Friday, June 24, 2011

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

Friday and Saturday in St. Paul's Lowertown. This weekend is all about the 13th Annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival. It’s one of the few that is still a real jazz festivalnot a rock/blues festival with sides of jazz. All three outdoor festival stages are free. Some of the clubs charge a small cover.

Of the 60-some performances scheduled, here's what I'd do. I encourage you to check the schedule and choose what interests you. That's what jazz festivals are for.

5:30 on the 6th Street Stage: Young drummer Miguel Hurtado’s new group includes Marquis Hill, Zacc Harris (guitar), and Jeremy Boettcher (bass)
7:30 at the Hat Trick Lounge: JazZEN (Bobb Fantauzzo studied with R. Carlos Nakai and plays Native American flutes, among others)
8:30 at the Mears Park Main Stage: the New Gary Burton Quartet (Burton on vibes, Julian Lage on guitar, Scott Colley on bass, Antonio Sanchez on drums)
10:00 at Studio Z: Viv Corringham (voice), Scott Miller (electronics), and members of the new music group Zeitgeist
After that: The afterparty at the Artists’ Quarter, emceed by pianist/brainiac/festival stalwart Jon Weber

3:00 on the 6th Street Stage: James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass, Bryan Nichols on keys, JT Bates on drums
5:00 on the 6th Street Stage: the Jazz Central All Stars, featuring local musicians affiliated with the Jazz Central rehearsal/performance space (“for the cats, by the cats”) in northeast Minneapolis
7:15 on the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Stage: Adamn Linz leads the Dakota Combo, a group of musicians chosen last year by audition who have been under MacPhail jazz coordinator Linz’s whip ever since
8:30 on the Mears Park Main Stage: Pianist Danilo Perez and bassist John Patitucci, both great musicians, both veterans of Wayne Shorter’s group
10:00 at Studio Z: Quaser with Douglas R. Ewart (various instruments), Stephen Goldstein (laptops, electronic drums), Mankwe Ndosi (spoken word), and Jacqueline Ultan (cello)
10:30 at the Hat Trick Lounge: Red Planet with Dean Magraw (guitar), Chris Bates (bass), and Jay Epstein (drums)
After that: The afterparty at the AQ

Sunday at the Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul. JazzFest is officially over in Sunday’s wee hours, when the last stragglers leave the AQ, but Patitucci is spending an extra day here so he can play a “Two Bass Hit” there with friend and fellow bassist Billy Peterson. It’s one of the most anticipated events of the weekend. Everywhere we go, musicians are talking about it and planning to show up. With Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Kenny Horst on drums. 8 p.m. Sunday, June 26, $15.

If jazz festivals aren’t your thing, here’s what else is happening in jazz in the twin towns.

Friday at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis: Doc Severinsen and His Big Band. He’s bringing his drummer from the Tonight Show days, Ed Shaunessy, and building his band with area musicians including Mary Louise Knutson on piano. 8 p.m. Friday, June 24, $22–$55, $65 VIP.

Saturday at the Dakota: Greta Oglesby. Most people know Oglesby as the star of Caroline, or Change at the Guthrie a few years back, a role for which she won an Ivey Award. Earlier this year, she gave a solo concert at the Capri. She had me at her first note. Beautiful voice, powerful stage presence, and an uncanny ability to connect with her audience. She’s a great singer of gospel and show tunes but has told me she also sings jazz. 8 p.m. Saturday, June 25, $12.

Monday and Tuesday at the Dakota: the Max Weinberg Experience. Weinberg must like it here; this will be his third time in the Twin Cities in a year. Drummer for Springsteen's E Street Band, former music director for Conan O'Brien, he came last July and again in October with his Big Band. This time, it’s the Experience, a seven-piece group, plus Bill Champlin, formerly of the rock group Chicago. 7 and 9 p.m., Monday–Tuesday, $45/35.

Tune to jazz radio station 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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