The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 5-11


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A lively week of jazz is in the forecast along with a beautiful weekend for art fairs and outdoor music. We also seem to have a greater number of visiting jazzers than usual!

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, August 5. It's “masters night" at Jazz Central, and there's no better master than drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt and his Source Code. The Weather Report alum features trumpeter Solomon Parham, young sax sensation Lucia Sarmiento, guitarist extraordinaire Dean Magraw, and the always masterful bassist Ron Evaniuk.

And speaking of masters, the Ginger Commodore Quartet with velvet-voice Ginger at the helm entertains at Vieux Carré; guitarist Joel Shapira leads the way at Parma 8200; and Tim Sparks and James Buckley preside over the dinner sets at the Icehouse.

Saturday, August 6. Seems we have been pretty lucky in 2016 to have former Minnesotan, trumpeter John Raymond, returning for visits now and then. And now he's coming to prime time on the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series, in the fine company of local pals Bryan Nichols on piano and Cory Healey on drums. John was recently named to the Rising Star Trumpet list by Downbeat critics, and his recent albums, Foreign Territory in 2015 and Real Feels in 2016 provide ample evidence of his talents as performer and composer.

Opening the evening at the Black Dog will be the JazzINK Youth Showcase, this month featuring the quartet Trap Tube. This band of young lions includes Gerhardt Robinson on saxophones, Jordan Anderson on piano, Alma Engebretson on bass and Simon Petrick on drums. Check them out now, as Anderson (U of Michigan) and Engebretson (U of Denver) will be heading out of town for college studies in a few weeks. (The JazzINK Youth Showcase now moves to the Black Dog every month.)

Debbie Duncan sings and zings at Crooners Lounge, while Zacc Harris' American Reverietrio performs at Vieux Carré as part of the Lowertown Guitar Festival— this must be the upper town segment! With their Americana influenced interpretations of classic tunes, American Reverie fits right into the rootsy vibe of the festival, which is centered around Mears Park.

In his northside studio, avant-garde multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine holds the first of a series of weekly sessions, tonight with guitairst Charles Gillett and bassist Sam Wildenauer. More in the mainstream, guitarist Joel Shapiratakes the stage at Hell's Kitchen.

Sunday, August 7. It's the first “Jazz at Golden's" with the newly formed ensemble Jazz Alley, taking place 11 am- 1 pm on the patio of Golden's Deli, overlooking the St. Paul Farmers Market. Formed in the wake of this year's first-ever “Singers' Scat Off" at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest, Jazz Alley includes jazz vocalists Sarah M. Greer, Maryann Sullivan and Katia Cardenas, as well as Ted Godbout on keys and Jim Chenoweth on bass. Jazz at Golden's is currently scheduled weekly through August.

Today (4-6 pm) also brings the first of a series of Sunday jam sessions at Jazz Central. Hosted by guitarist Cole Mahlum, the jams focus on the B-3 organ and are open to all. Today's jam features Jordan Anderson on organ, Dan Carpel on bass, and Jesse Simon on drums.

Several times over the past five years, we've been lucky to hear the wide-ranging sounds of master percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani. Tonight at Studio Z he returns for one performance with pals, bassists Adam Linz and Chris Bates. There will be indescribable solo percussion and some double-double bass magic. And gongs. Monday, August 8. In the spotlight before he heads off to the University of Michigan, pianist Jordan Anderson heads a ferocious quartet of young talents at Jazz Central, with saxophonist Jack Breen (Lawrence Conservatory), bassist Charlie Lincoln (Berklee College of Music) and drummer Edmund Catlin (McGill University). Just follow the flames to the basement venue!

In the very well suited Dunsmore Room, the spirit of Nat King Cole lives through Maurice Jacox. At the Dakota, Grammy-winning bassist/multi-instrumentalist and producer Marcus Miller returns for just one night, two sets. Aside from leading his own bands, Miller has been a significant presence on recordings and tours with the likes of Eric Clapton, George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Roberta Flack, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, and Snoop Dogg.

A relatively new ensemble convenes at the Icehouse for JT's Jazz Implosion— Midnight Love includes saxophonist Peter Vircks, tombonist Matt Darling, keyboardist/organist Brian Ziemniak, bassist Patrick Nelson and drummer Greg Schutte. Notes Vircks, the band presents “organ sounds and the classic tenor sax/trombone frontline in a funky, soul jazz, rare groove setting with a romantic bent." (Note the band moves over to Vieux Carré on Thursday.)

And tonight marks the beginning of a week of Happy Hours at Crooners Lounge with Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg, a vocal/accordion (and piano) duo that charmed for years at Fireside Pizza in Richfield. There's a lot more space and a bigger menu at Crooners, but the same great swinging music.

Tuesday, August 9. Making his Dunsmore Room debut, guitarist Sam Miltich follows his white hot set at the Twin Cities Jazz festival with his virtuosic spins on hot club and swing fare, in the very fine company of bassist Gary Raynor and drummer Jay Epstein. Sam's resume includes leading the Clearwater Hot Club, duos with Charmin Michelle, and generally converting any doubters to the joys of Django and beyond.

At Vieux Carré, the very versatile pianist/vocalist/composer Linda Peterson opens the evening, followed by swinging vocalist Rhonda Laurie- it will be a great night of song and fun.

Tuesday-Wednesday, August 9-10. One-time resident, percussionist/ vocalist/ bandleader Estaire Godinez has a brief homecoming at the Dakota. A veteran of Prince, Coke Escovedo and George Benson, she reunites with former cohorts Peter Schimke, Eric Leeds, Mike Scott, Serge Akou, and Stokely Williams, with guest turns from JD Steele and Enrique Toussaint.

Wednesday, August 10. We've had many shows featuring works by women composers, but tonight in the Dunsmore Room, those composers are also on the bandstand as Vicky Mountain, Lucia Newell and Judi Vinar display their talents as both songwriters and vocalists. And their support could not be better—Phil Aaron on piano and Graydon Peterson on bass.

At Jazz Central, young bassist Charlie Lincoln has been guest hosting a monthly new music night, and this will be his finale before heading back to Boston and the Berklee College of Music. Tonight he joins up with two like-minded prodigious talents— guitarist Will Schmid and drummer Edmund Catlin.

The Zack Lozier Threereturns to Vieux Carré tonight. Led by one of the hottest trumpeters in the region, the trio spins around the sounds of New Orleans with a Minnesota translation.

Thursday, August 11. Guitar master Joel Shapira opens the evening at Vieux Carré, followed by Midnight Love, their second gig of the week (see Monday above, Icehouse). And at Khyber Pass, Thursday music features Le Percheron led by magical bassist Adam Linz with his youthful cohorts, Levi Schwartzberg on vibes and Cory Healey on drums.

Going in a global direction, the quintet Axis Mundi returns to Hell's Kitchen. Led by guitarist Glen Helgeson, the band includes “fiddle god" Gary Schulte, bassist Cody McKinney, drummer Dave Stanoch, and percussionist Michael Bissonnette.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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