up steam this week with the Zacc Harris Group (Harris, Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates, JT Bates). All are established composers, and we'll be hearing two sets of original works. At the Dakota, New Orleans never sounded brassier with a visit from the famed Rebirth Brass Band.

More Jazz Every Night Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities — check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, July 18. Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota; Capri Big Band at the Minnehaha Park Bandshell

Saturday, July 19. Twin Cities Jazz Workshop, student concert at the Icehouse (11 am); Zacc Harris and Chris Bates, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Maurice Jacox Trio at the Normandy Kitchen

Sunday, July 20. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at the U of M Arboretum; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, July 21. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Mark Yannie at Jazz Central

Tuesday, July 22. Rick Carlson at Cafe Maude; Zacc Harris and guests at the Black Dog

Wednesday, July 23. Wolverines at Hell's Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza

Thursday, July 24. World Jazz Collegium (Josue Alfaro, Dan Weston, Pavel Jany) at the Black Dog; Connie and Herb at The Bean (Andover); Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @Christo's (Union Depot); Bend in the River Big Band at Como Lakeside Pavillion


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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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