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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 10-16


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Mother's Day this weekend - take mom out to hear some great jazz! (And if you're a mom, hint that a cool jazz gig would make a perfect gift!) This week, visiting stars include a swinging saxman, favorite ex-resident bassist, and sultry songbird, while local heroes dominate spring offerings.

Big Gigs This Week Friday-Saturday, May 10-11. A favorite of the 2005 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, saxophonist Jerry Weldon returns to the Artists Quarter for some hard-swinging, soulful mayhem. Long associated with organ stars like Jack McDuff and Mel Rhyne, this weekend Weldon jams with Sean Turner, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.

Saturday, May 11.  In the last installment of Jazz at Studio Z for this season, curator Zacc Harris takes the stage himself in tribute to Wes Montgomery, with plenty of support from Bryan Nichols, JT Bates and more. The evening starts early (5 pm) with a free, hour-long workshop about Montgomery's magic, followed at 7 pm with a couple of enlightening sets.

Way across town at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, pianist Laura Caviani presents “From Bach to Bop" with Chris Bates and Phil Hey, and special guests Dave Hagedorn, Adam Meckler and Dave Milne. Over the past year or so, Laura has been highlighting the works of classical composers, setting childhood favorites by Bach, Chopin, Schumann and more to jazz arrangements. In Hopkins, she presents a full show of re-arranged classical works.

Sunday, May 12. What better way to celebrate Mom than a concert in tribute to “Women in Jazz"? Pippi Ardennia hosts the May installment of PipJazz Sundays at Landmark Center, with very special guests, the “Women in Jazz" ensemble, an octet of musicians who recently presented a workshop, sponsored by PipJazz, Twin Cities Jazz Society and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, aimed at providing some motivation and role models to young women considering careers in jazz and music. The ensemble includes vocalists Pippi, Debbie Duncan and Patty Peterson, along with instrumental artists May Louise Knutson, Joan Griffith, Kari Musil, Sheila Early and Zosha Warpeha. In addition to the PipJazz House Band, young vocalist (13-year-old) Emily Albert-Stauning will be featured.  And another gift—any mom accompanied by a son or daughter (any age) will receive a free ticket. With a 4 pm start, the concert should end in plenty of time to take Mom to dinner!

If Mom is more of a big band fan, take her to hear the Capri Big Band this evening at the Como Park Pavillion. This long-standing band of Twin Cities musicians, led by Fay Washington, will swing and bop through engaging charts in the idyllic setting of Como Lake. Sunday-Monday, May 12-13. On the contemporary jazz scene for nearly a quarter century, Fourplay has continued on the trajectory set by their Platinum first album, winning Grammies, topping Billboard charts, and wowing audiences with their “elegant, seamless, contemporary jazz with a light sexy groove...firing on all cylinders" (All Music). The quartet -founders Bob James, Nathan East and Harvey Mason plus “newcomer" Chuck Loeb—settles in for two nights at the Dakota.

Monday, May 13. JT's Jazz Implosion continues strong at the Icehouse, and tonight it's the hip and high-flying Atlantis Quartet. With Zacc Harris, Brandon Wozniak, Chris Bates and Pete Hennig, this foursome continues to play some of the most imaginative original music in town.

Tuesday, May 14. We don't hear Framework often enough, probably because guitarist Chris Olson, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Jay Epstein are otherwise engaged in music making. So tonight at the Black Dog is special as the trio comes together for some inventive mischief.

Wednesday, May 15. A few months ago, Jeremy Walker and Kelly Rossum joined forces for one evening, and as luck would have it, it was an evening when bassist Michael O'Brien was in town. Now Michael is back and leading a trio at the Artists Quarter in celebration of his new recording, Tunes I Like To Play. For sure, these are tunes we like to hear!

Wednesday-Thursday, May 15-16. Also celebrating a new release, supernova vocalist Jane Monheit returns to the Dakota for two nights of song. Straddling jazz and pop for much of her career,  her new Heart of the Matter covers material that defines her so well—Ivan Lins, Buffy St Marie, Randy Newman, Hoagy Carmichael, and even, Jane Monheit.

Thursday, May 16. Closing out a year of rehearsals, clinics and performances, the young lions of the Dakota Combo perform their annual spring gig in Antonello Hall at MacPhail. This year, the Combo is an octet featuring three horns, violin, vibes and rhythm section, and it's a relatively young group with only two graduating seniors. Directed by Adam Linz, the Combo has already hit the stages at the Artists Quarter and Landmark Center, and will perform over the summer at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival and Burnsville Art and All That Jazz. Their repertoire runs from Ornette Coleman to Thad Jones, along with some original compositions. This concert is free, and a perfect way to inspire young musicians as well as much older jazz fans.

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, May 10. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Jimmie Wallace Duo at the Red Stag; Vicky Mountain at Parma; Chris Bates and Bryan Nichols, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Classic Big Band at the KC Hall (Bloomington); Barbara Meyer and Phil Mattson (Harold Arlen show) at Jazz Central; Vic Volare and the Lounge Lizards at Champion Ballroom Saturday, May 11. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Tanner Taylor and Dave Karr, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Fantastic Fifty Merlins—Nathan Hanson 50thBirthday celebration (with a large and highly inventive cast of musicians) at the Black Dog; Mark Bloom at the 318 Café

Sunday, May 12. Alicia Wiley at Hell's Kitchen; Patty and the Buttons, brunch at the Aster Café; Jerry O'Hagen's Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, May 13. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Headspace at the Artists Quarter; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)

Tuesday, May 14. Cory Wong Quartet followed by Dean Magraw and Friends at the Artists Quarter; Vital Organ at Hell's Kitchen; Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at Amsterdam Bar; Yohannes Tona Group at the Icehouse

Wednesday, May 15. Sue Oattes with the Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Café Maude (Penn Av); Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Steve Kenny and the Bastids followed by Triage with Michael O'Brien at the Artists Quarter Thursday, May 16. Dave Karr Quartet at the Artists Quarter; Beasley's Big Band at Wabasha Street Caves; Casey O'Brien Trio at the Red Stag

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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