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This week’s jazz picks, and Capri announces 2010-11 Legends season

This just in from the Capri Theater, the historic and smartly renovated West Broadway venue: For 2010-11, the Legends season has been scaled back from five concerts to three, a reflection of the kick in the pants the economy keeps giving the arts. The good news is that makes the season more affordable. And each individual concert is a gem.

Oct. 9-10, 2010: “BLUE: Songs on the Indigo Side.” Area vocalists Katie Gearty, Nancy Harms and Rachel Holder reprise the show they did at the Capri last April as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s “Jazz from J to Z” series. An exploration of blue as color, mood and feeling in a program of standards and pop tunes in jazzy arrangements.

Feb. 12-13, 2011: “Nancy Wilson & Peggy Lee: The Sultry Divas of Jazz.” Ginger Commodore and Connie Evingson honor two fabled singers with their own interpretations of signature songs and, likely, rarities. Evingson has built an entire show around Lee, “Fever: A Tribute to Peggy Lee” and released a CD by that name (Minnehaha Music, 1999).

April 9-10, 2011: “I Sing Because…” Greta Oglesby, who won the Ivey Award for her powerful performance last year as Caroline in Tony Kushner’s “Caroline, or Change,” returns to the Capri for a solo show. This could well be the season’s hot ticket, and it may turn out that a season subscription is the only way to guarantee a seat.

All Legend concerts are held at the Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Minneapolis, on 7 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Season tickets ($60) are available the old-fashioned way: fill out and mail this form (PDF) with your check or credit card number. (You’ll save $5 per ticket and pay no fees.) Single tickets go on sale Sept. 1.

This week’s jazz picks:

The big pick is the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which began last night with “Jazz Night Out” and continues through Saturday. Read about it here.

Friday, June 18: Midsommar Eve Music. The American Swedish Institute (which just announced a major new addition) celebrates summer’s arrival with an outdoor concert featuring three area groups with Nordic ties. The Finn Hall band will play informal dance music, fourth-generation fiddler Daniel Dahlin will perform, and vocalist Connie Evingson will sing songs from her varied repertoire with help from guitarist Reuben Ristrom. Food for sale, a cash bar, and an open dance floor add to the merriment. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis, Friday, 6 p.m. gates, 7 p.m. program ($10; 12 and under, $5).

Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19: Dakota Late Night. I like both Late Night shows this week. On Friday, trumpeter John Raymond, formerly of Eau Claire and the Twin Cities, now of New York and recently married (be sure to congratulate him), brings his cohort of equally energetic young musicians to the stage. With Aaron Hedenstrom on tenor sax, Javier Santiago on piano, Daniel Duke on bass, and Miguel Hurtado on drums. On Saturday, the Aakash Mittal Quartet returns to the Late Night series (they were last here in March 2009). Denver-based saxophonist Mittal (who also plays flute, clarinet, and electronic tambura) blends modern jazz with the sounds and rhythms of his East Indian roots. With Matt Fuller on guitar, Jean-Luc Davis on bass, and Josh Moore on drums. Exciting, eclectic, exotic music. (Mittall and his quartet play the Jazz Festival on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. on the Sixth Street stage.) Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Friday and Saturday, 11:30 p.m. ($5).

Monday and Tuesday, June 21 and 22: Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo de la Vida. The chance to see the great Doc Severinsen in a small club is not to be missed. He usually performs at Orchestra Hall when he comes through town but apparently has always wanted to play the Dakota. If you’ve only seen him on TV (during his amazing 25-year “Tonight Show”) run, think of these shows as Doc in giant-screen, high-def 3-D. El Ritmo is Gil Gutierrez on guitar, Jimmy Branly on percussion, Kevin Thomas on bass and Eugenio Toussaint on piano. Doc may be in his 80s, but I strongly suggest that when he puts trumpet to lips, you grab onto something. Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Monday and Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ($50/$40/$30) and 9:30 p.m. ($40/$30/$25). Tickets at the door or online

Coming next week: a preview of vocalist Jose James, who’s at the Dakota on Thursday for one night only.

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

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