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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, July 11-17


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Is it still summer? Some days it has been hard to tell, when it feels like April one minute and September the next and rarely July. Nevertheless, summer music is here, from big bands at park bandshells to intimate chamber ensembles in little bars. Although you would never know it by reading the Strib, there actually is a lot of jazz this week: A favorite son returns from New York for a couple of interesting gigs; a popular vocal duo reprises a hit show with the songs of Bing and Rosemary; a beloved large ensemble returns to action at Jazz Central; a Stillwater Winery hosts a day of jazz including one of our former starlets now making waves on the New York scene; the second installment of  “All Originals" features a band of young lions at Studio Z. And more.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, July 11. For those who have been missing the monthly X-Tet gigs at the Artists Quarter, and for those who somehow missed hearing this band over the past decade, rejoice! The Pete Whitman X-Tet is back on stage, tonight at Jazz Central as the featured band in the Bridge Series. And perhaps no other band better symbolizes the loss to the jazz community with the closing of the Artists Quarter. A nearly-monthly fixture for many years, this ten-piece band of local stars plays sharp originals and arrangements that sound like no other ensemble. Joining Pete will be Dave Karr, Clay Pufahl, Jeff Rinear, Adam Rossmiller, Adam Meckler, Dave Hagedorn, Joe Strachan, Brian Courage and Phil Hey.

Across town at the Black Dog, Steve Kenny has again pulled together an all-star quartet, with saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, bassist Chris Bates and percussionist Babatunde Lea. Steve pointed out that this will be his first time on the bandstand with Bates. Monk is on the menu. Expect a high degree of mayhem.

If smooth vocals and cannolli are more your style for Friday night, check out the bar/lounge at Parma 8200 in Bloomington, where Tommy Bruce and his Chet Bakeresque vocals reign supreme.

Friday-Saturday, July 11-12. There's no one on Earth as dedicated to preserving the sounds and magic of Bing Crosby than local vocalist/producer/historian Arne Fogel. With his frequent vocal partner Maud Hixson, he brings “The Crosby Clooney Story" back to the stage, this weekend at Chanhassen Dinner Theater (Friday night and Saturday matinee). First performed in Bloomington a few years ago, the show features music from Rick Carlson and the Wolverines Trio. Bing and Rosie provide the nostalgia and some of the best duets in vocal jazz history.

Saturday, July 12. Where to begin? One of the jazziest days outside of the jazz festival! For starters, there is an outdoor festival on the grounds of the St. Croix Wineryin Stillwater, starting early (11:30 am) and running into the evening with the Bryan Nichols Trio, Nancy Harms, Ticket To Brasil, Babatunde Lea, Patty Peterson and Friends, Atlantis Quartet, and Mike Salovich & Marc Anderson. In particular this is a rare opportunity to hear former resident vocalist Nancy Harms, who now is singing her way through the Big Apple and beyond.  And as long as you are in Stillwater, if you want a change of scene mid-afternoon, this is the only chance this summer to hear the Good Vibes Trio (Chris Bates, Dave Hagedorn, Phil Hey), performing a Patio Concert at FunArt Studio from 2-4 pm. While you listen, check out the truly fun art from Tim Nyberg, whose painting graces the cover of GVT's terrific album.

Jazz Central hosts a rare Saturday night event when New York trumpeter, Twin Cities native John Raymond presents a “guest forum" — Q & A and thoughts about working on the New York scene followed by a quartet performance (with Brandon Wozniak, Brian Courage and Miguel Hurtado). John is still getting accolades for his first recording, Strength and Song, but now is getting ready to release another, featuring Gilad Hekselman and Billy Hart. Note he will also perform at the Icehouse Monday, see below!

An unusual late night (10:30 pm) concert at Orchestra Hall finds conductor/pianist Andrew Litton saluting the great Oscar Peterson with selections from his new CD (A Tribute to Oscar Peterson), including a glass of champagne. There's limited seating (in the Target Atrium).

Sunday, July 13. An extra special happy hour today at the Dakota with Irv Williams, soon to celebrate his 95th birthday and a new recording. His trio usually includes guitarist Steve Blons and bassist Billy Peterson.  A bit later in the evening, enjoy the talented voices and fun interactions of Retro Swing Sister (Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie) as they swing and sway at Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville, taking you back to the 20s, 30s, 40s.

Monday, July 14. A double-header for JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse: First set features visiting French pianist Sylvain Rabbath (son of bass legend Francois), Nathan Hanson, Doan Brian Rosseler and JT Bates. There's late set, with John Raymond, his second stop on his local homecoming “tour," and this time in a chordless quartet with Brandon Wozniak, Anthony Cox and JT.  

Tuesday, July 15. Bastille Day was yesterday but down at Jazz Central, the fireworks are just beginning as the Explosion Big Band takes over the “stage" (and half the seating space?). Led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster, this band sports an all-star local cast and some terrific charts. Enjoy big band up close and acoustic!

Thursday, July 17. The second installment of All Originals series at Studio Z (curated by Steve Kenny) features a band of young lions dubbed Courageous Endeavors. With a hot new recording and plenty of original compositions, the band includes saxophonist Nelson Devereaux, pianist Joe Strachan, bassist Brian Courage and drummer Miguel Hurtado — all in their early-mid 20s and making the jazz community sit up and take notice. Jazz is alive and well for years to come with these talents.

More Jazz Every Night Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities — check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:

Friday, July 11.  Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota, followed by Nachito Herrera; Patty Peterson at Kelly Park (Apple Valley); Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at the Medina Ballroom

Saturday, July 12. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Maple Grove Jazz Ensemble at Town Green

Sunday, July 13. Maurice Jacox, brunch at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Viva Brasil at the Dakota; Stan Bann Big Band at Como Park Pavilion

Monday, July 14. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Brio Brass at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Ted Godbout at Jazz Central; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)

Tuesday, July 15.Parisota Hot Club, free concert at Bryant Square Park; Southside Aces at the Dakota; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Classic Big Band at Boerboom Park (Osseo); Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude

Wednesday, July 16. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Pete Whitman Presents at Jazz Central; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Sophia Shorai at the Dakota

Thursday, July 17. Paula Lammers and Reeves Cary at Jazz Central; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, jazz @ Christos (Union Depot)

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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