The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 2018


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Jazz fans hopefully have some relevant New Year's resolutions— to get out and hear more live jazz, to attend more diverse jazz events in the area, to contribute to our stellar non-profit jazz organizations and venues. Artists, club owners, and curators are wasting no time getting a new year of music underway— already the January calendar boasts such international talents as Jon Weber, Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut and Roberta Gambarini, with the third annual Winter Jazz Festival welcoming headliners Regina Carter and Butch Miles. And local talents start the new year right, including gigs from Framework, Travis Anderson Trio with Connie Evingson, the Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson's “He Said, She Said," Steve Kenny's Group 47, a live recording session from Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak, and an already-sold out performance from Fat Kid Wednesdays, among other offerings.

Big Gigs This Month

Wednesday, January 3. A star composer and trombonist, Rose Lewis is back on stage as an active performer and bandleader after being sidelined by illness for the past 16 years. At Jazz Central tonight, Rose Lewis and Friends present new original music on the New Boundaries series curated by Jon Morgan. And it's a talented pool of friends—Greg Lewis on trumpet, Dave Milne and Nathan Hanson on saxophones, Graydon Peterson on bass, and young lions Will Schmid on guitar and Edmund Catlin on drums.

At the Dakota, the ever-popular Travis Anderson Trio adds another big draw—vocalist Connie Evingson. This will be one of the most swinging nights of music you'll hear this month!

Thursday, January 4. Guitarist Will Schmid is home on holiday break from studies at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and he's making the most of his “down" time. After warming up with Rose Lewis last night, Will has assembled an all-star band of his own, at the Black Dog with Jake Baldwin, Graydon Peterson, and Jesse Thorson. For the first Vocal Jazz Night of 2018, Jazz Central and curator Sarah M. Greer present Vicky Mountain with guitarist David Martin with a night of hip Pop and cool originals – and a favorite standard or two thrown in for seasoning. And some surprise guests!

At Vieux Carre', renowned educator Tom Wells leads the new Selby Avenue Brass Band.

Friday, January 5. The Illicit Jazz Workshop at Jazz Central presents the Solomon Parham Quintet, featuring Eric Gravatt on drums, Ron Evaniuk on bass, Andy Nelson on saxophones and Phil Aaron on piano. In the Dunsmore Room, the Friday late night series continues with Pete Whitman's Mississippi, featuring Peter Schimke on keys, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Kevin Washington on drums.

Saturday, January 6. It might seem like an unlikely combination, but veteran bluesman Cornbread Harris has recently teamed up with jazz/Brazilian guitarist John Penny. They present their collaboration over brunch at the Icehouse.

The Saturday night jazz series continues at Boom Island Brewing under the curatorial skills of Jesse Simon. Tonight, “youngish veterans" of the Joe Mayo Quartet take the bandstand in the Boom Room. Joining saxophonist Mayo will be trumpeter Omar AdbulKarim, bassist Ted Olsen, and drummer Pete James Johnson.

Now well into its fourth year of weekly gigs, the Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog series features the too-seldom-heard Group 47, led by series curator Steve Kenny on Flumpet, with Thomas Strommen on sax, Will Kjeer on piano, Adam Tucker on bass and Alex Burgess on drums. The opening set features the almost-monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase, tonight presenting Liquid Vinyl, an octet led by high school drummer Nick Adams.

Sunday, January 7. The big band sounds of the Acme Jazz Company return to Crooners Lounge, joined by frequent vocal partner Arne Fogel.

Tuesday, January 9. Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson are back in the Dunsmore Room, this time with their salute to women songwriters in “He Said, She Said." At Vieux Carre', it's JT Bates' Grain Trio featuring Kevin Gastonguay on B-3.

Thursday, January 11. “Piano trio finery" is how critics have described the Mary Louise Knutson Trio. With long-time partners Gordy Johnson on bass and Phil Hey on drums, pianist MLK is back in the Dunsmore Room tonight.

At Jazz Central, Vocal Jazz night features Aja Parham—and she's not as well known as some of our top vocalists around town, but she ought to be.

Tuesday-Wednesday, January 16-17. It's pretty much an annual event: The Roy Hargrove Quintet performs at the Dakota, featuring one of the genre's top trumpeters in the company of one of modern jazz's top ensembles.

Sunday-Monday, January 21-22. All-star collaborations don't get much better than this one: The powerhouse Cyrus Chestnut Trio, most recently in town for the 2016 Winter Jazz Fest, teams up with internationally acclaimed vocalist Roberta Gambarini.

Friday, January 26. Pianist Jeremy Siskind comes to town to lead a student piano workshop, and he's also teaming up with the Bates brothers for a trio night in the Dunsmore Room. He's previously performed here with frequent collaborator, vocalist Nancy Harms.

Sunday, January 28. The third annual Winter Jazz Festival moves to a new venue with a new partnership—Crooners Lounge. With two stages (the lounge and the Dunsmore Room) going throughout the afternoon and evening, both large and small ensembles will feature the best local talents as well as headliners Regina Carter and Butch Miles.

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