Big Gigs This Week
Friday, November 8. The first of two ensemble gigs this weekend, pianist/composer Bryan Nicholsbrings a new quartet to the Artists Quarter to celebrate Duke Ellington. Most often heard playing original works and arrangements of the likes of Jarrett, Coleman and others of a 21st century bent, this is a rare opportunity to hear Nichols interpret a 20th century giant. He's on stage with frequent partners Brandon Wozniak and James Buckley, along with area newcomer Cory Healy on drums.
For a relaxed evening of swinging vocals, check out Maud Hixson with Phil Aaron and Gordy Johnson at Parma 8200 in Bloomington, where you can enjoy first class music and a sure-to-please-all menu in the bar/lounge. Personally I can't think of a better way to end the week than with Maude and a plate of cannoli. And tonight marks the first-ever Harrelson Trumpets Summit at Jazz Central Studios! The showcase brings in three top trumpeters Mark Bobnick, Geoffrey West Senn, and Todd Tanji, performing with the Jazz Central Trio" (Tanner Taylor, Mac Santiago, and a bassist I'll bet on Graydon Peterson).
Friday-Sunday, November 8-10. The remainder of the Zeitgeist New Music Cabaret at Studio Z, which began on Thursday, promises many delights for fans of modern jazz and generally new music." Friday night promises a student ensemble from Perpich, new music group the Renegade Ensemble, the always-intriguing Zeitgeist, and the Zacc Harris Quartet. On Saturday, catch the duo of Patrick Harison and Josh Granowski with accordion, bass and electronics; Zeitgeist, and Mother of Masks, featuring Louis Alemayehu, Mankwe Ndosi, Donald Washington, Anthony Cox and Davu Seru-big-hearted stalwarts of the Twin Cities jazz, spoken word, and improvised music scene. And Sunday, the line-up includes the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Zeitgeist, and the Nathan Hanson Saxophone Choir. Each evening is $10for three bands.
Saturday, November 9. Where to go tonight? In Hopkins, the JazzMN Orchestra pays tribute to Latin percussion legend Tito Puente, focusing on the talents of our own Latin legend, Rey Rivera and vocalist Lucia Newell. This is a rare chance to hear Lucia fronting a big band, reprising her early career gigs in Rio and Mexico City. In downtown Minneapolis, a legend of New Orleans, pianist/composer/songwriter Allen Toussaint performs two sets at the Dakota. And in downtown St. Paul, Bryan Nichols returns with his Quintet for an evening of all original music, including some new works. Joining Nichols tonight will be his usual quintet with Brandon Wozniak and Mike Lewis on saxophones, James Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums. Nichols sadly notes that this is likely his last time leading bands at the current incarnation of the Artists Quarter before the lights go out at the end of 2013.
Saturday-Sunday, November 9-10. Another in the Capri Theater's outstanding productions, Knights in Harlem celebrates the unsung baritones that fronted the Basie band. The Wolverines Trio (celebrating 40 years) backs Dennis Spears and Stephen Faison, who will bring us the songs of Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, and Arthur Prysock. (Saturday night and Sunday matinee!)
Sunday, November 10. Every November for the past three season, the PipJazz Sundays series focuses on the talents of young jazz artists. Featured PipJazz Youth All-Stars" performing with the PipJazz Experience band and Pippi Ardennia at Landmark Center include pianists Will Kjeer and Jo Schad, saxophonist DeVante Jackson, vibraphonist Levi Schwartzberg and bassist Sam Worthington.
Jazz at the Jungle" resumes at the Jungle Theater under the leadership of vocalist Connie Evingson. With a matinee and evening show, Ellingtonia" brings the music of Duke Ellington to life as Connie sings backed by a lot of guys named Haining Doug Haining (alto sax), Preston Haining (trumpet), and Trevor Haining (drums), along with Dave Karr (tenor sax), Tanner Taylor (piano), and Gordy Johnson (bass). (Call for ticket availability as this show is nearly sold out.)
Eat Street Social brings more jazz to South Minneapolis, with weekly Sunday nights alternating between guitarist Zacc Harris and saxophonist Doug Little, each performing with a revolving cast. Tonight and every second and fourth Sunday belong to Zacc.
Monday, November 11. I started writing about pianist Joe Strachan when he was still a student at Northfield High School, winning the Schubert Club/Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Jazz Piano Scholarship Competition and taking over the piano bench for the Dakota Combo. Since, he has held the piano chair for Jazz I at the U of M, graduating last spring, and now is a much sought-after keyboardist for a growing list of young area bandleaders like Jake Baldwin and Miguel Hurtado. He's in the spotlight tonight as the featured artist at Jazz Central.
Tuesday-Wednesday, November 12-13. Leading a long-running and exceptionally simpatico quintet, Roy Hargrove returns for two nights at the Dakota. With horn partner Justin Robinson (alto) and distinguished young pianist Sullivan Fortner, Hargrove's band has been blowing some of the finest mainstream modern on today's jazz scene, and this marks a nearly annual gig at the Dakota.
Wednesday, November 13. Time for Chris Bates'monthly improv night at Jazz Central, tonight with bassist Fred Bretschger of the SPCO. Across town at the Artists Quarter, it's a command performance by the double bone quintet, Valve Meets Slide, with Brad Bellow playing valve, Dave Graf playing slide, and both playing as only these great musicians can. Joyfully and artfully.
Thursday, November 14. Who are the Jesters of Passion? I asked Laura Caviani it's an ensemble that has performed infrequently and now is releasing a recording at the Artists Quarter. The band includes long-time colleagues Laura on piano, Pete Whitman (sax), Chris Olson (guitar), Gary Raynor (bass); and Dave Schmalenberger (drums). Can't find fault with that line-up. Over at Jazz Central, it's Vocal Night, and you can multiply that by five as Five By Design squeezes into the studio space to present a preview of their new recording, Live From the Ultra Lounge.
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, November 8. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota; Rick Carlson and Brian Courage, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Acme Jazz Company, Chaska Community Theater; Classic Big Band, Bloomington K of C Hall; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Tommy and the Lieberman at the Aster Cafe; Ginger Commodore and Yolande Bruce at the Dakota
Saturday, November 9. Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Tanner Taylor and Brian Courage, dinner sets at the Icehouse
Sunday, November 10. Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Cafe; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson with Patty and the Buttons at the Dakota
Monday, November 11. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; South High School Jazz I and II at South High Auditorium; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)
Tuesday, November 12. Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog; Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw & Friends at the Artists Quarter; Cedar Av Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at the Amsterdam Bar
Wednesday, November 13. Steve Kenny's Group 47 followed by Valve Meets Slide at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen
Thursday, November 14. Connie and Herb at the Bean (Andover); Minnesota Jazz Orchestra at Wabasha Street Caves; Patrick Harison, early evening at the Icehouse