Friday, June 10, 2011

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

Friday: Lee Engele and Joan Griffith at the Mendoberri Café and Wine Bar in Mendota. Two reasons to pick this: vocalist Engele and guitarist Griffith will make beautiful music, and Mendoberri is a new venue, sort of--it's in the old Sage Wine Bar space. If you're out that way, stop in and let them know you're glad they're featuring live music. 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, no cover.

Friday and Saturday: Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code Trio at the Artist's Quarter in St. Paul.  A lot of people are surprised to learn that the great drummer who worked with Weather Report and still tours with McCoy Tyner lives right here in St. Paul. Every so often, not often enough, he gathers his band Source Code for plays a thunderous weekend at the AQ. This one is most unusual: Gravatt in a trio format with Bryan Nichols on keys and Ron Evaniuk on bass. It will definitely be a whole new sound. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 10–11, $12. [Thanks to Bryan Nichols for the update.]

Sunday: Connie Evingson's "Summer Samba" at the Jungle in Minneapolis. Connie continues her "Jazz at the Jungle" series with a program of songs by Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel. You may not know his name, but you know his lyrics: to "Girl from Ipanema," "I Will Wait for You," "Killing Me Softly with His Song" and more. Connie's band now includes Kansas City guitarist Danny Embrey, a man we've heard often with Karrin Allyson. 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 12, $25.

Sunday: Northside: A Twin Cities Community Benefit at the State Theater in Minneapolis. An impressive list of artists and sponsors, united for a great cause: helping the people of Minneapolis's North Side, hard hit by the recent tornadoes. Doors at 4, music at 5 until who knows. Tickets start at $25.

Sunday: PipJazz Sundays at the Landmark Center in St. Paul. A new jazz series featuring vocalist Pippi Ardennia and her "jazz that makes you feel good." Guests: Ricky Peterson and Rockie Robbins. In the band: Chris Lomheim, Billy Peterson, Glenn Swanson. Doors at 4:15, music at 5, Sunday, June 12. $15 advance, $20 at the door.

Sunday: Charcoal + 1 at Homewood Studios in Minneapolis. The latest in a series of bonus concerts by iconoclastic multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine. For years, he's been marching to the beat of his own drums (which happens to be one of the instruments he plays). This will be an evening of pure improvisation, meaning spontaneous composition and hard listening by the musicians to each other (and, one hopes, the audience to the musicians). Milo on marimba and clarinets, Anthony Cox on bass, Davu Seru on drum set, Stefan Kac on tuba, John O’Brien on cornet and flugelhorn. Milo's concerts start promptly at 7. Sunday, June 12, $5.

Tuesday: Keren Ann and Avishai Cohen at the Cedar in Minneapolis. Keren Ann is a French/Dutch/Israeli alt-neo-indie-folk-pop singer/songwriter. Avishai Cohen is a jazz trumpeter (not to be confused with Avishai Cohen the bass player), one of the Three Cohens with his sister Anat and brother Yuval. When he tours with Keren Ann, he plays with electronic effects. Not jazz (though, as Ed Jones pointed out, you can't take the jazz out of the jazz musician), but he doesn't come around here very often. Most jazz musicians play all kinds of music, and a good player is a good player. 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 14, $13 advance/$15 day of show.

Wednesday: The Kristin Sponcia Quartet at the Artists' Quarter in St. Paul.  Kristin is a pianist and vocalist who teaches at McNally Smith. She recently spent five months living and performing in China. This is her first AQ gig as a leader. What I’ve heard of her, I like. 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, $5.

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. 88.5 FM in the Twin Cities, streaming live on the Web. Come back to KBEM on Saturday night for Maryann Sullivan’s “Corner Jazz” and on Thursday for “On the Local Corner,” both with calendar news. Check the live jazz calendar at the right or on KBEM’s website for many more events.

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