The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 19-25

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Call it “Jazz Piano Week" in the Twin Cities! Two visitors and one local hero play in the Dunsmore Room, a long-time favorite is at the Dakota, and one of the most creative among local artists brings a quartet to Vieux Carré. Other hot tickets include the 100th “Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog", some favorite vocalists, and the reunions of two of the metro's most eclectic ensembles. In other words, a diverse, star-studded week in Twin Cities jazz.

Big Gigs

Friday, August 19. They have had very few gigs in the past few years but Lulu's Playground will no doubt pick up where they last left off— in a sea of original compositions with the intriguing instrumentation of trumpet, accordion, cello and guitar! Originally a foursome of Lawrence Conservatory alums, now guitarist Ben Abrahamson joins original members Adam Meckler (trumpet), Cory Grossman (cello) and Steven Hobert (piano).

Steve Kenny's All Originals Jazz series continues at Studio Z with a twist. Typically featuring “all originals" from the band, tonight, drummer Rodney Ruckus and his quartet (with Steve Kenny, Will Kjeer and Ron Evaniuk) play their version of Coltrane's “A Love Supreme," followed by a second set of Ruckus originals.

Voices to sooth your soul after a busy week take the stage on both ends of the Metro—-in the south, Arne Fogel croons in the lounge at Parma 8200; on the north end, Sophia Shorai lightens up Crooners Lounge; in between, Debbie Duncan sings at Vieux Carré, following some piano magic from Jon Pemberton.

Back for their monthly get-together at the Black Dog, the Donald Washington Group features poet J.Otis Powell along with Dick Studer on bass, and of course Donald on saxophones. And at the Dakota, Nachito Herrera starts a string of great piano nights across the metro this week.

Saturday, August 20. The Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge has its own little jazz piano festival this week, starting tonight with a rare solo concert from Ethan Iverson, most known as one-third of The Bad Plus. But Ethan has a long history in jazz going back to his early days at UW-Eau Claire, recording with Dewey Redman, serving as Music Director for the Mark Morris Dance Company, and his current, decade-plus gig with the Billy Hart Quartet. In addition to his solo performance, Ethan will lead a master class aimed at young and up-and-coming jazz pianists in late afternoon, at no charge. (But please register online.) Note another first for Crooners— a show after the Dunsmore Room show, with Maud Hixson and the Wolverines Trio appearing in Crooners Lounge (no cover).

A celebratory evening of another sort takes place at the Black Dog, where curator Steve Kenny commemorates the 100th Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog with a sterling double header that epitomizes his 100 line-ups— an early show with a young or up-and-coming band, in this case the “Western Wisconsinites" of the Mitch Rand Quartet, followed by an established group, tonight Kenny's Group 47 with Will Kjeer, Adam Tucker and Alex Burgess joining the leader on Flumpet. And with Kjeer heading up to McGill University, it might be a while before the band reconvenes.

Meanwhile, Golden's Deli is again the scene of some hot vocals with Maryann Sullivan, Sarah M. Greer and Katia Cardenas as Jazz Alley over Saturday brunch; in downtown Minneapolis, Charmin and Shapirabring their charms to the Normandy Kitchen; the Talking Strings are back at the Loring Pasta Bar; Benny Weinbeck and trio are in the lounge at Parma 8200; and the seriously fun Kronick Quintet hangs at NOLA Bistro in Osseo.

Sunday, August 21. This week's installment of Jazz in the Vineyard finds the Jon Pemberton Quintet blending with the grapes at Alexis Bailey Vineyards in Hastings, featuring saxophonist Jimmie Wallace. One of the area's longest-running gigs, the Zacc Harris Trio is back at Riverview Wine Bar.

Monday, August 22. Piano jazz continues at the Dunsmore Room with an old Artist Quarter favorite, Rick Germanson, appearing solo. Rick was a frequent guest at the AQ, and often played with vocalist Carole Martin, often making a special appearance on New Year's Eve. Today Rick is touring with Louis Hayes' Cannonball Adderly Legacy Band and with the Russell Malone Trio.

JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse features some of the hottest talents among area 20-somethings, with Javi Santiago on piano, Dan Carpel on bass, Miguel Hurtado on drums, and Proper T on vocals.

Tuesday, August 23. And again in the Dunsmore Room, finally it's the venue debut of the Chris Lomheim Trio. The trio performed last fall on the jazz series in Crooners Lounge, but now they will enjoy the intimate surroundings and splendid piano that has created a true listening room. This should be a fine fit to the often Evan-esqe style of Lomheim and the telepathic communication among the pianist, Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein.

On a different wavelength, check out the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra on Big Band Night at Jazz Central, led by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago. Or go in a hot club direction as Connie Evingson and her gypsy jazz ensemble steam up Vieux Carré, following some guitar solo synergy from Zacc Harris.

Wednesday, August 24. Vieux Carre' hosts creative pianist Steven Hobert and his quartet, with Jabari Powell on sax, Yohannes Tona on bass, and Arthur “LA" Buckner on drums. Come by early for some solo accordion with Patrick Harison. Also on Wednesday, the experimental music ensemble JelloSlave gives a rare performance, an early evening at the very compatible setting of the Mill City Museum.

In the Dunsmore Room— no piano tonight as Dean Magraw and Pat Donahue make it a double guitar session. But there indeed is piano at Jazz Central Studios, where local keyboard giant Ted Godbout plays on the “new music" night.

Thursday, August 25. Taking a break from music curator duties at Crooners Lounge, pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch brings an exemplary quartet—with Dave Karr, Billy Peterson and Pete James Johnson—to the Dakota. At Jazz Central, “vocal jazz night" takes a left turn with emcee, writer and rapper Joe Horton joining forces with percussionist Davu Seru and a surprise guest artist. And for expanded ears, the avant-garde jazz series at Khyber Pass presents multi-instrumentalist and one-man band, Milo Fine.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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