Thursday, March 3, 2011

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

Are you in your car or near a radio at 8:30 CST on Friday mornings? Tune to KBEM to hear me and Mr. Jones—Jazz 88 "Morning Show" host Ed Jones—talk about these events and more. 88.5 FM in the Twin Cities, streaming live on the Web

Friday: Tyondai Braxton and the World Music Orchestra at the Walker
Tyondai Braxton by Grace Villamil
This is less about jazz music, more about jazz genes: Tyondai Braxton is the son of avant-garde jazz composer/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton. Tyondai went the route of alternative prog-rock (the band Battles) and high-tech solo artistry, layering loops and effects. He takes a giant step into contemporary classical with Central Market, his latest CD (Warp, 2009). 

The album was created in the studio, mostly by Braxton working alone; the performance at the Walker will feature the 30-member Wordless Music Orchestra, which means that Braxton has had to translate his original solo efforts into a score, or something resembling a score. The conservatory-trained composer drew on Stravinsky, Bernard Hermann, Messiaen, Ligeti, and other moderns when creating his strange, beautiful, playful, serious music. 

I hear piano, buzzing, whistling, birds, strings, drums, brass, flute, and guitar, and that’s just in the first track, “Opening Bell.” Braxton and the orchestra will also perform works by Caleb Burhans, Louis Andriessen, and John Adams.

8 p.m. Friday, March 4, McGuire Theater, Walker Art Center, $25 ($21 WAC members). Tickets online or call 612-375-7600.

Saturday: Douglas Ewart Visual Chants at the Cultural Wellness Center
Douglas Ewart
by John Whiting
Drawings, paintings, sonic sculptures (functional objects repurposed as musical instruments), and music by Douglas Ewart, one of the musical giants in our midst. 

Ewart is an improviser, composer, educator, award winner (two Bush Artists Fellowships, Minnesota Composes Forum/McKnight Foundation fellowships, more), instrument builder, and past chair of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). I interviewed him last year for; you can read our conversation here

Ewart will perform with Donald Washington on saxophones, Stephen Goldstein on laptop, and a special guest.

4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, March 5, Cultural Wellness Center, 1527 East Lake St. Minneapolis. Free. 612-721-5745.

Saturday: George Maurer Group at the Dakota
Read a preview here. The evening show is sold out, but you can get into the afternoon public television taping for free.

4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, March 5, Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall. Free, but reservations are recommended. Call 612-332-JAZZ (5299).

Sunday and Monday: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Jon Cleary
The Dakota continues its Mardi Gras celebrations (which began this week with the explosive Glen David Andrews) with more great artists from down NOLA way. 

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is trad-jazz heaven; Jon Cleary is a legendary singer, composer, and pianist with a new trio called Piano, Bass & Drums. Each band will perform a complete set, and if you have a ticket, you’ll see both.

7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, March 6–7, Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall ($50). Call 612-332-JAZZ (5299).

Monday and Thursday: Lucia Newell
A singer’s singer with a loyal Twin Cities following, Lucia Newell seems to be performing more often these days, and that’s a good thing. This week, you have two chances to hear her. 

What I love about Lucia: her chops, her sincerity, her warm contralto voice, and the way she uses a song to tell the truth about life and love. 

7 p.m. Monday, March 7, Loring Pasta Bar, Dinkytown. With Dean Magraw on guitar. Part of the Pasta Bar's "Music Mystique dans la Chambre Rouge" series, featuring women vocalists from the Twin Cities. No cover. 6121-378-4849.

9 p.m. Thursday, March 10, Artists' Quarter (basement of the Hamm Bldg. in St. Paul). With Phil Aaron on piano, Gordy Johnson on bass, and Kenny Horst on drums. $5.

Check the live jazz calendar at the right or here for many more events. 

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