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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, June 6-12


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With the Twin Cities Jazz Festival just three weeks away, we seem to be steadily building toward that climax with a busy jazz weekend and beyond. Former AQ owner Kenny Horst returns to the trapset; the Dave King Trucking Company wraps up a Midwest tour; the festival's “pre-game" series in Saint Paul Libraries launches with a new version of “Sambanova," the annual Jazz on the Prairie brings a full afternoon and evening of big band magic;  Chris Bates' Red Five returns to Jazz Central... and more.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, June 6. What Would Monk Do? The question was asked first in 2009 at the Artists Quarter by Steve Kenny, Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst, and only a couple times since. But the guys are back tonight at the Black Dog, bringing their unique interpretations of Monk's music as well as original compositions inspired by Monk. Not sure what Monk would do but we sure plan to have a good time!

Jazz Central presents a rare Friday double-header. Leading off as part of the weekly Bridge Series, JT Bates initiates an Organ Trio featuring keyboardist Kevin Gastonguay and guitarist Zacc Harris, playing music from Tony Williams, Grant Green, Monk, Lena Horne and more. Following JT, pianist (and accordionist) Steven Hobert celebrates the launch of his Kickstarter campaign with a free set of solo piano creations.

Friday-Saturday, June 6-7. The Dave King Trucking Company is fast becoming a nationally and internationally recognized ensemble of creative artists. They've been touring the Midwest this past week  with their new vinyl recording, Adopted Highway, and now they settle into the Icehouse for two late nights of fun and music— and with their full ensemble: King on drums, Brandon Wozniak and New Yorker Chris Speed on saxophones, Adam Linz on bass, Erik Fratzke on guitar.

Saturday, June 7. Dakota Late Night brings an unusual ensemble of eight creative musicians, the Fall of the House of Usher, playing Afrobeats, Psychedelic Miles, New Orleans Funk, and 80s No Wave: Christopher Cunningham, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Greg Schutte, drums; Jon Davis, clarinets; Nelson Deveraux, saxophones; Adrian Larkin and Ivan Cunningham, altos; Elliott Wachs, baritone. 

Sunday, June 8. Jazz in the Library, a collaboration between the Saint Paul Library system and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, launches its fourth season with the guitar duo of Joan Griffith and Sam Miltich reinterpreting Joan's Brazilian project, “Sambanova." Sam will bring a hot club spin to the music of Brazilian heavyweights like Jobim as well as Joan's original works based on Brazilian folk traditions. This first of three Jazz in the Library gigs takes place downtown at the Saint Paul Central library at 2 pm.

At Staring Lake Park in Eden Prairie, it's the 24th Annual Jazz on the Prairie Festival— maybe the metro's longest-running jazz festival?  From 2 pm til dark, hear hourly sets from the Bend in the River Big Band, Just Friends Big Band, The Good News Big Band, The River City Jazz Orchestra, The ACME Jazz Company, and host Jazz on the Prairie Big Band.

And for something a little bit different, it's the annual recital by students at the Connie Olson School of Music, at Famous Dave's (Uptown) at 4:30 pm. Every year, vocalist and voice instructor Connie brings her students (from young beginners to teens and much older adults) to the stage with a top combo of area pros, and you can count on a tune from Connie herself and perhaps some acclaimed guests. And it's free.

Monday, June 9. One of the best freebies of the summer — the Mary Louise Knutson Trio (with Chris Bates and Greg Schutte) performs a free public gig at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Plymouth) in conjunction with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association annual convention.  You don't have to be part of the convention to attend the evening's concert. Over at Jazz Central Studios, the weekly Featured Artist will be trumpeter Adam Rossmiller - often heard with Snowblind, Jack Brass, the X-Tet and more.

Tuesday, June 10. For the sublime, it's the monthly installment of A Chris Olson Project at the Black Dog, with the inventive guitarist and a special guest; for the dazzle of big band, one of the best—the Cedar Avenue Big Band— squeezes into the intimate surroundings of Jazz Central.

Wednesday, June 11. It's been about 2 years since bassist Chris Bates gathered friends and brother JT to begin work on a fistful of his original compositions, yielding the Red Five ensemble and a much acclaimed recording, New Hope.  Tonight the original quintet returns to Jazz Central— Bates, Bates, Chris Thomson, Brandon Wozniak and Zack Lozier.

Thursday, June 12. Another new ensemble — Kinghorn/Baldwin, Inc. merges the talents of two young trumpeters, Cameron Kinghorn and Jake Baldwin, but here Kinghorn puts down the horn to focus on his vocals, which have been heard now and then with the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Tonight they take a late set at Jazz Central (following the weekly Vocal Jazz night, tonight with Melody Mendis) with pals Ted Godbout (piano), Matt Peterson (bass), and Andres Corvetti (drums). Jazz meets soul.  Meanwhile at the Amsterdam, Jack Brass Band kicks some... brass.

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. Some additional gigs of interest this week:

Friday, June 6. Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota; Vicky Mountain at Parma 8200; Dave Karr and Tanner Taylor, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Patty Peterson and Friends at Bunkers; Charmin Michelle and the Twin Cities Jazz Imports at House of Pizza (Sartell, MN); Classic Big Band at the K of C Hall (Bloomington)

Saturday, June 7. Pig's Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Aerie Club; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Dean Brewington Trio at the Loring Pasta Bar; Jazz Central All Stars at the Hollywood Theater (Montivideo, MN)

Sunday, June 8. Mill City Hot Club, brunch at Hell's Kitchen; Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; South Side Big Band, Como Park Lakeside Pavilion (3 pm); Firebell at the Black Dog (4 pm); Ticket to Brasil at the Lake Harriet Bandshell; Emily Bear at the Dakota; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, June 9. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Maple Grove Jazz Ensemble on the Town Green; Minneapolis Police Swing Band at Como Park Pavilion; JT's Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)

Tuesday, June 10. Nova Jazz Orchestra at the Minnesota Music Cafe; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar

Wednesday, June 11. Twin Cities Mobile Jazz Project at Powderhorn Park (4 pm); Good News Big Band at Centennial Lakes Park; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Patrick Harison at Cafe Maude

Thursday, June 12. Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @ Christos at the Union Depot; Minnesota Jazz Orchestra at Wabasha Street Caves; River City Jazz Orchestra at Como Park Pavilion

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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