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The Walker’s performing arts season, and this week’s jazz picks

Last week we previewed some of the music scheduled for the Southern Theater’s 2010-11 Performing Arts Season. Let’s look now at the Walker Art Center’s season, announced earlier this year. I would apologize for my tardiness but it turns out that tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 20, so this is right on time. I’ll spotlight the jazz but encourage you to take a look at the whole series, curated by the insatiably curious Philip Bither.

Thursday, Oct. 7: Dave Douglas and Keystone/Bill Morrison: Spark of Being. Jazz trumpeter/composer Douglas and his Grammy-nominated sextet, Keystone, will combine electric jazz with turntables to create a soundtrack for Morrison’s retelling of the Frankenstein myth, created from archival film remnants. People once heard live music to films all the time (think the Mighty Wurlitzer at the Heights) but it’s a rarity today. In February 2006, John Zorn and his Electric Masada gave a live concert at the Walker that accompanied a series of experimental American films chosen by Zorn from the museum’s collection. It was fascinating.

Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5-6: Brad Mehldau: Highway Rider. Get out the “MUST SEE” stamp for this and mark your calendar. So far, this is the music event I’m most excited about for the rest of the year. The gifted pianist/composer Mehldau wrote “Highway Rider” as a commission from Carnegie Hall, where he holds the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair (the first jazz artist to do so). He’ll perform it here with his sympatico trio (Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums), saxophonist Joshua Redman, second drummer Matt Chamberlain, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Scott Yoo. The “Highway Rider” CD (Nonesuch, 2010) has earned rave reviews, and who doesn’t love the SPCO?

Thursday, Dec. 2: Jenny Scheinman’s Mischief & Mayhem. Jazz violinist/composer Scheinman is an intrepid improviser who hangs out with the right people: Bill Frisell, Lou Reed, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, and Marc Ribot, to name a few. Mischief & Mayhem (“a swarmy passionate lyrical rocking band”) features Scheinman on “violin, love, violence,” Nels Cline (of Wilco) on “guitar, drones, frenzies,” Jim Black on “drums, ambush, reward,” and Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco) on “bass, counterpoint, frame.” All descriptions from Scheinman’s website.

Also in the Walker series: the return of Kronos Quartet in February 2011.

The public is invited to a free 2010-11 Performing Arts Season Preview on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. in the McGuire Theater.

Jazz for the weekend and into the week:

Friday-Saturday: Mulligan Stew. Saxophonist Dave Karr brings out the big baritone saxophone for a semi-regular tribute to Gerry Mulligan. With Dave Graf on trombone, Gordy Johnson on bass, and Phil Hey on drums. Here’s the quartet  playing at MacPhail in 2008 with pianist Tanner Taylor. This has the potential to be one of those great AQ weekends — top area musicians on the stand, swinging music, a crowd of regulars, and Dan mixing up Manhattans and Black-and-Tans at the bar. 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, July 16-17, Artists’ Quarter, 408 St. Peter St. (in the basement of the Hamm Building), St. Paul ($10).

Sunday: Glen David Andrews. You can see the crowd-pleasing trombonist/vocalist for free at the Dakota Street Fest on Saturday, but if you miss him or want to see him again, he’ll be inside the club on Sunday, where the cover charge will go to a good cause: Gulf Coast relief. Here’s Andrews performing “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” in a small church that surprisingly still has its roof at the end. 7 p.m. Sunday, July 18, Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall ($15 suggested donation).

Monday: Charles Lazarus Jazz Quintet. A featured trumpet player with the Minnesota Orchestra and a former member of the Canadian Brass, Lazarus also has his own jazz ensemble, with Tommy Barbarella on keyboards, Jeff Bailey on bass, Craig Hara on drums, and David Singley on guitar. A sneak peek at the playlist: Gershwin’s “Summertime,” Freddie Hubbard’s “Sunflower,” Sigmund Romberg’s “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” Nat Adderly’s “One for Daddy-O,” “Besame Mucho,” and several Lazarus originals. 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 19, Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood, MN (near Lake Minnetonka) ($23).

Coming next week: an interview with New Orleans-based, Creole-style clarinetist Evan Christopher, who was commissioned to create a new work for the Minnesota Orchestra and performs its world premiere here on Friday.

Pamela Espeland keeps a Twin Cities live jazz calendar, blogs about jazz at Bebopified, and tweets about jazz on Twitter.

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