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Brubeck’s birthday and more jazz picks

Friday: Small City Trio Recording Release. Bandleader, composer, pianist, and Jazz is NOW! artistic director Jeremy Walker lives in New York but makes frequent trips to the Twin Cities to visit family.

Friday: Small City Trio Recording Release. Bandleader, composer, pianist, and Jazz is NOW! artistic director Jeremy Walker lives in New York but makes frequent trips to the Twin Cities to visit family. Earlier this year, Walker and longtime friends and bandmates Jeff Brueske (bass) and Tim Zhorne (drums) met in St. Paul to record their first album together, “Pumpkins’ Reunion.” Featuring six originals by Walker, it’s an intimate, sentimental, swinging and quirky collaboration where every song is rooted in a personal story, and that’s where the best songs come from. For the Dakota show, they’ll add music by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Sam Rivers. Zhorne can’t make it, so Kevin Washington will man the drums. Friday, Nov. 19, 11 p.m., Dakota,  1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ($5).

Friday-Saturday: Carole Martin. Radiant on stage, charming in person, Carole Martin is an old-style torch singer, a specialist in songs of unrequited love, regret, and aching emotion. Her public performances are infrequent and unforgettable. Get lost in time, remember when someone broke your heart, reach for a tissue and enjoy. Here’s Martin singing “I Thought About You.” Friday-Saturday, Nov. 19-20, 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter, in the basement of the Hamm Building in St. Paul ($10).

Saturday: Tiempo Libre. The C-Minor Fugue as a conga? Who knew Bach could be hot? People are still talking about Tiempo Libre’s 2008 dates at the Dakota with James Galway. This time, the triple-Grammy-nominated Cuban music group brings its incendiary rhythms and sophisticated harmonies to the Ordway, which will clear space for a dance floor. Expect music from the most recent CD, “Bach in Havana,” and earlier releases “Arroz Con Mango” and “Lo Que Esperabas.” I don’t know the first two CDs, but I love the latest. It’s Bach you can shake your hips to. Here’s “Tu Conga Bach” on video, ow. This event is likely to bring out the best Twin Cities salsa dancers, who will be as much fun to watch as the music is to hear. Come early (6:30) for an “Ordway Extra” program in the foyer led by Twin Cities-based Latin jazz musicians Viviana Pintado, Frank Rivery and Doug Little. Saturday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m., Ordway, 345 Washington St., St. Paul ($15-$25). Tickets online or call 651-224-4222.

Saturday: Kenton’s 100th Kickoff. Celebrate the still-controversial Kenton’s centennial with Minnesota’s own JazzMN Orchestra. Big-band leader and cult figure Kenton was known for his powerful sound, and JazzMN will expand its own 10-piece brass section in honor of the occasion. Singer Stephanie Nakasian can hold her own with a band of any size. Her recordings include “Lullaby in Rhythm,” a tribute to Kenton singer June Christy, so we’re sure to hear a Christy tune or two. The University of Minnesota Jazz Ensemble will open. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, Hopkins High School Performing Arts Center, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka ($27/$29; $17 students). Tickets online or call 1-866-811-4111.  

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Sunday: Jazz at the Orchestra: A Celebration of Dave Brubeck’s 90th Birthday. Jazz icon Brubeck turns 90 on Dec. 6. The Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra salutes him with a rich and imaginative program including Milhaud’s “Creation of the World” (Milhaud was Brubeck’s teacher and mentor), Bernstein’s “Times Square Ballet,” Gershwin’s “Cuban Overture,” and three works by Brubeck himself: “Regret,” “Elementals,” and the U.S. premiere of “Sleep, Holy Infant” for violin and strings. Featuring Tom Schrickel on piano, Steve Heinemann on alto saxophone, Brian Roessler (of the Fantastic Merlins) on bass, and Terry Vermillion on drums. William Schrickel conducts. New Yorker music critic Alex Ross noted the concert on his blog and dubbed the MSO “energetic and progressive.” 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, Central Lutheran Church, 333 S. 12th St., Minneapolis. The concert is free but donations are requested.

Plan ahead:

Dakota 25th Anniversary Week. Although the Dakota turned 25 in August, the venerable Twin Cities jazz club has set aside the week of Dec. 5-11 as its official birthday bash. The festivities begin on Sunday with gospel great Robert Robinson and continue through the week with the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, the McCoy Tyner Quartet (Tyner was the first national act to perform at the Dakota when it was still in Bandana Square), and Davina and the Vagabonds. The kitchen plans to bring back old favorites including Brie and Apple Soup.

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