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 Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Merry Month of Jazz – May at the Artists Quarter PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Jerry Weldon©Andrea Canter
Some big weekends coming to the AQ in May – the return of a favorite native son, the long-awaited return of one of the hearty souls of saxophone, a milestone birthday celebration for one of the AQ’s regulars, a holiday weekend with one of our younger vets of modern jazz, and a relatively rare appearance by one of our “hometown boys make good internationally” bands. Weeknights have many highlights as well, including a reunion and another homecoming – jazz rules at the AQ, six nights per week.


Weekends in Jazz Heaven (9 pm)

Bill Carrothers©Andrea Canter
May 3-4, Bill Carrothers ($12). He’s back! Internationally acclaimed pianist Bill Carrothers has come home a bit more often in the past year, and that’s good news for local fans. With his latest release, Family Life, garnering raves, Bill will gather his usual and sympathetic cohorts (Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst) and proceed to take apart standards and reconstitute original compositions, with deft touch, imaginative twists, and a sometimes downright humorous attack.


May 10-11, Jerry Weldon ($20). Jerry was last in the Twin Cities for the 2005 Hot Summer Jazz Festival, and we have been hoping for his return ever since. Once affiliated with Captain Jack McDuff’s Heatin’ System, Weldon is also an alum of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and Harry Connick’s Big Band; he’s collaborated with a long list of organists, and leads his own bands in New York. Known for his hard swinging tenor and personal charisma, Weldon notes that “I just want to keep it swinging. If I can do that, I'm happy." So are we.


Phil Hey©Andrea Canter
May 17-18, Phil Hey Quartet, 60th Birthday Celebration ($10). Yep, veteran drummer and bandleader Phil Hey is marking the BIG ONE this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than on the AQ stage with his long-time cohorts, Phil Aaron, Dave Hagedorn and Tom Lewis? It’s the very “modern jazz quartet”  with their repertoire of Coltrane, Coleman and more. Come wish Phil a Happy Birthday and enjoy some of the best chamber jazz on the scene – any scene.


May 24-25, Bryan Nichols Quintet ($12). Start your holiday weekend on an adventurous note with one of the hottest quintets to ever cavort on the AQ stage. Over the past year or so, the BNQ has turned its attention to the 70s quartets of Keith Jarrett as well as its never-ending quest to wring the most from modern composers, including Bryan and friends. With Mike Lewis and Brandon Wozniak serving up double sax madness, along with bassist James Buckley and drummer JT Bates.


Bryan Nichols©Andrea Canter
May 31-June 2, Happy Apple (9 pm Friday-Saturday, 8 pm Sunday, $15). This three-day weekend may seem a week late, but any time is just right for Happy Apple. This trio (Mike Lewis, Erik Fratzke and Dave King) goes where few modern jazz ensembles dare to roam, fusing electronics and acoustics with rock-ified compositions that leave you breathless. Noted writer Ben Ratliff, “Funny as the men were to watch, this was one of the most serious groups I’ve ever seen.” 


More Jazz Every Night (9 pm, $5 unless otherwise noted)

Weeknights at the AQ typically mean local music and low covers—two things that make the AQ the hotspot for jazz in the metro area. And sometimes, there’s a special visiting artist or other occasion to enliven the week. Note the AQ is closed on Memorial Day.


Mondays, Headspace (7:00 pm); Open Mic (9:00 pm) (no cover). Headspace features Rob Dewey on piano, Sten Johnson on saxophones, Eric Struve on bass and Chris Gray on drums. Soap Boxing Slam this month is on May 6th at 8 pm ($5).


Tuesdays, Cory Wong Quartet (7 pm, no cover). The early show on Tuesdays features the electrifying Cory Wong Quartet, followed by a local favorite (9 pm, $5). Plan to come down early for one of the hottest young guitarists in the region and stick around for the rest of the fun. And enjoy the best $2 taco anywhere with Westside Tacos!


Wednesdays, Steve Kenny and the Bastids (7 pm, no cover). The early set jam features Steve Kenny on trumpet, Jesse Mueller on piano, Adam Tucker on bass, and Aaron Rupar on drums, along with some very interesting weekly special guests. Part jam session, part stand-up comedy, and part game show, the Bastids are a rousing warm-up to the evening’s festivities.


May 1, Boot Camp. Just a couple weeks ago, Jeremy Walker premiered his first full-length choral work, Seven Psalms. Now he’s back at the Artists Quarter with one of his small jazz ensembles, Boot Camp. Still-young veterans Walker (piano) and Brandon Wozniak (sax) mix it up with young lions Brian Courage (bass) and Miguel Hurtado (drums).


May 2, Strommen/Burgess/Crawford/Nelson at 7 pm (no cover). The final TCJS Young Artists show of the season brings a quartet of UW – River Falls student to the AQ. Band members include Thomas Strommen (tenor saxophone), Dylan Nelson (guitar), Tom Crawford (bass), and Alex Burgess (drums). The quartet will present a set of original compositions. Watch for the new Jazz Police Youth Showcase starting in August 2013 at the AQ.


Mike Lewis©Andrea Canter
May 2, Valve Meets Slide. Valve trombonist Brad Bellows joins up with slide specialist Dave Graf for some boppin’ quintet fare. And really, what is more fun that two trombones?


May 7, Zacc Harris, Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst. Maintaining the new tradition of guitar-led trios and quartets in the Tuesday night slot, this band takes some youthful energy from the man of many bands, Zacc Harris, as he finds common ground with veterans Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.


May 8, New Sound Underground. New Sound Underground (aka P.B. & The Jam) creates riveting, genre-defying music melding influences of hip-hop, reggae, jazz, salsa, funk, R&B and gospel. Their signature sound has been captured on their debut album, Lipofunktion, and their 2012 follow-up, Pocket Protectors, and thrilling audiences nationwide as well as at their weekly hang, Whiskey Junction.


May 9, Peter Schimke and Friends. A highly versatile as well as talented pianist, Peter Schimke holds the keyboard chair for How Birds Work, the PipJazz Experience, Estaire Godinez Band and more. And he’s been known to toss in some vocals as well.


May 14, Dean Magraw and Friends. Guitarist Dean Magraw has a resume that just won’t stop, from folk and blues to jazz, and his list of friends is equally long and talented.  Dean recently led Red Planet through an evening of Coltrane, performs monthly with the PipJazz Sundays concert series and with Davu Seru at the Black Dog, and hangs out often at the AQ.


Michael O'Brien©Andrea Canter
May 15, Michael O’Brien and Triage (CD Release). It’s been nearly a decade since bassist Michael O’Brien made the move from the Twin Cities to the Big Apple, and he’s had no reason to look back, playing with the likes of bassoonist Daniel Smith and rising star pianists Daniela Schecter, Deanna Witkowksi and more. Michael is making this his Minnesota CD release for Tunes I Like to Play, and old pals Chris Lomheim and Jay Epstein will be on hand to help.


May 16, Dave Karr Quartet. Nothing could be finer than a night with the ol’ Bop Magician himself, multi-reed master Dave Karr. Hard swinging jazz that never disappoints.


May 21, Dean Magraw and Friends. They’re back! (See May 14)


May 22, Snowblind. This brass quintet has plenty of energy and an inventive mindset. And each musician is making waves in his own right – Shilad Sen (sax), Adam Rossmiller (trumpet), Scott Agster (trombone), Graydon Peterson (bass) and Reid Kennedy (drums).


Vicky Mountain©Andrea Canter
May 23, Vicky Mountain. Vocalists can be few and far between at the AQ, so you know if Kenny Horst books a singer, she’s good! Vicky has a wide-reaching songbook and the chops to cover it all, from ballad to scat to jazzy twists on pop.


May 28, The Tuesday Night Band. On hiatus after closing a 15-year run on Tuesday nights, TNB band reunited – Downtown Bill Brown, Billy Franze, and Kenny Horst turn the club upsidedown tonight!


May 29, Phil Mattson Quartet (9:30, $10). This special quartet offers 4 veterans in a new configuration led by choral music maestro/piano virtuoso Phil Mattson, and featuring saxophonist Dale Mendenhall, bassist Tom Lewis and drummer Nathan Norman.


May 30, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet ($8). The monthly installment of the best little big band in the business, featuring a Twin Cities all-star cast led by saxophonist Pete Whitman.


Coming Soon!

  • June 27, Butch Thompson and Jon Weber, “Stride Piano Night” (Twin Cities Jazz Festival)
  • June 28-29, Jon Weber (Twin Cities Jazz Festival)


The Artists Quarter is located at 408 St Peter Street in downtown St Paul, lower level of the Hamm Building;


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