The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, June 21-27


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It seems May's cool weather brought June's showers, but with the Solstice comes the hot vibes of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, opening Thursday in St. Paul at Mears Park. And there's plenty of steam leading up to the festival.

Big Gigs This Week Friday, June 21. Welcome summer with the soft breeze that always surrounds songbird Maud Hixson, tonight in the agile company of Rick Carlson and Gordy Johnson at Parma. And help Maud celebrate getting back “on her feet" and tossing away those crutches! Expect some of the exquisite songs from her new release, Don't Let a Good Thing Get Away. Really. Don't let this get away!

Interesting instrumentation and inventive musicians combine at the Red Stag when Leisure Valleytakes the stage. With Bruce Thornton (clarinet, bass clarinet), Patrick Harison (accordion), Chris Bates (bass), and Joey Van Phillips (drums), this is top flight, late night entertainment.

Friday-Saturday, June 21-22. Dubbed “Mississippi" (there must be a story about that), this new quartet of long-time cohorts debuts at the Artists Quarter this weekend, with Pete Whitman, Peter Schimke, Jeff Bailey and Kevin Washington. All accomplished post bop specialists, there might be some touches of Brazil as well, given all have worked with Andres Prado.

Saturday, June 22. The Sibley House Historic Site in Mendota brings the past into the present as trad piano master Butch Thompson and friends celebrate the old Emporium of Jazz with this special outdoor concert. Also on hand—Charlie DeVoreon trumpet, Tom Andrewson drums,Steve Pikal on bass and guest vocalist, Lee Engele.

The new Jazz at the Ivy series continues tonight with a special family affair, as mother and son, singer Linda Peterson and saxophonist Jason Peterson DeLaire, entertain in the lounge at Porter and Frye. We should hear more from Linda over the next month or so as she spends her summer visiting family.

Sunday, June 23. Music for a summer Sunday includes vocalist Paula Lammers at Como Lakeside Pavillion in mid afternoon, and the tropical sounds of Ticket to Brasilat Lake Harriet Bandshell in the early evening. You might be inspired to dance at both (free) events.

Sunday-Monday,  June 23-24. One of the leading voices in modern jazz, saxophonist David Murray makes a long awaited return to the Twin Cities with his Infinity Quartet and neo-soul star singer Macy Gray. Murray, co-founder of the World Saxophone Quartet, has been busy with his big band in recent years, but his Infinity Quartet includes big voices—pianist Marc Cary, bassist Jaribu Shahid and drummer Nasheet Waits. The ensemble recently released Be My Monster Love(along with vocalist Gregory Porter), considered one of the best from the prolific Murray. At the Dakota for two nights, expect to hear new compositions with lyrics by Ishmael Reed and some reinventions of Macy Gray hits.

Monday, June 24. Jazz Central's Monday programming goes in two directions—veteran jazzers in new configurations and young up-and-comers. In the latter category is tonight's featured performer, trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, recent graduate of the U of M jazz program who has been heard lately with the Adam Meckler Orchestra and Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty ensembles. Expect the unexpected, particularly with the later set jam session.

And here's advance info about JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse! The first set will feature Embezzler with Adam Linz (bass), Paul Metzger (guitar) and JT Bates (drums), which should go far in melting any ice at the Icehouse. The late set is special delivery from Chicago and Norway, with improvising musicians Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Stale Liavik Solberg (drums), and Keefe Jackson (reeds).

Tuesday, June 25. And speaking of the Adam Meckler Orchestra, tonight is the band's finale at Jazz Central. With 18 musicians who are routinely pulling in and audience of 30+, AMO has literally outgrown the venue, where it has performed monthly over the past year. AMO moves to a regular slot at the Artists Quarter next month. So come early for a seat, and be ready for some of the most adventurous big band programming in the Midwest!

Wednesday, June 26. Tonight is the final installment of the Jazz in the Library pre-festival series sponsored by the St Paul Libraries, with hot Latin sounds of Salsabrosa filling the Riverview Library on the West Side. It's an early evening set, free, and will end in plenty of time to cross the bridge and head to the Artists Quarter for the Phil Hey Quartet.  Simply, the PHQ is one of the best modern jazz ensembles in the region.

Thursday, June 27. Finally, the festival comes alive from Mears Park to Mancini's to the Artists Quarter to Jazz Central and many clubs in between. It's Funk Night on the Mears Park Stage (RJ and the Soul, Black Market Brass and New Sounds Underground), stride night at the Artists Quarter (Butch Thompson and Jon Weber), Dorothy Doring and JazzFly at Golden's Deli, Teresa Manzella at the Hat Trick, Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson at Mancini's, JoAnn Funk at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel), Talking Stringsand Donald Washington at the Black Dog, Maryann Sullivan and Tanner Taylorat Jazz Central, and more. Check the festival website for full schedule.

More Jazz Every Night! Be sure to check live jazz calendars on Jazz Policeand KBEM sites. Also find a growing number of events on the Jazz Near You site, a service of All About Jazz. A few more gigs of note:

Friday, June 21. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota followed by special “Free Friday" (no cover) with the Southside Aces;  Todd Harper (solo piano) followed by the Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet at the Black Dog

Saturday, June 22. Arne Fogel at Club Saratoga (Duluth); Rhizosphere and Gnarl at the Black Dog; Neighborhood Trio at the Red Stag; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Zacc Harris Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Regina Marie Williams in “Eartha: The Whole Kitt and Kaboodle" at the Capri

Sunday, June 23.Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Café; Regina Marie Williams in “Eartha: The Whole Kitt and Kaboodle" (matinee) at the Capri;Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom;Off the Cuff #5 (improvised music) at the Aster Café. (Note: Music at the Riverview Wine Bar is temporarily discontinued.)

Monday, June 24. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Brio Brass at Como Lakeside Pavillion

Tuesday, June 25. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and Friends at the Artists Quarter; Café Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, June 26. Wolverines at Hell's Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Pete Whitman at Jazz Central; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early set at the Artists Quarter

Thursday, June 27. Charmin and Shapira at the Dakota; Connie and Herb at the Bean (Andover)

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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