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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 28-September 3

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Summer might be waning but the jazz calendars are anything but. Outdoor music and festivals are winding down, but tickets are on sale for the new Eight O'Clock Jump Series at Walker West (starting September 6) and Crooners Lounge is jump-starting its new Tuesday Night series on September 1 with a long-overdue visit from Tanner Taylor. The coming weekend and week also feature a CD release at the Black Dog from trombonist and master educator Dean Sorenson, a series debut for No Room for Squares at The Nicollet, back to back nights at the Dakota with Tootie Heath and Terence Blanchard, Maud Hixson back at Parma 8200, music of all sorts on various stages at the Stage Fair and the beat goes on.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, August 28. Heading out to the Fair? The swinging Parisota Hot Club (Robb Henry, Matt Senjem, Jay Epstein and Erin Livingstone) are on the stage at the Ramberg Senior Center for three sets starting at 10:30 am.

The patio might be nice this evening but come inside to the bar/lounge at Parma 8200 for songbird Maud Hixson and her intrepid trio with husband Rick Carlson on keys and one of his favorite partners, bassist Steve Pikal. Count on Maud to throw in a few curveballs — forgotten songs or forgotten songwriters. Clever lyrics are always in her set list.

A favorite among local jazz hounds at the 2015 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, No Room for Squares is as old fashioned as it sounds— this is good ol' bebop at its best, presented by a veteran crew who swing through the best of the era: Drummer Bill Stieger in the driver's seat, Jon Pemberton on trumpet, Jimmie Wallace on sax, Mikkel Romstad on piano and Adam Tucker on bass. They make their debut on the Friday Night Jazz at The Nicollet series.

Start up north in Fridley at Crooners with Katia Cardenas singing her way through happy hour (and again tomorrow night), then head south to St. Paul for the double-header at Vieux Carré. The night kicks off in sublime mode with the Jeremy Walker/Jeff Brueske duo, then turns around and swings the night away with Patty and the Buttons. Come early and chill out, just long enough to energize your ears for some old time swing.

A little bit different tonight at Jazz Central: Hard core jazzers Javi Santiago (piano) and Miguel Hurtado (drums) join up with the funky soulful vocalist Taylor Johnson (aka Proper-T) for a new project, dubbed Murkury.The ensemble is described as “an experimental, jazz and electro-soul band."

Vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Sam Miltich sound like a heavenly pairing, and tonight they bring their magic to “Take Love Easy," the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, at the Third Place Gallery in south Minneapolis. Normally this is not a music venue but a gallery run by photographer Wing Young Huie, but it will surely be an artful setting for these two musical treasures.

Saturday, August 29.  Dean Sorenson has been long associated with the jazz program at the U of Minnesota, which he has directed for 15+ years, yielding some of the top young jazzers on the Twin Cities scene (aka, Joe Strachan, Nelson Devereaux, Adam Meckler). But Sorenson is also a well respected arranger, composer and trombonist, skills on full display in his Dean Sorenson Sextet.A band of Twin Cities heavyweights (David Milne, Steve Kenny, Chris Lomheim, Tom Lewis, Phil Hey), the sextet will celebrate its first recording (Colors of the Soul) on the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series tonight. The music soars with the colors and energy of a big band, yet still retains the intimate collaboration of a chamber ensemble. The opening act, appropriately, features a quartet of Dean's past and current students—Ryan Christianson (trombone), Joe Strachan (piano), Matt McIntyre (bass) and Andres Crovetti (drums). At the Dakota, Patty Peterson and Friends returns for a night of soulful jazz and R&B, with Paul Peterson, Billy Franze, Bobby Vandell, Sean Turner and Ronny Loew.

Sunday, August 30. Singer/songwriter and a great jazz interpreter, Barbara Meyer joins Imaginary Numbers ("cool jazz") for an afternoon of music at the Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings, the closing act on the summer's jazz series.

Tonight the Dakota presents a real treat for jazz fans, with a trio led by the great drummer, Albert “Tootie" Heath, in the red hot company of Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street. One of the famed Heath Brothers, Tootie's resume covers six decades and includes stints with the likes of John Coltrane. With his much younger cohorts Iverson and Street, Heath recently released Philadelphia Beat, a celebration of his home town.

Over at the Icehouse, there's an early evening show for singer-songwriter Paul Spring's vinyl release, with the Chris Thomson Quartet as the opening act. Saxophonist Thomson always engages a creative group, with his most recent quartet featuring accordionist Patrick Harison, bassist James Buckley and drummer, Dosh.

Monday, August 31. If this is your night at the Fair, check out the AFL/CIO Pavilion at 5 pm for a free gig from the Doug Haining/Scott Agster Explosion Big Band (to be repeated tomorrow night). Another accomplished big band, the Acme Jazz Company, fills their monthly slot at Crooners Lounge.

A major force in jazz trumpet and composition, Terence Blanchardreturns to the Dakota with a new “plugged in" project, E-Collective, described as the intersection of jazz, R& B, funk, and fusion. The ensemble features outstanding young pianist Fabian Almazon who has been with Blanchard since 2007. The rest of the band includes guitarist Charles Altura (Chick Corea's Vigil), bassist Donald Ramsey (Dr. John, Irma Thomas), and drummer Oscar Seaton (Ramsey Lewis, Lee Ritenour). Tonight's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse is essentially the James Buckley Trio + 1, with guitar wizard Jacob Hanson joining bassist Buckley, pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer/host, JT Bates. Their debut at Studio Z on the All Originals series last month was too good to be an isolated gig.

Tuesday, September 1. It's been about a year since piano monster Tanner Taylor pulled up his Minnesota stakes and returned to his native central Iowa. It's a brief return but a welcome one, and a perfect way to launch the new Tuesday Night instrumental series at Crooners Lounge. Joining Tanner will be Graydon Peterson and Jay Epstein, making it a triple play. Making her Vieux Carré debut, vocalist Maryann Sullivanbrings her Corner Jazz band to downtown St. Paul for an evening of old-fashioned swing and standards. Her band is a bit different from its usual tonight— with Doug Haining at the State Fair, the sub on horn is son/trumpeter Preston Haining, visiting from southern California; Javi Santiago takes over the piano bench, with Steve Pikal on bass and older son Trevor Haining on drums.

It's First Tuesdays at the Black Dog, and tonight guitarist Joseph Damman sits in for Dean Magraw with Davu Seru handling percussion.

Wednesday, September 2. Brazilian-style guitarist Robert Everest and his Expedition play today and tomorrow at the International Bazaar at the State Fair (3 sets starting at 10:45 am).

Thursday, September 3. Vocal Jazz night continues at Jazz Central, now curated by Sarah Greer. Tonight she hosts Vicky Mountain“and Friends"....and her friends are always fabulous— Phil Aaron on piano and Jim Chenoweth on bass. And vocal jazz rules the evening at Crooners with the Rhonda Laurie Quartet.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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