The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, May 31-June 6


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Patios are open, lilacs have bloomed, our first summer storms have thundered through. It's time for outdoor band concerts, neighborhood festivals, and always, more music.

Big Gigs This Week Friday, May 31. After taking a maternity break, Nichola Miller is back on stage, swinging and sassy as ever. I caught her “return" gig at Hells' Kitchen Wednesday night, and now she's back for another night in Hell, this time with partner Tanner Taylor.  Baby Charlie might sing before he can talk!

Friday-Sunday, May 31-June 2. Sometimes our internationally acclaimed jazz bands are more often on the road than here at home. And a band like Happy Apple has to coordinate 3 globe-trotting musicians' schedules. The stars align this weekend, however, with Mike Lewis, Erik Fratzke and Dave King together on the Artists Quarter stage for three nights. King is just back from a European tour with the Bad Plus, but he'll nevertheless be at full throttle.

Monday, June 3. Need a midday break? The always-fun Jack Brass Band performs in Rice Park (St Paul) at noon. You can find something tasty from one of the food trucks or nearby cafés, and hopefully it will be one of our rare dry days! Tonight, Jazz Central continues to promote new and veteran musicians, this time putting the spotlight on young Will Kjeer. Will has another year of high school ahead of him, but a number of first-class gigs behind him, including at the Artists Quarter where he currently holds the piano chair for Steve Kenny and the Bastids. You gotta hear this guy.

Tuesday, June 4. Busy jazz day! If it's the first Tuesday of the month, then it's Dean Magraw and Davu Seru at the Black Dog. This guitar/percussion duo has been holding intimate conversation at the Black Dog for the past year plus. Down the street at the Artists Quarter, it the first of three consecutive Tuesdays with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst creating trio magic with one of the area's finest - tonight with guitarist Zacc Harris. (Watch for Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak in the following weeks.)

It's big band night at Jazz Central, tonight featuring the Bill Simonsen Big Band. Trumpeter Simonsen may have one of the most eclectic resumes in the Twin Cities -from studying and leading bands in Norway to playing locally with the Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, JazzMN Orchestra and Cedar Ave Big Band, from leading a band for the North Stars hockey team to backing such notables as Cab Calloway, Joan Rivers, Mitzi Gaynor, the Temptations, and the Four Tops. As Tom Surowicz noted in the Strib, Bill's big band may be the best the you've never heard!

Café Maude on Penn Avenue continues to offer live music, including jazz, at least two nights per week. Tonight, it's Triosé, the hip relatively new trio with Vinnie Rose, Jeremy Boettcher and Adrian Suarez. Nice to have the guys right in the heart of the city - you can usually catch them at one or another Shanghai Bistro on weekends.

Wednesday, June 5. Another midday diversion - Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie team up as Sisters Swing over the lunch hour at Landmark Center. And it's a busy night in the Cities. The Jana Nyberg Group celebrates “Foodie Night" at the Dakota with their enticing takes on jazz classics, some pop covers, and some original music from vocalist/ flautist Jana. 

Across the river at the Artists Quarter, free-improvising Pat Moriarty and Phil Hey recreate their 1970s duo collaboration, sandwiching  a duet set in between two sets of “Round Trip" with Chris Thomson and Tom Lewis, a recreation of their Ornette Coleman repertory band of the late 70s-early 80s.

Thursday, June 6.  It's Vocal Night at Jazz Central, tonight featuring two swinging soulmates, vocalist Vicky Mountain and pianist Tanner Taylor.  At the Artists Quarter, Vicky's usual pianist Chris Lomheim brings his trio to the stage - his instrumental gigs don't come often enough!

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 31. Todd Harper at the Black Dog; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota followed by the Kevin Washington Quartet (Late Night)

Saturday, June 1. Jazz on the Prairie Big Band at Round Lake Park (Eden Prairie);  Paul Harper Trio at the Loring Pasta Bar; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (St Paul Hotel); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma

Sunday, June 2.Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Café; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at Cinema Ballroom

Monday, June 3. Southside Aces at Famous Dave's (Uptown); Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Southside Big Band at Centennial Lakes; BBB Jazz Orchestra at Lake Harriet Bandshell; Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse; Tommy and the Liebermen at the Dakota; Russ Peterson Big Band with Charmin Michelle at the Old Log Theater

Tuesday, June 4. Cory Wong Quartet, early show at the Artists Quarter; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's

Wednesday, June 5. Connie Evingson with Dave Karr and Tanner Taylor, “Jazz in the Lounge" at the Minneapolis Woman's Club; Steve Kenny and the Bastids, early show at the Artists Quarter; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson at Three Crows (Delano)

Thursday, June 6. Rebirth Brass Band at the Dakota; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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