Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Update on Vijay Iyer's performances at the Walker in March

News from the Walker. A terrific opportunity to see an important pianist  in four different configurations, and solo (twice). Iyer was just appointed director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music. I only wish we could squeeze Craig Taborn and Rudresh Mahanthappa in here somewhere.

On Thursday, March 1, Program A will feature:
Wadada Leo Smith + Vijay Iyer Duo
Vijay Iyer - Solo
The Vijay Iyer Trio (Marcus Gilmore, Stephan Crump, Vijay Iyer)

Experimental visionary jazz artist trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith joins Iyer for a world premiere duo. The Vijay Iyer Trio (with Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums) will perform several new works as well as selections from their Grammy-nominated "Historicity" and from "Tragicomic."

On Friday, March 2, Program B will feature:
Mike Ladd + Vijay Iyer Duo
Vijay Iyer - Solo
Tirtha (Nitin Mitta, Prasanna, Vijay Iyer)

Paris-based Mike Ladd, a hip-hop MC and spoken word singer/musician collaborates with Iyer in what JazzTimes calls "a tour de force… steeped in the language of South Asian and pan-African culture but trafficking in universal impulses…." South Asian global chamber trio Tirtha features Indian-American tabla/percussion master Nitin Mitta and innovative Indian electric guitarist Prasanna.

Both evenings will feature solos from Iyer, including both original compositions as well as some inspired reimaginings of both classic jazz and modern pop songs from the likes of Michael Jackson, MIA, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Tickets for both programs are available for $38 ($32 Walker members). 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jazz picks for Minneapolis-St. Paul: Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2011

Apologies for the tardiness of this posting. I've spent the past couple of days cooking, entertaining, and cleaning up. I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and are ready to hear some jazz.

This just in: Tomorrow morning, Sunday, Nov. 27, at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis, the Rev. James Gertmenian will preach "in conversation" with jazz saxophonist Nathan Hanson at the 10:30 service.  According to an article in today's StarTribune, "Gertmenian says he will speak about a reading from Isaiah for a few minutes, then Hanson will respond with a musical interpretation for a couple of minutes. The two of them will go back and forth in this manner for the length of the sermon, about 20 minutes." I haven't heard Gertmenian preach, but Hanson is a soulful, intuitive player who communicates on his instrument as clearly as the rest of us speak English (if we're lucky). It's a good reason to go to church. 1900 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis.

Friday, November 18, 2011

This week's jazz picks for Minneapolis-St. Paul: Nov. 18-26, 2011

Fridays and Saturdays: Benny Weinbeck Trio. This classic trio of seasoned, swinging—and, I might add, well-dressed—jazz pros returns to their regular gig at the D’Amico Kitchen at the Chambers hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Benny Weinbeck on piano, Gordon Johnson on bass, Phil Hey on drums. A classy trio in a classy but casual restaurant in a boutique hotel. Very New York. Occasionally one or more members has another gig that takes him away from the Chambers—for example, Gordy Johnson tours with England’s Stacey Kent when she’s in the States—but most of the time you can count on all three being there. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30-11:30.  No cover.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jazz at Lincoln Center goes global

This just in from JALC:
New York, NY (November 16, 2011)  -  St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT), and Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) announce today an unprecedented global partnership, bringing two New York icons together to concept and create a series of jazz clubs around the world in St. Regis hotels. With a shared ambition to open five jazz clubs in the next five years, St. Regis and JALC will open the first jazz club at The St. Regis Doha in April 2012.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jon Weber tapped to host new version of NPR's Piano Jazz

For those who love pianist, composer, and musical savant Jon Weber--and there are many, many of us in the Twin Cities, where Weber has been a regular at our annual jazz festival and a favorite at the Artists' Quarter--the news could not be better: Starting in January, Weber will host National Public Radio's "Piano Jazz Rising Stars," successor to "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz," the longest-running jazz show on NPR.

This week's jazz picks for Minneapolis-St. Paul: Nov. 11-17, 2011

I'm back from almost a week in NYC, during which I heard as much jazz as I could: Henry Butler at the Standard, the Three Cohens at the Vanguard, Miguel Zenon discussing his new CD with Phil Schaap at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Blue Note for Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin, and a little place on the Lower East Side called the Rockwood Music Hall. Midwest expat bassist Chris Morrissey sent me a message on facebook telling me he was playing there at midnight on Wednesday, so I went to hear him. He has a lot of fans. We had to squeeze in.

Jazz news

Beloved area sax player John Devine is in the hospital. On Monday, October 24, he suffered what his doctors are calling a hemorrhagic stroke and was rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center for surgery. He is currently doing well but has a long recovery ahead of him. If you’ve enjoyed his music at the Loring Pasta Bar or the Birchwood Café, or the old Loring Café, where he used to play from the roof of the outdoor courtyard, you can send him some love and stay in touch at johndevineline.com. You can also listen to some of his music while you’re there.