Friday, May 27, 2011

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

Tune to KBEM every Friday morning at 8:30 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. On Saturday night, come back to KBEM for Maryann Sullivan's "Corner Jazz" and my Corner Calendar, which airs just before 9 p.m

Calendar news: Along with being here on the blog, the Live Jazz in the Twin Cities calendar has a new home on KBEM's website.

To find it:

1. Go to the home page,
2. Look for Live Music Calendars
3. Click on Jazz

Couldn’t be simpler. Same with getting your gigs listed there. Musicians, bookers, presenters, and others, email

Jazz for those who are staying in town this holiday weekend:

Friday through Sunday: Eric Alexander Quartet at the Artists’ Quarter

The great young hard-bop tenor saxophonist spends most Memorial Day weekends at the AQ and we’re glad. Alexander has a big, beautiful tone, vast imagination, energy, chops, enormous musical knowledge, and considerable charm. So far he’s made 25 albums as a leader and played on 100 more as a sideman. At home in NYC, he has his own quartet with Harold Mabern on piano and plays regularly with the sextet One for All with Dave Hazeltine and Jim Rotondi. Here he’ll play two sets each night. Catch him if you can.

8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday May 27–28, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday, May 29, Artists’ Quarter ($18).

Friday: Kip Jones, Brian Roessler, and Marc Anderson at the Black Dog

Will it be jazz, classical, folk, or some never-before-heard combination? Kip Jones is a violinist who recently had his CD release at Studio Z for Hallazgo, on which he plays a violin strung with viola strings and sings along in Korean. Brian Roessler is a bassist (and Fantastic Merlins member) who can play anything from Bach to free improvisation. Percussionist Marc Anderson was new to me until last night, when I heard him play with Prudence Johnson’s A Girl Named Vincent project at the Dakota.

8-ish p.m. Friday, May 27, Black Dog in Lowertown. No cover but please feed the tip jar.

Friday and Saturday: Late-night trumpet jams at the Dakota

In case you haven’t noticed, the International Trumpet Guild conference is in town—over 1,000 trumpeters. They’ve been playing concerts at the Hilton and coming to the Dakota all week for late-night jams starting at 11, with help from crack rhythm sections made up of area musicians. You never know who will show up. Sean Jones took the stage on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Marcus Printup of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. On Friday, Rashawn Ross of the Dave Matthews Band leads the session, with Lee Blaske on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Dave Hanzel on drums. On Saturday, it’s hot young NYC trumpeter Joey Pero, with Mary Louise Knutson on piano, Jeff Bailey on bass, and Phil Hey on drums.

11-ish, Friday and Saturday, May 27–28, Dakota ($5; free with a conference badge).

Saturday: The Twin Cities Seven at Hell’s Kitchen

Led by alto saxophonist/clarinetist Doug Haining, the Twin Cities’ ultimate swing band will make you happy with music rooted in Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Louis Armstrong. Guest vocalist Charmin Michelle will join them in Hell.

6 p.m. Saturday, May 28, Hell’s Kitchen (no cover).

Saturday: Connie Evingson at the Dakota

She could sing almost anything: standards, gypsy jazz, songs by Dave Frishberg or the Beatles, sambas. Her all-star band of Minnesota musicians will include Dave Karr (saxophone, clarinet, flute), Phil Aaron (piano), Gordy Johnson (bass), and Phil Hey (drums).

8 p.m. Saturday, May 28, Dakota ($12).

Sunday: Moore by Four at the Dakota

Connie returns to the Dakota, this time with Sanford Moore, Ginger Commodore, Yolande Bruce, and Dennis Spears. Collectively known as Moore by Four, this is one of the great vocal groups in Twin Cities jazz history. They haven’t played out much in recent years because all of the members have their own careers. Dennis recently sold out the Penumbra Theater playing Nat King Cole in “I Wish You Love”—that show goes to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in June.

7 p.m. Sunday, May 29, Dakota ($20)

Monday and Tuesday: The Yellowjackets at the Dakota

Electro-acoustic, funk-meets-fusion contemporary jazz. Not repeat not smooth jazz; Kurt Elling has sung with this band. Founded 30 years ago, it has undergone personnel changes over the years; Robben Ford, Marc Russo, and Peter Erskine were all Jackets. Today it’s Russell Ferrante (keyboard), Bob Mintzer (saxophone), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and William Kennedy (drums). They’ve just released their 21st recording, Timeline, which would probably earn a Grammy or at least a nomination except, wait, that category no longer exists. Lame NARAS.

7 and 9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, May 30–31, Dakota ($35/$25).

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

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