Friday, October 7, 2011

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

If you missed last week's Minnesota Orchestra season opener and the world premiere of TimePiece for Jazz Soloists and Orchestra by St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus and his son, Greg Paulus, you can download a recording of a live performance at the Orchestra's website for just $1.29. Listen for Bryan Nichols on piano, Greg Paulus on trumpet and electronics, Michael Lewis on saxophone, Adam Linz on bass, JT Bates on drums, and maestro Osmo Vänskä on clarinet; he improvises with JT at the start of the third movement. $1.29! What a bargain.

Tonight, Friday, Oct. 7, at the Black Dog in St. Paul’s Lowertown, the Community Pool: Deep End series of improvised music continues with a stellar trio: Nathan Hanson on saxophones, Pete Hennig on drums, and Douglas Ewart on saxophones, clarinet, bassoon, flute, hand drums, didgeridoo, and Lord knows what else; he makes musical instruments, often from found objects including pot lids and crutches. No cover; starts at eight-ish. This is St. Paul Art Crawl weekend, so Lowertown will be a busy place. Read an interview with Ewart here.


If you’re in Hudson, Wisconsin tonight, stop by the Shanghai Bistro. Bassist Graydon Peterson, who’s most often heard backing singers including Christine Rosholt, has started his own quartet, playing all original music by him. They’re trying it out tonight and you can be one of the first to hear. No cover, 6:30 p.m.

This weekend at the Artists’ Quarter marks the return of Red Planet. This is one of my favorite groups, featuring Dean Magraw on guitar, Chris Bates on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums. A magical, sympatico trio, Red Planet performs original compositions and what they call “deep-space tributes” to Coltrane and Hendrix, plus an unforgettable cover of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10.

Guitarist Reynold Philipsek just returned from playing gigs in Paris, and you can ask him what that was like when he performs at the Mendoberri Café and Wine Bar tomorrow night, Saturday, Oct. 8, in Mendota Heights. The Mendoberri is the former Sage Wine Bar, for those who keep track of these things. Reynold will be joined by Matt Senjem on bass, and the music begins at 7:30. No cover.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, a very special event: our own Wolverines Big Band welcomes guest Butch Miles. Miles was the drummer for the Count Basie Orchestra for 15 years; he has performed with Woody Herman, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, and Ella Fitzgerald, and you can hear him on more than 100 recordings. He’s Basie’s living legacy. Hear him at the Bloomington Center for the Arts at 2 p.m. Vocalist Judi Donaghy will also be part of the party. $20.

Monday, Oct. 10, at the Guthrie finds two unusual, some might say quirky singer/songwriters on the same bill: Madeleine Peyroux and Nellie McKay. Peyroux made a splash a few years back with her recording Careless Love, which won France’s jazz Grammy and got a lot of airplay. She reminded people of Billie Holiday, which is not a bad thing. Her latest album, Standing on the Rooftop, goes the organic/American roots route. McKay is adorable, unpredictable, and outspoken, a big fan of animals and Doris Day. One of her latest projects is a musical biography of Barbara Graham, a convicted murderer and the third woman to die in the gas chamber at San Quentin. Out there, but right up McKay's alley. 7:30 p.m., $33–$35.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, FirebellPark Evans on guitar, Graydon Peterson on bass, Jay Epstein on drums—plays Café Maude starting at 7. No cover. The lovely and enchanting Lucia Newell sings at the Artists’ Quarter at 9, $5. And the James Buckley Trio plays the Nomad World Pub in Cedar Riverside starting at 10:30. No cover. You can actually catch all three, says someone who has.

On Thursday, Oct. 13, pianist/composer/singer/songwriter Patricia Barber makes a one-night, two-sets stop at the Dakota. It seems we haven’t seen her for ages—too long. For years, Barber has had a regular Monday night gig at the Green Mill in Chicago, which was also Kurt Elling’s home before he moved to NYC. She has recently released Live at the Green Mill, Vol. 2. And a new DVD of a two-piano concert she and Kenny Werner played at Northwestern University. I like to think of Patricia Barber as passionate cool. Lean in to hear her smoky voice, and her provocative lyrics. 7 and 9 p.m. $25–$20.

Please check the jazz calendar on jazz radio station KBEM's website (full-page, month-at-a-glance version) or at the right (vertical version) for details about these and many more live jazz performances in and around the Twin Cities.

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