The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, November 2017


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November is not starting out in a gentle fashion, but perhaps that merely means there will be plenty of musical heat. A number of guest artists will add fuel to the fires— Lizz Wright, Phil Markowitz and Zach Brock, Ann Hampton Callway, Catherine Russell, Pat Mallinger and more; ongoing local talent showcases at the Black Dog, Jazz Central, Dunsmore Room, Boom Island, and Vieux Carre' among others; and a November kickoff featuring talented Minneapolis Schools jazz students celebrating the annual KBEM-MPS Jazz Around Minneapolis day of workshops and evening concert, this year at South High.

Big Gigs This Month

Wednesday, November 1. I recall chatting with vocalist Joyce Lyons a few years ago about her interest in Carmen McRae. Now she's saluting McRae in the Dunsmore Room at Crooners Lounge, which undoubtedly will include some of the Monk tunes McRae recorded.

At Jazz Central, Jon Morgan's “New Boundaries" series features two generations of renegades— Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on trumpet and Paul Metzger on guitar. And over at Vieux Carre', catch the Jon Pemberton Trio (Jon generally on piano) in prime time, with Kevin Gastonguay opening.

Thursday, November 2. After a successful CD release last month at the Dakota, Larry McDonough and his quartet hold a similar bash at Vieux Carre' in St Paul. Alice in Stonehenge brings together Larry's acoustic inventions in tributes to Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Tony Bennett, Chet Baker and more, along with his plugged in nods to the likes of Led Zepplin. Joel Shapria kicks of the evening with some tasty solo guitar.

Friday, November 3. Jazz Central's Illicit Jazz Workshop presents guitar legend Dean Granros and his '58 Belevedere ensemble—-with Patrick Kuehn on bass and Dave Power on drums. Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band brings some summer heat to the Dunsmore Room, while the Django Festival All-Stars led by guitar phenom Dorado Schmitt return to the Dakota.

South High and KBEM host the annual JAM—Jazz Around Minneapolis, a day of workshops for city school jazz bands culminating in an evening of performances (free!).

Saturday, November 4. Twin Cities Jazz Composers’ Workshop (JC Sanford, Adam Meckler, Aaron Hedenstrom, Kari Musil, Dave Stamps, Asuka Kakitani) have joined forces to cultivate creative jazz composition for the large ensemble in the Twin Cities area. In addition to regular reading sessions of new music, the group occasionally will hold master classes on composition and arranging topics—the first of these master classes will be held at 1pm in room 224 at McNally Smith College of Music. JC will present many examples of the historical uses of counterpoint in a large ensemble setting. Free and open to the public, students encouraged to attend, and the event will be live streamed on Facebook.

In the evening at McNally Smith, it's a fundraiser for student scholarships ("Amplify the Future"), with music fromThe New Standards, Toki Wright, Adam Levy, Pippi Ardenia, Cory Wong, Vie Boheme and more .

The west burbs boast one of the longest-running jazz concert series in the metro— Jazz @St. Barney's, curated by Jeff Whitmill, is into at least ten seasons of Saturday night music, now presented at least monthly, featuring the best and brightest in small chamber settings. Vocalist Connie Evingson is one of the most popular gigs, and tonight she's joined by Mary Louise Knutson on piano and frequent collaborator Dave Karr on sax.

Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog features a host of young lions and a veteran host: The opening set features the Julian Manzara Quartet, with the dazzling leader on guitar, along with Levi Schwartzberg (on keys here), Drew Stinson on bass and Tarek Abdelqader. In the prime time slot, Steve Kenny (Flumpet) previews an upcoming recording session with his quartet—Schwartzberg again, on vibes, with Ted Olsen on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums. Sunday, November 5. Vocalist Lizz Wright brings her down-home African soul to the Dakota, while the Dunsmore Room presents a unique duo of pianist Phil Markowitz and violinist Zach Brock— flying under the team name of Brockowitz.Markowitz has such stellar credentials as work with Chet Baker and Toots Thielemans, while Brock's resume includes Stanley Clarke and Snarky Puppy. Jazz meets West Africa, South America and the Balkans.

Monday, November 6. Bay area saxophonist Stephen Leguner brings his acclaimed SLUGish Ensembleto Jazz Central, anchored by local hero Javi Santiago on keys.

Tuesday, November 7. A classic cross-generation duo pays tribute to the great Lester Young as guitarist Sam Miltich teams up with octogenarian saxman Dave Karr in the Dunsmore Room. At Vieux Carre', the event starts elegantly with pianist Chris Lomheimsolo, followed by another of our titanic piano talents, Phil Aaron, with his trio and stunning vocalist Joyce Lyons, hot off a salute to Carmen McRae last week in the Dunsmore Room. Joyce is a force—as a vocalist and entertainer.

Wednesday, November 8. Speaking of entertainers, there is none more mezmerizing than vocalist (storyteller, comedienne, composer) Ann Hampton Calloway, returning tonight to the Dakota. Expect great songs, lots of laughs, and an opportunity to participate in one of her instant compositions.

There's a new gun in town, guitarist/composer Cody Steinmann, a recent transplant from Milwaukee. Cody presents his new band, the Sightless Quartet, at Jazz Central, performing his new music composed for the band—Javi Santiago, Ted Olsen and Pete Hennig.

Thursday, November 9. The recent Twin Cities Film Festival featured the Bill Evans documentary (Portrait of Bill Evans), and tonight the Heights Theater offers another screening with live music accompaniment from pianist (and Evans aficionado) Larry McDonough.

At First Avenue, sax superstar Kamasi Washington will blow your mind, if not your ears. A powerhouse of talent, Washington is best enjoyed in an Olympic- size stadium, so be warned—bring ear plugs. His show at the Icehouse a while back was packed but few over 30 survived the volume. Probably perfect for the First Avenue crowd.

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This story appears courtesy of JazzINK by Andrea Canter.
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