Jazz is best experienced live, in real time, where you can see and hear the music being made, observe the interactions between the musicians, notice them negotiate what will happen next: what to play, who will start, who will solo next, when to end. It’s like watching an artist paint a picture, except when it’s over the painting disappears.
Unless, of course, you attend a live recording. At some point in the not-too-distant future, you can pick up a CD and hear it all again, maybe including your own applause and shouts of approval. (At most live recordings, an enthusiastic audience is very much appreciated.)
There are many famous live recordings in jazz history. A few worth noting and checking out if you’re so inclined: “Jazz at Massey Hall,” a 1953 concert with Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell and Charles Mingus; pianist Erroll Garner’s “Concert by the Sea” (1955); “Ella in Berlin: Mack the Knife” (1960), in which she forgot the lyrics and improvised new ones (and later won a Grammy).
Countless live recordings have been made at jazz clubs (the Village Vanguard, the Blue Note) and festivals (Newport, Monterey, Montreux). Closer to home, both the Dakota and the Artists’ Quarter have hosted live recordings; the great drummer Roy Haynes earned a Grammy nomination for a track on “Whereas” (2006), recorded live at his friend Kenny Horst’s club in St. Paul.
The AQ is the scene of yet another live recording, starting Thursday night and continuing through tonight. Pete Whitman and his X-tet are making their second CD; the first, “Where’s When?” (2002), earned four stars from DownBeat magazine. If you go, you might want to arrive early. The last time I went to hear the X-tet, the AQ was SRO.
Friday: Pete Whitman’s X-tet Live Recording. The “little big band” of first-call pros includes Laura Caviani on piano, Phil Hey on drums, Gordy Johnson on bass, Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Jeff Rinear on trombone, Dave Jensen and Kelly Rossum on trumpets, and Pete Whitman, Dave Karr, and Dave Milne on saxophones. Friday, Jan. 29, 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter ($15).
This is not a big weekend/week for national jazz acts, but after two nights of Roy Hargrove’s quintet last week at the Dakota, we have no reason to complain. And it’s a good time to catch up with area artists.
Friday: Nancy Harms. The sultry, swinging singer’s debut CD, “In the Indigo,” has been winning raves and national airplay. Here’s a video of a recent appearance on KARE 11 TV’s “Showcase Minnesota.” Friday, Jan, 29, 8 p.m., Hell’s Kitchen (no cover).
Sunday: Minneapolis Free Music Society. Who knows what will happen at this monthly gathering of Minneapolis-area musicians/improvisers. I don’t. This Sunday features three sets of all-improvised music. Set 1: Edward Schneider (alto sax), Jaime Paul Lamb (double bass), Alden Ikeda (drumset). Set 2: John O’Brien (trumpet), Casey O’Brien (bass), Graham O’Brien (drumset). Set 3: Ric Lee (violin), Jaime Paul Lamb (banjo), Sean Roderick (double bass), Jonathon Warnberg (drumset). Sunday, Jan. 31, 9 p.m., Acadia Café at the corner of Cedar and Riverside on the West Bank (no cover).
Monday: Rhonda Laurie and Sidewalk Café. The warm and thoroughly charming singer makes her Dakota debut with her Gypsy jazz group, Sidewalk Café: Reynold Philipsek on guitar, Gary Schulte on violin, Jeff Brueske on bass. Expect familiar songs and surprises. Get a preview on Laurie’s MySpace page. Monday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m., Dakota ($5).