Friday, November 11, 2011

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 You can also listen to some of his music while you’re there.

This Sunday’s showing of Music According to Tom Jobim at the Latin Jazz Film Festival has been cancelled. (As was Tuesday’s.) That’s the bad news on the jazz film scene. The good news is, a second showing of 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz has been added. Made for the BBC, first shown in 2009, this film from director Paul Bernays explores the impact on jazz of four albums released in 1959: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come, and Charles Mingus’s Mingus Ah Um. View a clip here. See the whole thing at the Trylon Microcinema, the intimate screening room on Minnehaha Ave. in Minneapolis. Reserve online at Click on “Jazz88 REEL Jazz” under News and Event Calendars on the home page.

I spent some time in NYC with singer Nancy Harms. She moved there a year ago and has been getting busier and busier, performing with trumpeter Wycliffe Gordon, singing at clubs like Dizzy’s and Small’s, the Bar Next door, Zinc, and Kitano. If you’ve been wondering what Nancy is up to, you can visit her website or like her page on facebook.

Live jazz this week

Tonight (Friday, Nov. 11) at the Dakota, the John Jorgenson Quintet performs. This acclaimed gypsy jazz group played at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in very early October, as guests of Connie Evingson. What goes around comes around, and for their Dakota gig, they have invited Connie to be their guest. That starts at 8 p.m. tonight at the Dakota. $15.

Tomorrow night (Saturday, Nov. 12) at Studio Z in St. Paul's Lowertown, it’s the return of Insurgent, that troublemaking free jazz trio featuring Pat Moriarty on alto saxophone, Ellen Lease on piano, and Phil Hey on drums. This performance will be recorded for Saint Paul Live!, a new radio series being produced by Larry Englund that will air on KBEM starting in January. If you haven’t dipped your toe into improvised music, this is a great place to start. Insurgent is a very tuneful trio of top players who can do that read-each-other’s-minds thing so important to improvised music. The music starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday. $10/$8 Twin Cities Jazz Society members/$5 students.

Also in St. Paul on Friday and Saturday, at the Artists’ Quarter in the basement of the Hamm Building, tenor sax monster Sue Orfield joins the members of the Tuesday Night Band for music that may knock you off your bar stool. The Tuesday Night Band—so named because they perform at the AQ every Tuesday, the club's longest-running gig—is Downtown Bill Brown on Hammond B-3 organ, Billy Franze on guitar, and Kenny Horst on drums. That starts at 9 on Friday and Saturday. $10.

Over at the Dakota at 11 p.m. on Saturday, the Small City Trio returns for a late-night set. Small City is a piano jazz trio led by Jeremy Walker, another Minneapolis expat now living in NYC, with Jeff Brueske on bass and Tim Zhorne on drums. $5.

On Tuesday at the Nicollet Coffee House at Nicollet and Franklin, it’s the Graydon Peterson Group. Bassist Graydon Peterson is usually seen at the back of the stage, most often supporting a singer, but now he has his own band, playing his own original music. I saw this group at Jazz Central recently and liked it a lot. 7 p.m. No cover.

On Wednesday, this week’s very big name: Al Jarreau performs at the lovely Pantages Theatre at 7:30. $53.50–$63.50. If you want tickets, go straight to the Hennepin Theatre Trust website. Resellers are asking $150. Ticketmaster will gouge you, but not that badly.

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