Friday, December 10, 2010

Live jazz to see in Minneapolis-St. Paul: This week's picks

For those of you who used to read the weekly jazz picks in MinnPost's now-defunct Arts Arena, welcome to their new home.

SATURDAY CANCELLED DUE TO SNOWSTORM Friday-Saturday: Bryan Nichols Quintet. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen pianist/composer Nichols play in the past few years. I go to a lot of his gigs. He plays interesting music with interesting musicians, including some I also follow around town. It’s nice when they’re together on the same stage and I don’t have to choose. Increasingly, Nichols' music is original, his own compositions. The quintet includes Michael Lewis and Brandon Wozniak on multiple saxophones, Eric Fratzke on electric bass (Fratzke is standing in for the quintet’s usual bassist, James Buckley, who’s on the road with the Blenders), and JT Bates on drums. Gentlemen, start your engines. Here’s a very recent interview with Nichols. (We spoke on Thursday morning.) Friday-Saturday, Dec. 10-11, 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter, in the basement of the Hamm Building in St. Paul ($10).

CANCELLED DUE TO SNOWSTORM Saturday: Maud Hixson and Denny Malmberg. I haven’t yet been out to Pardon My French, the bakery, café, and wine bar in Eagan, but I’m happy to learn they’re featuring live jazz on occasion. Lee Engele had her CD release there in October, and guitarist David Roos played there earlier this month. On Saturday, Maud and Denny will no doubt explore some of Maud’s French repertoire. Don’t be afraid; she once worked as a French interpreter for Northwest Airlines. Denny is a delight on the accordion. The winter storm warning might keep some Twin Cities residents away, but if you live in Eagan, you have no excuse. Saturday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., Pardon My French, 1565 Cliff Road, Thomas Lake Center, Eagan; 651-454-2233. No cover.

POSTPONED DUE TO SNOWSTORM Saturday: Capri Big Band Holiday Concert. Faye Washington leads the Capri Big Band in its third annual Christmas concert, “Home for the Holidays.” With vocalists Charles “Chako” Andrea and Aja Pridgen. Proceeds support the band’s twice-monthly rehearsals at the Capri. Michael Anthony wrote about the Capri (and a SPCO concert there) earlier this week for MinnPost. Take a look and learn more about the little theater that could. Saturday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m., Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis ($10). Tickets online or call 866-811-4111.

Thursday: Jingle Bell Doc. For many Twin Cities and outstate music lovers, Christmas isn’t Christmas without Doc Severinsen. He supposedly retired several years ago, when he moved to Mexico; that lasted about 10 minutes. He’ll wear sequined jackets, prance across the stage, and make the Minnesota Orchestra sweat. Doc performs with (and conducts) the Orchestra, with vocalist Vanessa Thomas, the Minnesota Chorale, and the Twin Cities Bronze handbell ensemble. Thursday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m., Orchestra Hall ($22-$55, $65 VIP). Tickets online or call 612-371-5656. Can’t go on Thursday? Doc returns on Sunday, Dec. 19, at 2 p.m.

Plan ahead:

·      On Saturday, Dec. 18, the great drummer Babatunde Lea will play with Adam Linz and Zacc Harris at Café Maude. Reserve a table, have dinner, and by the time you’re finished eating some of the crowd noise will have died down and you can actually listen.
·      For many jazz fans, it wouldn’t be Christmas without The Bad Plus. The irreverent trio—Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, Dave King on drums—holds court at the Dakota for three nights starting Christmas day, Dec. 25. 
·      What are you doing on New Year’s Eve? The Artists’ Quarter, the Dakota, Honey, Nonna Rosa, the Cinema Ballroom, and Café Maude have all scheduled special performances for the night. Celebrate, twirl a noisemaker, and wonder how 2011 came so quickly.

For the latest information on jazz happenings in and around the Twin Cities, please see the live jazz calendar.

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