As you may have heard, the Twin Cities jazz community was rocked by word that the Artists’ Quarter will be closing at the end of the year. Since a new owner took over the Hamm building, the rent has risen to an untenable level for the small club. Owner/musician Kenny Horst has been working without a salary for a couple of years now, while providing a place for resident and visiting musicians to play. There are comments and condolences all over FaceBook, including a Save the Artists’ Quarter page. The club, which Downbeat Magazine named as one of the best places to hear jazz in the world, is vital to downtown Saint Paul and to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Frankly, I can’t imagine what the building’s owners think they could put in the space, but then, I’m not a realtor. Anyway, if you’ve any interest in jazz, please make sure to visit the club, especially during the week.
As far as other music offerings this week, there’s jazz at Studio Z and the Landmark Center, Peruvian music at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Tango at the Black Dog, and country pop on Nicollet Mall. Remember, music can lift the soul.
Wednesday, October 9
Jake Baldwin Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The AQ may be closing at the end of the year, but it’s still showcasing some of the best talent around. Consider this group of musicians – none more than a few years out of college, yet they’re tearing it up. Baldwin on trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; Nelson Devereaux, sax; Miguel Hurtado on drums. Don’t know who is on bass (or is he on third?), but the results will be some mighty fine jazz.
Thursday, October 10
Cocktails and Culture @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm. (Free) The Schubert Club celebrates the renovation of a Wurlitzer piano built in 1935 with a performance by pianist Laura Caviani and saxophonist Pete Whitman. Expect songs from the 30s, plus a complimentary appetizers and a cash bar. A fine happy hour, taking place in the second floor galleria.
Hennig, Nichols, & Courage @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A trio of excellent musicians, perhaps a bit older than Wednesday’s group, but still young, vital, imaginative, and first rate. Pete Hennig, drums; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Brian Courage, bass.
Friday, October 11
Ellen Lease, Pat Moriarty, and Brian Courage @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (Tip Jar) Ellen Lease on piano and Pat Moriarty on sax have the kind of musical rapport and communication that comes from decades of playing together. You can read Pamela Espeland’s 2010 interview with them here. Brian Courage is a bassist who is relatively new in town, but is showing great versatility and an unerring sense of rhythm. Expect some surprises as they freely improvise.
Friday, Saturday, October 11, 12
Bill Carrothers Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) A Saint Paul native who live in Michigan’s UP, Carrothers is a pianist with a unique, yet thoroughly accessible style that manages to be both bold and sensitive. His resume includes stints with artists ranging from Matt “Guitar” Murphy, to hard bop trombonist Curtis Fuller, to Lee Konitz and Dewey Redman. Though he’s been through town a few times lately, every performance is a revelation.
Saturday, October 12
Frank Enanoza’s October Jazz Concert @ Butter Bakery Cafe, 3700 Nicollet Ave So, Mpls. 6:30pm – 8pm (Free) Frank Enanoza, guitar; Larry Neumann, sax; and Aimee Petra on vocals will deliver an early evening set of jazz, Latin, and seasonal songs.
Dearie & O’Day @ Jazz at Saint Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm. Maryann Sullivan sings Blossom Dearie, while Vicky Mountain sings Anita O’Day. Dearie had a waif-like voice and sly wit, while O’Day was a swingin’ scattin’ musician, whose instrument happened to be her voice. Sullivan and Mountain will likely share a story or two about them as well.
Optimum Trajectory @ Coffee Grounds, Saint Paul 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a chance to hear a five-piece jazz band in a non-alchohol setting, though depending on the coffee you drink, you might still get wired. Ira Ademan, saxes; Steve Hilson, trumpet; Jeff Gurney, bass; Garth Anderson, drums; and Tim McNamara guitar.
Jesse Bryan Quartet @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:00pm (No Cover) Jesse will be singing with Dave Hofgren, Guitar: Mike Derrick, Bass; and Eron Woods on Percussion. Nevertheless, you can expect to hear som acoustic swing, standards, gypsy jazz, and even a few originals during the Red Stag’s late night happy hour.
Monday, October 14
Fall of the House of Usher and Chris Bates’ Red5 @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8?) It’s a horn-heavy night as two bands take the stage for the Jazz Implosion tonight. First up is the Fall of the House of User: Chris Cunningham, guitar and compositions; Greg Schutte, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thompson, Adrian Larkin and Elliot Wachs, on saxes; and Jon Davis on bass clarinet. Then at 11pm, it’s the Red5, with Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; and Chris Thomson, and Nelson Devereaux on sax.
Tuesday, October 15
Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Tuesday nights at Jazz Central are big band nights. Doug Haining and Scott Agster have put together an appropriately titled group of musicians for your listening pleasure.
Blues, Roots, Other
Thursday, October 10
Katy Vernon Trio @ Piazza on the Mall, 1221 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm (Free) A London born, Minneapolis based singer of country-ish pop, Ms Vernon plays ukelele, and writes winning songs. Her trio provides just the right color to reinforce the country side of each tune. She and her trio appeared on Prairie Home Companion just a couple of weeks ago. The Piazza on the Mall is a patio in front of the Presbyterian Church at 12th and Nicollet. Given the warm fall days we’re having, this should be delightful. Here’s a video of her playing and singing solo.
Friday, October 11
Annie Mack Blues Band & Lady J Griot @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (?) A couple of “Hip Shaking Honeys” give us the female viewpoint of the Blues. Lady J opens at 6pm and two time MN Road to Memphis winner Mack comes onstage at 7pm.
Chico Chavez & Guayaba Tropical Band @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Peruvian chichas, psychedelic cumbias, and other tropical sounds from the jungles of the Amazon. Not quite the usual Lee’s fare, but only in that the music comes from another country. Get a taste for their music here.
Saturday, October 12
Mezze: Mediterranean Music @ Thai Family Restaurant, 501 University Avenue West, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (No cover)
Music from Spain, the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans. The group consists of Miriam Gerberg, accordion, Arabic qanun zither; Rachel Milloy, vocals, percussion, Scott Mateo Davies, flamenco guitar & oud; David Stenshoel, violin; and Stephen Spaise, percussion. A special “Littel Mekong” buffet is available for $7.99
RJ Mischo @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The harpmaster returns home for another visit, playing his blues harp with verve and imagination. This time you can see him in the unassuming, not quite divey, Schooner. Though the dance floor is small, the fun quotient will be high. BTW, this is outside the sphere of the Zombie Pub Crawl, so you can enjoy the evening without zombies about, if that’s your choice. Check him out in this video.
Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Dusty’s NE. Minneapolis. 9:30 (Tip Jars) An evening of roots music with the mournful voice of Doug Otto and his band of pickers, playing in the tiny bar located on Main Street, close to the old brewery.
Sunday, October 12
Blues Harmonica Bash @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 3pm – 7pm ($10) KFAI’s Harold Tremblay has assembled a group of stellar players of the humble harmonica to display their skills during this fundraiser for KFAI Radio. The afternoon will feature Geoff Starin, known throughout the world as “The Guru,” Steve, “Boom Boom” Vanderharr, Curtis Blake, and Hurricane Harold himself, with special guest, award-winning RJ Mischo. The All-Star band that will provide the backing includes Jeremy Johnson and Dan Schwalbe on guitars; Billy Black, bass; Victor Spann, drums, and Bruce McCabe, piano.
La Vuature @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 suggested donation) This visiting group plays Argentine Tango. Founded by Manuel Garcia, who has been playing the Argentine bandoneon since the Golden Age of Tango in Buenos Aires. Garcia plays the the accordion-like instrument of great artists like Anibal Troilo and Astor Piazzolla. The group is now composed of his daughter Cecilia Garcia Gaul on the violin and Luis Castillo on the piano, as well as other musicians. There will undoubtedly be tango dancing.
Monday, October 14
Bella Ruse @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Ethereal folk with pop sensibilities using a variety of instruments and singer Kay Gillette’s youthful voice. Some songs have danceable beats, though dancing may prove difficult at this uptown restaurant with the terrific late night happy hour.