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)

Saturday is the first-ever Midtown Global Jazz Festival, which will happen at the Midtown Exchange at Chicago and Lake in Minneapolis. I wrote an article for MinnPost and was reminded that the Exchange almost didn’t happen. Back in the 1990s, the plan was to tear down the old Sears Tower and replace it with a strip mall for big-box stores. Luckily, more visionary people stepped in, and today the site is an example of urban renewal done right. The festival is a celebration of its fifth anniversary. The music starts at noon with the Chris Lomheim Trio and continues until 10 at night with some of our best area musicians and groups: Ticket to Brasil, Doug Haining and the Twin Cities Seven with guest vocalist Charmin Michele, Patty Peterson & Friends, young jazz musicians on a youth stage, and an afterparty on the patio of the Sheraton Midway with the John Penny Duo and the Joel Shapira Duo. Bring a lawn chair. Free.

On Saturday at the Capri Theater on west Broadway, you can hear two free concerts, both part of this weekend's FLOW: The Northside Arts Crawl. Starting at 5 p.m., the Tropical Zone Orchestra, led by Pedro Fonseca, will play salsa, merengue, and bolero. At 7, Charanga Tropical, under Doug Little’s direction, will make you feel like dancing. Free.

At Jazz Central on Monday, you can hear trumpeter Bill Simonsen starting around 8:30. I recently learned that pianist Jon Weber will make a special appearance sometime during the evening. (He’s playing at the Artists’ Quarter on Wednesday.) On Tuesday at Jazz Central, New York saxophonist Nick Videen will perform with JT Bates on drums, Jeremy Boettcher on bass, and Bryan Nichols on piano. Usually there’s no cover charge at Jazz Central; there is for the Tuesday event. ($7 at the door) 

On Wednesday, Jon Weber returns to the Artists’ Quarter. He was just here for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in June, but this will be different: no Stride Night, no Festival brouhaha, just Weber at the piano. He plays brilliantly, he knows a zillion songs, and every performance is also a jazz history lesson. 9 p.m. ($5)

Also on Wednesday, the Nomad World Pub on Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis welcomes the return of a regular once-a-week jazz series. Bassist James Buckley is curating, and he has a lot of interesting friends. Tonight it’s Quartet Midwest featuring Buckley, Kip Jones on violin, JT Bates on drums, and Brandon Wozniak on saxophone. Tennish.

It sounds like there’s another new jazz series starting in August at the Nicollet, a coffee house on Nicollet and Franklin, where the Acadia used to be. More about that as the day gets closer.

On Thursday, a fairly recent addition to the Dakota calendar: the Joey DeFrancesco Trio. B-3 beast. 7 and 9 p.m. ($25/$20)

One more thing: Tickets for the Walker Art Center’s 2011-12 Performing Arts Season are now on sale. That series includes, in March, a Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival. 

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. Send news about your jazz events to

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