Friday, July 29, 2011

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

Tonight (Friday, July 29and tomorrow at the Artists’ Quarter, the great St. Paul jazz club: The Dave King Trucking Company. This is a fairly new band, formed last year and first seen when the Walker Art Center hosted a two-day celebration of drummer Dave King and his music. The Trucking Company—with Eric Fratzke on guitar, Adam Linz on bass, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed on saxophones—just released their first CD on Sunnyside called Good Old Light. Part jazz, part garage rock, it’s getting great reviews from, among others, Ben Ratliff at the New York Times. (Read it to see what he says about Fratzke.) This is a CD release show, and they flew Chris Speed in from New York for the occasion. Expect SRO at the AQ. Nine-ish. ($15)

Friday, July 22, 2011

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

Tonight (Friday, July 22) and tomorrow at the Artists' Quarter in St. Paul: the Phil Hey Quartet. Drummer Phil Hey is a force on the Twin Cities jazz scene and beyond. He has a usual monthly gig at the AQ, a one-nighter, and it’s good to see him given a whole weekend to stretch out. Expect to see a lot of musicians in the house, many of whom owe a debt to Hey. Sax player and educator Pat Moriarty has said that Hey is the person who taught him the most about improvising. The other players in the quartet are stellar as well: Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Phil Aaron on piano, Adam Linz on bass. The music starts at 9. ($10)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More on the Jazz Masters, which just might survive

DownBeat continues the story about the NEA Jazz Masters program, which the NEA proposed eliminating, to which the House Appropriations Committee said, "Not so fast." Michael West points out potential hazards that await the program if it continues, including budget cuts and the lingering bruise left by the NEA's boot on its behind.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Is there hope for the Jazz Masters?

In his blog "Jazz Beyond Jazz," Howard Mandel reports that "the National Endowment for the Arts has been directed by the US House Appropriations Committee in its report to Interior to continue the American Jazz Masters Fellowships and dump its proposed American Artists of the Year honors." Read more here, with links.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

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

Tonight (Friday, July 15) and tomorrow at the Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul at 9 p.m., a foursome I don’t think has played together publicly before: Brandon Wozniak on saxophones, Dean Magraw on guitar, James Buckley on bass, Kenny Horst on drums. An example of how the Twin Cities are mix-it-up jazz towns; people form bands, but they also play with each other in various configurations (which often leads to forming even more bands). These are four interesting, inventive, creative players. Worth going out to hear. $10.

Friday, July 8, 2011

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

A lot of people from the Twin Cities traveled to the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend, including Janis Lane-Ewart and Larry Englund from our sister station KFAI, vibes master Dave Hagedorn (who plays at the AQ next Wednesday), Don Berryman and Andrea Canter of the Jazz Police website, and some of the usual suspects we see at jazz shows around town, like Raymond Hayes, whose Top 10 Jazz CDs of 2010 post is one of the best-read on this blog. The fireflies winked, the rain didn’t fall, I learned how to pronounce Ambrose Akinmusire (ah-kin-MOOS-eh-ree), and Randy Weston was superb.

This week in jazz:

Tonight (Friday, July 8) at 7:30, vocalist Maxine Sousé performs with guitarist Reynold Philipsek at the Mendoberri Café and Wine Bar in Mendota Heights, formerly the Sage Wine Bar. My experience with Maxine, whom I’ve heard at Fireside Pizza (and where she also sings on Monday night), is that she chooses songs off the beaten path—unexpected delights. I hear she’s working on her first CD. Reynold, of course, is one of our finest guitarists. Maxine promises special guests tonight: Denny Malmberg on acoustic bass (not keyboards or accordion), Doug Haining on saxophone. No cover.

Friday, July 1, 2011

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

If you’re staying in town for the Fourth of July weekend, know that the AQ is dark. They deserve a break after last weekend’s jazz festival, when they hosted the afterparties, stayed up late, then held an extra concert on Sunday with John Patitucci and Billy Peterson.

Friday at Kelley Park in Apple Valley: Vicky Mountain, James Allen, and members of the Dakota Combo. Vocalist Vicky, guitarist James, and those talented student musicians of the Combo perform at the Apple Valley Freedom Days celebration. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect thing to do on the Fourth of July weekend? Especially since our state parks are now closed, thanks to our government shutdown. 6–9 p.m. Friday, July 1. Free.