New Orleans jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield was sworn in as the newest member of the National Council on the Arts on March 26. For those who don’t know (I didn’t), the council advises the National Endowment for the Arts on such things as grant applications and funding categories.
Why do we care that Mayfield is a member? Because for part of each year, he belongs to us. As the Minnesota Orchestra’s artistic director of jazz since 2008, a role in which he’ll continue through the 2010-11 season, he is often in Minneapolis, performing, curating and hosting jazz performances and working with Twin Cities high-school jazz bands.
He’ll return in July to host an evening with singer Lizz Wright and clarinetist Evan Christopher, and again in August to perform with the septet Los Hombres Calientes. In 2008 he was commissioned by the orchestra to write an original work; “The Art of Passion” premiered here in July 2009.
Mayfield recently won his first Grammy, for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. “New Orleans Jazz Orchestra: Book One” (World Village, 2009) features nine songs he wrote performed by the orchestra he founded and leads.
Another reason to care, especially if you’re a jazz fan: Mayfield is the only council member who comes primarily from a jazz background.
Jazz to care about this weekend and into the week:
Saturday, April 10: Danilo Perez: 21st Century Dizzy. Panamanian jazz pianist Perez was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s last United Nations Orchestra, a pan-global collaboration. Perez has handpicked his own band of world musicians to perform new original compositions and fresh arrangements of Gillespie classics (“Salt Peanuts” and “Manteca,” please). The band is amazing, each man a star in his own right: saxophonists David Sanchez (Puerto Rico) and Rudresh Mahanthappa (India/US); trumpeter Amir ElSaffar (Iraq/US), percussionist Jamey Haddad (Lebanon/US); bassist Ben Street (US), and drummer Adam Cruz (Puerto Rico/US). Here’s a recent video with performance and interview clips. Ted Mann Concert Hall, 8 p.m. ($40/$36/$10). Tickets at 612-624-2345 or online.
Sunday, April 11: Second Sunday with Arne Fogel and Jennifer Eckes. In their monthly series at Honey, vocalists Fogel and Eckes promise “cabaret and jazz and a whole bunch more” and bring in special guests for extra razzle-dazzle. This month’s invitees are Nancy Harms and Heidi Ziman. A song from Harms’ debut CD, “In the Indigo,” has been featured this week on the NPR Music website. Honey, 205 East Hennepin Ave. (the former Jitters), 7-9 p.m. No cover, but reservations are recommended: 612-746-0306.
Tuesday, April 13: “The Jazz Baroness.” Pannonica Rothschild de Koenigswarter (Nica, for short) was an heiress to the vast Rothschild fortune and a great friend to pianist/composer Thelonious Monk. This documentary film by Nica’s great niece Hannah Rothschild explores their unique relationship and features a terrific jazz soundtrack. KBEM station manager Michele Jansen will give the introduction. Sabes Jewish Community Center, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, St. Louis Park, 8:30 p.m. ($9). Tickets at 952-381-3499 or online.
Note: Gil Scott-Heron has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 14. The Dakota is honoring all tickets originally purchased for the March 28 performances. FMI: 612-332-1010.