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‘What Would Monk Do?’ and more jazz picks

Friday and Saturday: Monk’s Music. Composer and pianist Thelonious Monk, who would have turned 93 on Oct. 10, continues to shape jazz and fascinate musicians and fans of the music. If you want to learn about his life, read Robin Kelley’s award-winning “Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original.” If you want to hear his singular melodies and rhythms performed with joy, respect, and deep understanding, head to the AQ this weekend for “What Would Monk Do?” Pianist Peter Schimke, trumpeter Steve Kenny, bassist Billy Peterson and drummer Kenny Horst will surely play “ ‘Round Midnight,” “Well, You Needn’t,” “Rhythm-A-Ning” and more classic tunes that will forever be part of the jazz canon. Here’s Monk playing “Blue Monk” in Oslo in 1966. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1-2, Artists’ Quarter, in the basement of the Hamm Building in St. Paul ($10).

Saturday: Latin Big Band. Our own JazzMN Orchestra (formerly the JazzMN Big Band) launches its 2010-11 season with The Latin Jazz Maestro, a program of Latin jazz — upbeat, exciting sounds and rhythms that will make you want to dance. Two guests will join the band: Grammy nominee Michael Philip Mossman, a trumpeter, arranger, and composer who has performed and recorded with Machito, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Chico O’Farrill, and other greats, and area vocalist Charmin Michelle, recently returned from a tour of Spain. If you want to know more about Latin jazz, check out the acclaimed 2000 documentary “Calle 54,” which features Mossman playing with O’Farrill’s band. Here’s a clip. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center,  2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka ($29 advance/$31 door; $17 students). Tickets online or call 1-866-811-4111.

Thursday: Frankenstein Retold. The Walker kicks off this year’s jazz programming with Spark of Being, a new work commissioned by the Walker and created by esteemed jazz trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas and experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison. Morrison used found/archival film remnants to retell the story of Frankenstein; Douglas’s Grammy-nominated sextet Keystone will provide the soundtrack live, combining electric jazz with turntables, in this world-premiere performance. With Marcus Strickland on tenor saxophone, Adam Benjamin on fender Rhodes, Brad Jones on Ampeg baby bass, Gene Lake on drums, and DJ Olive on turntables and laptop. Here’s the trailer. Jazz nerds, here are Douglas’s liner notes for the vinyl edition. Side note: Thursday is a musical head-on collision in the Twin Cities, with Douglas at the Walker, Renee Fleming at the Schubert Club, and Anat Cohen at the Dakota. Call me crazy, but I gave up my Renee Fleming tickets for this. 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, McGuire Theater, Walker Art Center  ($25/$21 members). Tickets online or call 612-375-7600.

Plan ahead: Notable events on the jazz calendar

  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, Artists’ Quarter: Louis Hayes Trio
  • Thursday, Oct. 14: MacPhail Center for Music: Meditations and Revelations Concert 1: Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon (music of Charles Mingus)
  • Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 20-21: Dakota: Hugh Masekela
  • Saturday, Oct. 23: Hopkins Center for the Arts: “With These Songs in Our Hearts: The Music of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart”
  • Friday-Saturday, Nov. 5-6: Walker Art Center: Brad Mehldau’s Highway Rider

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

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