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


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It's the jazziest weekend of the year in the Twin Cities as we move into the final two days of the annual jazz festival, a couple post-fest gigs, and the screening of a documentary about the amazing musical life of one of our local veterans. And of course jazz never ends — there's always another gig.

Big Gigs This Week

Friday-Saturday, June 23-24. There's no point in enumerating the hours of jazz on the stages of over two dozen venues participating in the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The full schedule is online (with hard copies throughout the festival), and you can read “Day by Day" overviews on the Jazz Police website. Just a few strong recommendations:

Friday, 7:30 pm. The late pianist Bobby Peterson was a working local legend, not only as a performer but also as a teacher who greatly influenced the careers of many current A-listers. At Vieux Carre', a tribute to Bobby will fittingly include two of his most frequent cohorts, cousin Billy Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums, as well as a young lion more than worthy of filling Bobby's bench at the piano, 20-year-old Will Kjeer.

Friday, 8:30 pm. Clarinet virtuoso Anat Cohenreturns to the Twin Cities with her Brazilian ensemble, Choro Adventuroso, appearing on the Securian Main Stageat Mears Park. The Israeli-born, Berklee-trained, New York-based Cohen is as comfortable with choro and samba as she is with Benny Goodman. She's a joy to hear and fun to watch.

Friday-Saturday, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase covers two days this year, with 8 bands of middle and high school and college level jazz students showing their talents and enthusiasm. On stage at the Starkey Hearing Technologies Stage at Union Depot, music starts at 4 pm Friday and 1 pm Saturday, ending with the annual Dakota Combo set at 5 pm Saturday.

Saturday, 6 pm. A favorite son returns— keyboard great Bobby Lyle is back in his home territory, performing on the Main Stage. He's been back at the Dakota and Dunsmore Room but I think this will be his festival debut.· Saturday, 8:30 pm. Last year was the first Singers' Scat Off and it was so well received, we'll have another, this time on the indoor stage at TPT.

Saturday, 8:30 pm. The frosting on a tall cake, the closing headline act on the Securian Main Stage at Mears Park brings together a living legend and a legend-in- the- making as NEA Jazz Master McCoy Tyner teams up—for the first time—with 21st century sax titan Joshua Redman. Tyner's rhythm section—bassist Gerald Cannon and festival Artistic Director, drummer Francisco Mela—is the best in the business.

Saturday, 9 pm. Laura Caviani and her trio take the spotlight at Vieux Carre', as they will next week in Iowa City when they provide the Minnesota end of the Iowa- Minnesota festival exchange.

Saturday, 10/11:30 pm. Will Kjeer is having a busy festival, and his availability during his college break provides an opportunity to reunite with Steve Kenny's Group 47, playing their first gig of 2017 at the Black Dog to shut down the festival. What an ending!

The festival is in the spotlight but there's another option Friday and Saturday as the Django Festival All Stars return to the Dakota for two nights of Django-influenced hot club swing.

Sunday, June 25. One of the most prolific jazz artists in our midst is guitarist/composer Reynold Philipsek. Now he is the subject of a documentary film, A Life Well Played, screening this afternoon with live music from Reynold and friends at the Schneider Theater in Bloomington.

Another afternoon delight, Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson continue their summer months of great song with The Songs of the 30s at St Albert the Great church. And the jazz festival lingers with a post fest performance by violinist Ernest Bisong and his ensemble, at Walker West Music Academy, and a big band swinging affair with Beasley's Big Bandat the Como Lakeside Pavilion.

Monday, June 26. In the spotlight at Jazz Central, hear Ashen Fir, led by cellist Greg Byers with Jack Barrett on keys, Charlie Bruber on bass and Pete Quirsfeld on drums.

Tuesday-Wednesday, June 27-28.Pianist Richard Johnson spent a few years in the Twin Cities before taking on managing jazz clubs in the Middle East. The one-time pianist for both Wynton and Delfeayo Marsalis, Johnson returns to Minnesota for two nights in the Dunsmore Room, Tuesday with his trio and Wednesday with Debbie Duncan.

Thursday, June 29. Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie will go on hiatus pending Reverie's relocation, but not before hosting a performance by pianist Steven Hobertand his quartet (Pete Whitman, Yohannes Tona, LA Buckner). Watch for news of a new location.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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