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The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 23-29


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A summery holiday weekend will set the stage for some steamy music, starting with some “good vibes" at Jazz Central, setting the stage for more hefty strings and one of the most sublime trios in jazz as we move toward the end of the month.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, May 23.  The Bridge Series at Jazz Central presents the Good Vibes Trio, headed by Chris Bates with pals Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey. They're still celebrating the release of their debut CD, with unique arrangements of Mingus, Monk, Coltrane, and Coleman as well as original compositions. These are three of the most inventive musicians in town, and together they are a creative force unlike any other.  And that's just the first part of the evening — stay for a late night double header led by another creative bassist, Andrew Foreman, appearing with two bands back-to-back—the Ben Abrahamson Quartet and Foreman's Chomksy ensemble. Foreman leaves soon for a few months of out-of-town gigs.

At Parma 8200, spend a Friday night with the smooth vocals of Arne Fogel and the swinging company of Rick Carlson and Keith Boyles. Add some pasta or flatbread, a glass of wine, and you have a relaxing start to the holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 24. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske have only two more Saturday nights at the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel before taking their annual summer break. One of the longest-standing jazz gigs in town, this duo breathes new life into the standards of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Blossom Dearie and more. (They will be back for three nights during the Twin Cities Jazz Festival!)

Normal 0 false false false Sunday, May 25. Remember the Hall Brothers at the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota? Pianist/clarinetist Butch Thompson pays tribute to the band and its long-time home with “Blues, Rags and Stomps: Homage to the Emporium of Jazz," featuring many of the original band members and a dance floor at the Cedar Cultural Center. The event is apparently sold out, but check with The Cedar, there might be a cancelation? Monday, May 26. What's better than a Memorial Day picnic at the zoo? How about Jack Brass Band at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory? Heading a Second Line Parade around the zoo grounds (10:30 am, 11:45 am, and 12:40 pm), Minnesota's own NOLA brass band makes every time they play a holiday.

Monday-Tuesday, May 26-27. The Philadelphia Weekly calls Victor Wooten the “coolest bassist...ever." One of the founding members of Bela Fleck's Flecktones, Wooten is also well-established in his own right as a soloist; he's a 5-time Grammy winner and perpetual “best" among electric bassists. He'll be at the Dakota for two rockin' nights.

Tuesday, May 27. Big band night at Jazz Central brings back the new Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, led by Geoff Senn and Mac Santiago, and filled with the region's best.  Hearing a large ensemble in such an intimate space is a special treat — acoustic music never sounded so big, yet so intimate. And speaking of intimate, pianist Rick Carlson goes solo at Cafe Maude — how cool is that?

Wednesday, May 28. Always coming up with a new project, guitar wizard Dean Magrawbrings the Prairie Rhythm Section to the Dakota tonight, with pals Gary Raynor on bass and Pete Johnson on drums. Bits of Prairie Home Companion will likely seep into the music!

Around the corner at Hell's Kitchen, the Wolverines Trio (Rick Carlson, Steve Pikal, Jendeen Forberg) welcome one of their favorite songbirds, Maud Hixson. Nothing beats a good night in Hell!

Thursday, May 29. Think of the great piano trios — Nat King Cole, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Brad Mehldau, Tommy Flanagan, Fred Hersch... and certainly Bill Charlap. With long-time cohorts Peter Washington and Kenny Washington, Charlap is one of the most sublime interpreters of jazz standards. At the Dakota for two sets only.

At Jazz Central, the Vocal Showcase presents Rhonda Laurie. Rhonda's songbook keeps growing, filled with less common standards and more modern tunes that benefit from her savvy interpretations.

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 23. Irv Williams with Steve Blons and Steve Pikal, happy hour at the Dakota; Patty Peterson and Friends at School II; KBEM Spring Riverboat Cruise from Crosby Park (contact KBEM for tickets); Twin Cities Cabaret Network (Jennifer Eckes and Kevin Hohlstein) at Honey

Saturday, May 24. JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Patrick Harison and Jame Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Rhizosphere at the Black Dog

Sunday, May 25. Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar

Monday, May 26. Riverside Swing Band at Famous Dave's (Uptown); Bookhouse Trio at Barbette

Tuesday, May 27. Dick & Jane's Big Brass Band at Zeke's Unchained Animal; Zacc Harris and Guests at the Black Dog

Wednesday, May 28. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Graydon Peterson Quartet at Jazz Central; South High Community Jazz Band at Minnehaha Falls Park

Thursday, May 29. Joel Shapira at Hell's Kitchen; Ari Nahum, late set at Jazz Central; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @ Christo's (Union Depot)

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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