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 Saturday, 28 November 2015
December at the Dakota: Countdown in Jazz Space PDF Print
Written by Andrea Canter, Contributing Editor   
Monday, 30 November 2009

Tia Fuller

At the Dakota Jazz Club, the countdown to 2010 is underway, with a month of music starting with the creamy voice of Jane Monheit, and ending with the blistering swing of Irvin Mayfield and NPR’s “Toast of the Nation.” In between, the Dakota offers something for everyone this holiday season, with an eclectic mix of jazz, blues, pop and more, and a more Minnesota flavor than in recent months. 

National Touring Artists (7 & 9:30 pm unless otherwise noted)

December 1, Jane Monheit. Jane’s second night! With her highly regarded new release, The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me, this songbird reaffirms her ability to infuse jazz with pop, or is it pop with jazz? And who cares? There’s no denying Jane Monheit is one of the most gifted singers of her generation, be it the Great American Songbook or more 21st century pop fare. 

Dakota Combo with Adam LinzİAndrea Canter
December 3, Bebel Gilberto. Daughter of Brazilian icon Joao Gilberto and vocalist Miucha, Bebel melds Brazilian pop, European music and electronics. The American-born Grammy nominee lived most of her childhood in Brazil, appeared on stage with her mother and Stan Getz at Carnegie Hall at age 9 and was studying music, performing and songwriting in her teens. In the early 90s, she relocated to New York and later to London, joining forces with Brazilian rock and pop stars, continuing songwriting, recording original and remix albums. Her Verve debut, All in One, was released this fall. 

December 5, Dakota Combo with Tia Fuller (8 pm). Time for the annual unveiling of the all-star high school ensemble, The Dakota Combo, appearing this year with special guest artist, saxophonist Tia Fuller. The Combo, originated in 2006 under the leadership of Kelly Rossum, is a MacPhail Center for Music program in partnership with the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. Now led by MacPhail’s new jazz coordinator Adam Linz, this year’s combo includes seven young musicians age 14-17 from area high schools who rehearse and perform throughout the school year. Special guest Tia Fuller was on the Dakota bandstand in July with her incendiary quartet, but spends much of the year touring with R&B star Beyonce’. Yet her jazz credentials are impeccable—stints with Ralph Peterson, T.S. Monk, Sean Jones, Gerald Wilson and more, as well as two—soon three—acclaimed releases for Mack Avenue. Curious about the future of jazz? It’s here!

Holly Cole
December 7–8, Holly Cole’s A Night Before Christmas. Canadian vocalist Holly Cole has been a vital part of the Toronto jazz scene for the past 20 years, releasing acclaimed recordings including her 2001 holiday salute, Baby It’s Cold Outside. Early influenced by Sonny Rollins, Betty Carter and Nina Simone, she says “Jazz is a big influence on my sound but ultimately it is a fusion of many styles.” Her inventive arrangements of tunes from the Great American Songbook and beyond have earned such accolades as “Ms. Cole has invented her own niche” (NY Times). For this special show, Cole will include songs from her holiday album as well as from her recent self-named release with arrangements from Gil Goldstein.

December 9, Subdudes.  A New Orleans band blending folk, blues and country, the Subdudes originated in 1987 with three members of the Continental Drifters. Focusing on sparse acoustic instrumentation and strong vocals, the band performed for ten years before breaking up, only to have most of the original cast come back together, better than ever. Noted the Philadelphia Inquirer recently, “With their warm 'n' sultry vocals, light acoustic instrumentation and minimalist percussion, these Bayou rockers boast a uniquely balmy, bouncy sound. And the fresh-cut album bunch "Flower Petals" is one of their best.”

December 25-27, The Bad Plus. If it’s Christmas, then it’s the annual return of The Bad Plus! Now one of the most popular acoustic jazz ensembles on the planet, this trio got its start here in the Twin Cities, home of bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King, and not far from pianist Ethan Iverson’s home in Menonomie, WI. That was nearly a decade ago, and ever since, TBP has been stirring up controversy among critics and frenzy among fans worldwide with their eccentric arrangements of pop and rock covers and stirring original compositions. After several acclaimed releases on Columbia, they went their own way with their Do the Math label, most recently issuing For All I Care with vocalist Wendy Lewis. Home for the holidays, they’ll erupt over three nights. Reserve early!

The Bad PlusİJohn Christenson
December 30, Michael Johnson. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael Johnson has topped the folks and country charts throughout his 40+ year career. He did a stint with the Chad Mitchell Trio (cowriting with John Denver), had hits including “Bluer Than Blue” and “Almost Like Being in Love,” and has recorded for such labels as EMI, Atlantic, RCA and Vanguard.

December 31, New Year’s Eve Toast of the Nation with the Steeles and Irvin Mayfield: Dinner Show 8 pm ($80); Cocktail Show 10:30 pm ($130); both shows ($200). Join the Dakota New Year’s Eve Party with two celebrations—you can reserve for either or for both! The Dinner Show features great food from chef Jack Reibel and the gospel sounds of Javetta and Jearlyn Steele of the legendary Steele Family. The Cocktail Show will be broadcast coast to coast as part of NPR’s Toast of the Nation, and will include music from New Orleans’ trumpeter (and Minnesota Orchestra Hall’s Artistic Director for Jazz) Irvin Mayfield and his volcanic quintet.

Local Talent (7 pm; 8 pm Friday/Saturday, unless otherwise noted)

This month brings a number of special shows highlighting local (or locally rooted!) talent: 

  • December 2, Benny Weinbeck Trio. Popular pianist with the able backing of bassist Gordy Johnson and drummer Phil Hey. Currently they are a weekly fixture at D’Amico Kitchen in the Chambers Hotel.
  • December 4, Big Walter Smith and the Groove Merchants. Minnesota’s most honored bluesman brings his ultra blue band to the Dakota, with guitarist Scott Graves, keyboardist Tim Wick, drummer Patrick Hulme, bassist Steve Anderson, trumpeter/Dakota staffer Dan Eikmeier and saxophonist Jim Kogl.
  • December 6, Robert Robinson’s Holiday Show. Top gospel artist, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently wrote,“Robert Robinson is a volcanic talent who absolutely knocks an audience on its heels.” (Ticketed)
  • December 12, Alison Scott. Singer/songwriter covering pop and soul flavors, Alison recorded a live DVD at the Dakota, released this fall. Her live band includes Tommy Barbarella on organ, another must-see.
  • December 14, Esera Tuaolo’s Holiday Show. The only singer in town with a Super Bowl ring!
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    CC SeptetİAndrea Canter
    December 15, Jennifer Grimm/CC Septet. Take one of the area’s most sultry singers and add an inventive brass ensemble and you have an evening ripe for Holiday excitement. Jennifer will be delving into her A Christmas With Family and Friends repertoire, while the CC Septet celebrates the release of We Three Kings and Horn Section, hot on the heels of their sold-out fall release of She’s Big in Egypt.
  • December 16, Debbie Duncan. Minnesota’s “First Lady of Song” fills the air with ballads, blues, and maybe a little holiday cheer!
  • December 18-19, Nachito Herrera’s Cuban Christmas. He’s been igniting traditional Cuban melodies and the best of bebop since arriving from Havana in 2001. Now Nachito Herrera is not only one of the most instantly recognizable pianists and bandleaders in the Twin Cities, he’s performed to accolades at Joe’s Pub in New York, toured in 2009 with the Afro Cuban All-Stars, and was flown to Singapore for a single 90-minute gig. The former music director of Cubanissmo will join forces with daughter, vocalist Mirdalys Herrera, to bring their special tropical spin to holiday repertoire.
  • December 20-21, The Peterson Family “Back Home for the Holidays” (3 & 7 pm Sunday, 7 & 9:30 Monday). Minnesota’s First Family of Music reunites for their annual holiday celebration. Led by 88-year-old matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson on piano, family headliners (offspring) Patty, Linda, Billy, Ricky, and Paul Peterson, and grandson Jason Peterson DeLaire brings internationally acclaimed entertainment to four shows—a sell out is anticipated so reserve early! (Ticketed)
  • December 22, Benny Weinbeck Trio. Miss Benny on December 2nd? No worry, he reprises his trio magic tonight.
  • December 23, George Maurer Big Band Holiday Show. Popular Pianist/vocalist/ composer/ bandleader George Maurer returns with his large ensemble of Jeff Nordquist (trumpet), Jim Ten Bensel (trombone), Rich Manik (saxophone), Mugsy Spanier (guitar), Jeff Engholm (bass), Scott Chabot (drums), Ann Michels (vocals), and special guests. Expect a night music, good humor, and holiday spirit.
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    Paris StrotherİAndrea Canter
    December 28, Young Lions Showcase. Four that make us truly proud of the youth jazz scene in the Twin Cities! Returning “home” for the holidays, pianist Paris Strother, bassist Chris Smith, drummer Brandon Commodore, and trumpeter John Raymond join together for some incendiary jazz. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Paris currently works for the Monk Institute in LA and is spending a lot of time gigging in the area, often with sister/vocalist Amber Strother who will be a special guest tonight. Chris Smith, an alum of the Brubeck Institute now finishing his degree at the New School in Manhattan, has been a regular performer with Jeff “Tain” Watts’s quartet. Brandon Commodore has been keeping time for Sounds of Blackness and Mint Condition. Newly minted from the UW-Eau Claire, head of the John Raymond Project, and a past collaborator with Nachito Herrera and Yohannes Tona, John Raymond is pursuing graduate studies at SUNY-Purchase. They were great already as teens. Hear them now as maturing artists.

Late Night at the Dakota (Friday/Saturday, 11:30 pm – 2 am)

The schedule for this eclectic, modern series of new and cutting edge music:

  • December 4, Zacc Harris Trio
  • December 5, Chris Bates Quartet 
  • December 12, Adam Meckler Quintet
  • December 18, Nick Haas Trio
  • December 19, Bryan Nichols Trio
  • December 25, Fat Kid Wednesdays
  • December 26, Atlantis Quartet

Coming Soon!

  • January 18-19, Dorado Schmitt All Stars
  • January 20, Mark O’Connor Hot Swing Trio
  • January 26-28, Shawn Colvin

The Dakota is located at 1010 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis;; 612-332-1010.

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