The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 24-March 2


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If the past week was a whirlwind of jazz, then this Saturday alone will keep our ears spinning. In the vortex this week—Julian Lage, John Scofield, Laura Caviani and Chris Olson, Jack Brass Band, the Pat Moriarty-Phil Hey Duo.... keep the gigs coming.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, February 24. One-time featured trombonist with Maynard Ferguson and renowned educator Steve Weist heads the music at the Augsburg College Jazz Festival, with a public concert tonight in Hoversten Chapel on the Augsburg campus. And in a rare calendar shift, the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra jumpstarts the weekend at Jazz Central.

At Vieux Carre', the evening opens with pianist Jeremy Walker, followed by a swingfest with the Southside Aces— likely they will give at least a nod to upcoming Mardi Gras— after all, New Orleans is the theme at Vieux Carre'!

At the Icehouse, strings rule as Jake Hanson and James Buckley (guitar and bass) cover the dinner hours.

Friday & Sunday, February 24 & 26. For those in the East Metro, here's a chance to enjoy the music of Bacharach and David channeled through the voices of Arne Fogel and Jennifer Eckes. This beguiling pair reprise their What the World Needs Now, first performed in Bloomington, now coming to the stage of the Hastings Art Center.

Saturday, February 25. It is a wild night for jazz guitar fans: Back-to-back Grammy winner John Scofield and his Country for Old Men quartet play 2 sets at the Dakota. The touring band includes Larry Goldings on keys, Vicente Archer on bass and Bill Stewart on drums, turning country hits into the jazz worthy gems that garnered the Grammy's 2017 Jazz Album of the Year and Improvised Jazz Solo awards. Be ready for their renditions of “Red River Valley" and “Wayfaring Stranger."

In Hopkins, the Art Center hosts young veteran Julian Lage, teaming up again with bluegrass specialist Chris Eldridge. The duo impressed a couple years ago at the Dakota.

On the Jazz at St Barneys' schedule—at St Barnabas Church in Plymouth— it's the relatively new duo of pianist Laura Caviani and guitarist Chris Olson. Both of these musicians are gaining popularity for their singing as well as instrumental talents, having performed recently at the Black Dog and Jazz Central.

And guitar shines again in the opening set for Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog with the young lions of the Julian Manzara Quartet— Manzara on guitar, Drew Stinson on bass, Levi Schwartzberg on vibes, and Geo Randall on drums. Stick around for the “headline" sets with Jesse Simon's Minnesota Hard Bop Collective— this edition featuring trumpeter Jake Baldwin, saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom, pianist Ted Godbout and bassist Ted Olsen, joining drummer Simon.

Mardi Gras is Tuesday but you can celebrate on Saturday out at the Bloomington Center for the Arts with the always jumpin' Jack Brass Band, one of the area's few authentic NOLA ensembles, and surely one of the most entertaining anywhere.

Another touch of Crescent City can be found on the menu at Bistro LaRoux in Circle Pines, where Saturday's music comes courtesy of Maud Hixson, with Rick Carlson on keys and Gary Schulte on violin.

More— Talking Strings at Loring Pasta Bar, Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200, and Tim Sparks joins James Buckley at the Icehouse. Sunday, February 26. Saxophonist, composer, educator and bandleader Dave Milne put together the One World Consort a few years ago, melding jazz, classic and world music into one ensemble. The project takes a Celtic turn Sunday night, appropriately at the Celtic Junction Art Center, when Dave and company team up with vocalist Laura McKenzie.

Mill City Hot Club does brunch at Hell's Kitchen, Patty and the Buttons work the same shift at the Aster Cafe, Cole Mahlum hosts the afternoon B-3 jam at Jazz Central, and the Zacc Harris Trio continues their Sunday nights at the Riverview Wine Bar.

Monday, February 27. The Ted Olsen Quartet performed a powerful set at the recent Winter Jazz Festival and now they take the spotlight at Jazz Central—bassist Ted's usual cohorts are Aaron Hedenstrom, Javi Santiago and Miguel Hurtado. Weekly jam follows.

Tuesday, February 28. It will be a rare solo night at Jazz Central with the spotlight on pianist Javier Santiago, surely one of the most savvy young keyboard artists in the region, and we so rarely get to hear him on his own. And Tuesday is Mardi Gras— no better place to celebrate than at Crooners with Patty and the Buttons— come early as “Patty"— aka Patrick Harison— and his accordion cover happy hour.

Pianist/Accordionist Steven Hobert leads a new ensemble “Despejada" with Ben Abrahamso (guitar) and Krissy Bergmark (tablas), opening for the Ventanas at The Cedar. And fun is surely brewing at the Dakota with the Travis Anderson Trio.

Wednesday, March 1. March roars in with the Larry McDonough Quartet filling Vieux Carre' with the music of Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. With his long-standing band (Richard Terrill on saxophones, Greg Stinson on bass, Dean White on drums), Larry offers his interpretations of both Evans and Bennett in an evening devoted to celebrating the all-too-short partnership that yielded two albums in the mid-70s. The quartet samples from both albums in the first set, while the second set features tunes that Evans and Bennett recorded separately but never in duo.

It's an improvisers' blowout at Jazz Central with two long-time duo partners, Pat Moriarty and Phil Hey. This sax and drum pair has presented free jazz since 1976— but over the past decade, maybe they have reunited only three times. Back in the day, they won a Minnesota Music Award as Best Contemporary Jazz Group; they put out an album Let Them All Come, and received a Best Live Show of the Year award from City Pages. The music is unrehearsed— see and hear jazz develop on the bandstand!

The Wolverines Trio holds their monthly gig at Hell's Kitchen, and Debbie Duncanreturns to the Dakota— a perfect mid-week slump antidote.

Thursday, March 2. Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie presents one of the hippest local bands of the decade, Mancrush, led by drummer Lars-Erik Larsen and featuring Brandon Wozniak on sax, Zacc Harris on guitar, and Bryan Nichols on keys. At Jazz Central, singer-songwriter Carl Franzen and guitarist Chris Beaty make a special appearance on Vocal Jazz night, while the Jana Nyberg Group takes the stage in Crooners Lounge.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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