Friday, April 8, 2011

This week's jazz picks for Minneapolis-St. Paul

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 the week's jazz picks and more. 88.5 FM in the Twin Cities, streaming live on the Web

It's a big weekend for piano.

Friday and Saturday: Michel Legrand Trio at the Dakota

The legendary French composer/ pianist/ singer/ arranger/ conductor/ producer is 79, and he's never performed in the Twin Cities. Long story short: 200+ film and TV scores, over 100 albums, 3 Oscars (out of 13 nominations), 5 Grammys, and a passion for jazz that began when he attended a concert by Dizzy Gillespie. A few of his famously heart-tugging compositions: "The Summer of '42" theme. "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" "Windmills of Your Mind." "If It Takes Forever, I Will Wait for You" from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. 

Here's Legrand playing a jazz version of "I Will Wait for You." 

He's bringing John Pattitucci on bass (someone we haven't seen for a while--welcome back!) and Willie T. Jones on drums. If you can scrape up the ducats, don't miss this.

Here's Jon Bream's article in the Strib.

Friday and Saturday, 7 and 9 p.m., Dakota ($55/$40)

Friday and Saturday: David Hazeltine at the Artists' Quarter

What Ira Gitler says: "Even in the crowded, competitive New York scene, it is obvious to me that the hip-without-fanfare Hazeltine is a standout." Known as a "musician's musician," Hazeltine has recorded more than two dozen CDs, and his reach is broad, from bebop to pop tunes. There's lots to hear and enjoy on his website, and I encourage you to spend some time there. (Click on "Recordings" at the left, then on any of the album titles at the right, then wonder where the day went.) 

This could easily turn out to be one of those Perfect Jazz Nights: cozy basement club; Davis Wilson at the door; generous drinks; attentive crowd; smart, swinging, impeccable playing.

Friday and Saturday, 9 p.m., Artists' Quarter ($15).

Saturday and Sunday: Greta Oglesby at the Capri

Not jazz, but who's quibbling? Winner of the Ivey Award for her tour-de-force turn in Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change at the Guthrie, actor/singer Greta Oglesby sings a program of gospel songs and Broadway tunes (including "Lot's Wife" from Caroline) in two exceedingly rare solo shows at the Capri. With Sanford Moore on piano.

Here's Oglesby singing "Bad Luck"--a taste of her magnificent voice. Here's my interview with her, and here's Bream's story.

Heads up: Oglesby will give a live outdoor jazz concert in the Twin Cities in August, as part of the "Live on the Drive" series. Mark your calendar: August 11, 6 p.m.

Saturday, 7 p.m., and Sunday, 3:00 p.m., Capri Theater ($25)

Sunday: Brad Mehldau Trio at the Dakota

Have we died and gone to piano heaven? Brad Mehldau was here most recently in November of last year, when he performed the world premiere of his work for jazz trio and chamber orchestra, Highway Rider, at the Walker with the SPCO. He's back for one night only with his brilliant, mind-reading trio: Larry Grenadier on bass, Jeff Ballard on drums. 

Mehldau's latest release, Live in Marciac, is a solo concert recording from the 2006 Marciac Jazz Festival. (The recording comes with a DVD; visit Mehldau's home page for a video with keyboard closeups.) We might hear a selection or two from that, or music from any of the dozens of CDs he has made as as a leader, co-leader, sideman or guest. Whatever they play will be beautiful, dense, and intense. 

Sunday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Dakota ($40/$30)  

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

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