The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, February 26 - March 6


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It's hard to believe that the Twin Cities Jazz Festival begins in 4 months - is “hot summer" really that close? At ten below, as I write this, summer seems pretty remote. At least there is music to warm our ears and hearts if not our heads and feet! This week, both Patty Peterson and Dave King pop up a couple times; our own New Orleans style brass band celebrates Mardi Gras; Bach meets jazz; the U of M hosts its annual jazz festival with Minnesota's First Family of Music as guest artist; and one of the world's most popular vocal ensembles returns to town. That's enough to keep the jazz fires burning.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday, February 28. The performance season at the Bloomington Center for the Arts goes south tonight as the Jack Brass Band celebrates Mardis Gras and the history of New Orleans brass bands. Led by drummer Mike Olander and featuring some of the best brass artists in town (Adam Rossmiller, Adam Meckler, Scott Agster, Gus Sanberg, Mike Mello, Scott Moriarty), along with snare drum ace Reid Kennedy, JBB will help melt the snow as they take us into Crescent City.  Not far away at Parma 8200, popular singer Patty Petersonmakes her debut in the bar/lounge, one of the more intimate settings to hear this remarkable musician.

For avant-garde fans, it's a rare appearance these days for multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine, performing at the Black Dog with “Davu Seru and Friends,"with Seru on percussion and Andrew Lafkas on bass. And for those lamenting the closing of the Artists Quarter, Jazz Central presents a new installment of The Bridge series, tonight with vibes master Dave Hagedorn, guitarist Zacc Harris, bassist Brian Courage and drummer JT Bates. In other words, a killer quartet, doing a “Bags and Wes" tribute.

Saturday, March 1. The U of M hosts its annual jazz festival, bringing in 13 middle and high school ensembles for a series of clinics and adjudications. In the evening, the festival concert features vocalist Patty Peterson and the First Family of Music (siblings Billy, Ricky, Paul and Linda) with U of M jazz ensembles. The concert is free — surely the bargain of the weekend.

In St. Paul at the History Theater, it's the third annual collaboration among the Bach Society and jazz trio Framework (Chris Olson, Chris Bates, Jay Epstein), along with special guest Pete Whitman, exploring the connections between Baroque and Jazz. "This year is very exciting as Chris Olson has created some pieces for the entire group that integrate us into an ensemble," says Bates. “I can't think of another ensemble that has this instrumentation of harpsichord (Paul Boehnke), viola de gamba (Julie Elhard), baroque violin (Jin Kim), sax, guitar, bass and drums." Me either.

Sunday, March 2. The MacPhail Center for Music again hosts a day of clinics and critiques for small student ensembles in its annual Combo Festival, culminating in an evening concert that features guest clinicians of the Dave King Trucking Company. Dave joins the Dakota Combo (high school student ensemble) for the opening set, followed by the full Trucking Company — including saxophonist Chris Speed, in from New York, with fellow Truckers King, Adam Linz, Erik Fratzke and Brandon Wozniak. It's an early evening — concert at 5 pm in Antonello Hall. Monday, March 3. First Monday at the Icehouse! That means JT's Jazz Implosion features local legend Dave Karr with Adam Linz and JT Bates. You may never hear a finer example of cross-generational improvisation. Over at Jazz Central, saxophonist Dave Brattain has a too-rare evening leading the house ensemble and late jam session.

Monday-Tuesday, March 3-4.  The revered Manhattan Transfer doesn't play too many club dates but fortunately the Dakota is a favorite stop. For nearly 40 years now, the vocal quartet has been swinging around the world with its signature harmonies and terrific soloists —with only personnel change since the beginning, and even that was a few decades ago! Joining Tim Hauser, Alan Paul and Janis Siegel this tour is Katie Campbell, filling in for Cheryl Bentyne. It's the second time we've missed Bentyne in the last three visits, but no doubt Campbell is up to the task given her history with Sheryl Crow and Bobby McFerrin.

Wednesday, March 5. Foodie Nights are always a bargain at the Dakota— no cover, usually some deals on food and wine, and typically stellar local talent. No exception tonight as Debbie Duncan takes the stage — and she takes no prisoners! From ballads to blues, from sweet to sassy, Debbie is a favorite entertainer. Thursday, March 6. Walker Art Center presents the series “Sound Horizon" in conjunction with the current Jim Hodges exhibit, and tonight's free 6 pm concert features Bad Plus drummer, Trucking Company CEO Dave King. A rare opportunity to enjoy King in a solo set. Did I say “free"?

Vocal Night at Jazz Central presents very accomplished singer Lila Ammons and a favorite cohort, pianist Thom West. West was one of Lila's early partners as she got established on the Twin Cities jazz scene. He swings hard and fast, and she has no trouble keeping pace! Enjoy this rare duo performance in an perfectly intimate space.

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, February 28. Irv Williams and Peter Schimke, happy hour at the Dakota followed by Seven Steps to Havana; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Todd Harper, solo piano at the Black Dog; Carleton College Jazz Ensemble, Concert Hall at Carleton College; Steve Kenny at Senor Wong

Saturday, March 1. Pig's Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Club; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske at the Lobby Bar (Saint Paul Hotel); Zacc Harris Trio at the Loring Pasta Bar; Phil Aaron and Jeremy Boettcher, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen

Sunday, March 2. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's Cafe; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; Doug Little Quartet at Eat Street Social; Klezmatics at the Dakota

Monday, March 3. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Southside Aces at Famous Dave's (Uptown); the Neighborhood Trio at Barbette

Tuesday, March 4. Bill Simeonson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Jack Brass Band at the Amsterdam Bar; Three Loud at Cafe Maude; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's

Wednesday, March 5. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Retro Swing Sister at the Eagles Club; Anthony Cox Presents at Jazz Central; Gypsy Mania at Barbette Thursday, March 6. Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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