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Jazz picks: pianists, a birthday, Impulso and Kurt Elling

The Times has closed (and Babalu and Rossi’s earlier), but there are still many places to hear live jazz in the Twin Cities and nearby. Like the Kitty Cat Club and Crave, Café Maud, Fireside Pizza, Il Vesco Vino, D’Amico Cucina (where pianist Benny Weinbeck and bassist Gordy Johnson have played on weekends for nearly 20 years), the Camp Bar, the Riverview Wine Bar and many more.

Who knows, there may be a restaurant, coffee shop or watering hole in your neighborhood where Zacc Harris unpacks his guitar or Laura Caviani tickles the keys or Debbie Duncan sings her heart out. Check the Twin Cities Jazz Society calendar at www.tcjs.org or the Jazz88 Live Music calendar at www.jazz88fm.com.

Kurt Elling, of course, is the big pick for Friday (Feb. 20). Read my preview from Thursday.

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 20-21: Third Annual Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase. Two nights, six pianists, one mentor remembered and dearly missed. Bobby Peterson (1950-2002) played with the Buddy Rich orchestra before becoming a Twin Cities jazz mainstay. On Friday, hear Laura Caviani, Peter Schimke and Dan Musselman; on Saturday, Phil Aaron, Chris Lomheim and Tanner Taylor. Chris Bates plays bass on Friday, Adam Linz on Saturday, with Kenny Horst on drums both nights. 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter ($10).

Sunday, Feb. 22: Craig Eichhorn’s 50th Birthday. The Dakota’s sound engineer and former KBEM radio personality celebrates the big 5-0. I’m invited, you’re invited. Performers include the Dakota Trio (Tanner Taylor, Gordy Johnson, Phil Hey), the Laura Caviani Trio, vocalists Debbie Duncan, Connie Evingson and Lucia Newell, and Davina and the Vagabonds. 6 p.m., Dakota. Donations to the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education suggested.

Tuesday, Feb. 24: Impulso. This freshly minted trio (formed in January) is guitarist Dean Magraw, saxophonist Brandon Wozniak and drummer/percussionist/shaker of mysterious objects/snappy dresser Jay Epstein. I love the name and am waiting for the T-shirt. Listen on MySpace. 9:30 p.m., Kitty Cat Klub, no cover.

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