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.

Tonight, Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Artist's Quarter in St. Paul: The Pat Mallinger Quartet will play the second night of an engagement that began yesterday. Mallinger, a man of many saxophones, was born and raised in St. Paul. He now lives in Chicago, where he has a regular Saturday-night gig at the Green Mill. His latest CD, Home on Richmond, features the excellent pianist Bill Carrothers, who was supposed to be with him at the AQ except his manager booked him dates in Switzerland. So we’ll hear Bryan Nichols instead—no complaints from me about that—along with Graydon Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. I’ve been listening to Home on Richmond and I like it a lot. Lively, tuneful, creative, engaging music. I hope they play their version of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile.” 9 p.m., $15.

Monday, Nov. 28, at the Guthrie in Minneapolis: The great acoustic guitar stylist Leo Kottke will perform his annual Thanksgiving show – with a twist: he’ll be joined by sax master Dave Karr. Kottke’s music blends folk, pop, jazz, and classical influences into his music, creating a sound all his own. Over the years, he has worked with stars including Lyle Lovette, T-Bone Burnett, Rickie Lee Jones, John Williams, and Joe Pass. He’s made more than 30 studio albums, some of which I still have on scratched-up, overplayed LP. Dave Karr is a much respected jazz saxophonist, part of the Twin Cities music scene for 50 years, and a McKnight fellow. Two musicians’ musicians. 7:30 p.m., $43/$38.

Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Dakota in Minneapolis:  Pianist/composer Mary Louise Knutson celebrates the release of her latest CD as a leader, In the Bubble. That’s her phrase for “in the sweet spot, where only good can come to you.” The whole CD is a sweet spot of wonderful tunes—standards like “It Could Happen to You” and “Bluesette,” plus several originals. For most of the songs on the CD, her bassist is Gordy Johnson and her drummer is Phil Hey.  Both will be with her at the Dakota. Mary Louise had a CD release in St. Paul last week, on Thanksgiving Eve. If you missed that, here’s a second chance. 7 p.m., $5.

Thursday, Dec. 1, at the Dakota in Minneapolis: Christine Rosholt will release her latest CD, Pazz, with British songwriter Kevin Hall. It’s called Pazz because it’s a combination of pop and jazz, probably a bit heavier on the pop side. The songs are all originals by Hall, who happened to catch one of Christine’s shows at the Dakota in 2008. He felt he had found the perfect vocalist for several original songs he was working on back in the UK. I’ve heard this CD, and Christine sings beautifully. Many fine Twin Cities musicians appear on the CD and will show up for the CD release, including the Hornheads, J.D. Steele, Graydon Peterson, Mac Santiago, Zacc Harris, Vinnie Rose, Randy Sabien, Lucia Newell, and more. It’s going to be a party. 7 p.m., $15.

Friday, Dec. 2, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis:  The return of Chris Botti, the top-selling American jazz instrumental artist, a man with four #1 jazz albums, multiple Grammy nominations, and an ongoing relationship with PBS. His latest CD/DVD, Chris Botti in Boston, features guests including Yo-Yo Ma and Sting. He tours more than 250 days out of the year. To some people, he’s a little on the smooth/pop side; to others, he’s exactly the kind of jazz they want to hear. He can certainly play the trumpet and he’s a great audience favorite. 8 p.m., $25–$70. Limited availability.

Check the jazz calendar at right or at KBEM for many more choices, then get out there, people.

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