If you are lamenting the (belated) appearance of winter weather, here's a warm thought: The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is less than four months away! June 28-30 should be circled in red on your calendar. And in the meantime, late winter is bringing some very welcome music to the Twin Cities, guaranteed to keep you warm and engaged.
Highlights This Week March 2. Anyone who missed last night's opening sets in the Vijay Iyer Mini Festival at the Walker Art Center should pick up the phone and reserve one of the remaining seats for tonight's finale, which will feature the titanic pianist in duo with poet/hip-hop artist Mike Ladd, in trio with his Indian cohorts (Tirtha), and again in a solo set. It was that solo set on the first night that proved all the hype surrounding Iyer is mere truth. It's hard to imagine how the second night can exceed the level of the first, but Iyer is a magician. If you're too late for tickets, you can take advantage of a rare Friday night session at Jazz Central, tonight featuring a powerhouse trio with Tanner Taylor, Billy Peterson and Mac Santiago. Or head over to St. Paul and the Black Dog for the biweekly Community Pool/Deep End series, tonight with Nathan Hanson, Brian Roessler, Erik Fratzke and dueling drummers, Pete Hennig and Peter Leggett.
March 2-3. Often heard on a Thursday night, the Phil Hey Quartet gets the weekend gig at the Artists Quarter, and you can count on Phil, Dave Hagedorn, Phil Aaron and Tom Lewis to burn through covers from Coltrane, Shorter, Coleman and more as well as some original tunes. This is not your father's Modern Jazz Quartet! If a weekend up north" appeals, the annual Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival will be held on the U of M Duluth campus, this year featuring guest artists John Fedchock and Scott Wendholdt. Fedchock, one of the world's top trombonists and bandleaders, brings his sextet to the concert stage Friday night, and joins the UMD Jazz Ensemble I and festival All-Star Combo on Saturday night.
March 4. Imagine a stage filled with 8 saxophones, bass and drums. Now imagine that those 8 saxophones in the hands of some of the area's most creative improvisers playing original music and arrangements of Milton Nascimento, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josef Zawinul and more. Such will be the setting when Nathan Hanson's Saxophone Choir presents the TCJS Jazz From J to Z concert this Sunday at Roseville Area High School. In addition to the seasoned veterans (Hanson, George Cartwright, Scott Fultz, Pat Moriarty, Brandon Wozniak, Joe Smith, Donald Washington) and newcomer Daryk Narum, the evening will also feature the award-winning RAHS jazz ensemble playing a short opening set.
March 7. The Dakota might not be presenting as much jazz as in the past, but when they do On Wednesday, enjoy one of the greatest living purveyors of bebop, the inimitable Benny Golson, here with his quartet and special guest, vocalist Nnenna Freelon. Golson, who traces his employers back to Benny Goodman and Dizzy Gillespie, is still going strong into his 80s, while six-time Grammy-nominee Nnenna is one of the most lauded of modern-day vocalists. Golson's bandmates have their own credentials, including drummer Jason Marsalis.
More Jazz Every Night! Keep your eye on the most comprehensive live jazz calendar from Bebopified, now also posted on Jazz Police. Some additional recommendations:
Friday, March 2: Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota followed by Nachito Herrera; Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel)
Saturday, March 3: Joann Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at D'Amico Kitchen (Le Meridien/Chambers Hotel); JazZen at The Nicollet; Vicky Mountain and James Allen at First Course Bistro; Maud Hixson with Rick Carlson at The Lexington
Sunday, March 4: Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Dan Musselman and Madja Radonlilja at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (matinee); Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom
Monday, March 5: Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Vinnie Rose at Jazz Central; Jon Pemberton at Barbette
Tuesday, March 6: Phil Mattson Singers at The Nicollet; Cory Wong Quartet followed by invitational jazz at the Artists Quarter; Acme Jazz Company at the Shorewood; Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog; Tom Krochock Collective at Jazz Central; Jack Brass at the Driftwood
Wednesday, March 7: Big Band Scene, KBEM Community Education with Jerry Swanberg at South High; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Connie Evingson and Tanner Taylor, Jazz in the Lounge at the Minneapolis Woman's Club; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by the Joel Shapira Trio at the Artists Quarter; Chris Thomson/James Buckley/Phil Hey at the Nomad World Pub
Thursday, March 8: The Dakota Combo, TCJS Young Artists (7 pm), followed by Peter Schimke/Billy Peterson/Kenny Horst at the Artists Quarter; Debbie Duncan at The LexingtonComing Soon!
- March 9-10, Manhattan Transfer at the Dakota
- March 9-10, Atlantis Quartet at the Artists Quarter
- March 10, Caswell Sisters with JazzMN Orchestra at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
- March 11, PipJazz Sundays with Pippi Ardennia and Jason DeLaire
- March 11, Chris Bates Quintet Open Session II at Jazz Central
- March 12, Regina Marie Williams CD Release at the Dakota
- March 13, Graydon Peterson Quartet at The Nicollet
- March 13, James Blood Ullmer at the Dakota
- March 14, Leigh Kamman, KBEM Community Ed at South High School
- March 16-17, Richard Johnson Trio at the Artists Quarter
- March 20-21, Al DiMeola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba at the Dakota
- March 23-24, Bruce Henry at the Artists Quarter
- March 25, Chris Bates Quintet Open Session III at Jazz Central
- March 25-26, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota
- March 29, Pete Whitman X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
- March 31, Doug Little, Music of Roberto Fonseca, Jazz at Studio Z
- April 6, Irvin Mayfield Quintet at Orchestra Hall
- April 10, Cory Wong and Peña (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at Minneapolis Southwest High School
- April 10, Gary Smulyan and the McNally Smith X-Tet at the Artists Quarter
- April 15, MacPhail Center for Music Combo Festival and Spotlight Concert featuring Adam Niewood, the Dakota Combo, and MacPhail Jazz Faculty
- April 21, JazzMN Orchestra with Terell Stafford at the Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center
- April 22, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Fund Raiser at the Dakota
- April 22, Grace Kelly at the Dakota
- April 22, Doug Haining Quintet, Tribute to Cannonball Adderley (TCJS Jazz From J to Z) at the Artists Quarter
- April 29-30, Steve Tyrell at the Dakota
- May 8-9, Poncho Sanchez at the Dakota
- May 20-21, Ramsey Lewis Trio at the Dakota
- May 26, Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Orchestra Hall
- June 28-30, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mears Park (headliners Bad Plus with Joshua Redman; Delfeayo Marsalis Octet; Francisco Mela's Cuban Safari)
- July 1-2, Bill Frisell at the Dakota