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Jazz Grammy nominations, and this week’s jazz picks

The Grammy nominations were announced last night, and among the jazz artists were several who have performed in the Twin Cities this year. Most notably, bassist/singer/composer Esperanza Spalding, nominated for (drum roll) Best Artist of the Year. Will she beat out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine, and Mumford and Sons? She has such broad appeal — and so much talent and personal charm — that it’s entirely possible.

This has been a big week for Spalding. On Tuesday we learned that PBS has asked her to host a new program called “Find the Beat.” She’ll join a group, band or solo musician to explore the roots of their music, cultural connections and music history.

Other jazz nominees: Stanley Clarke (seen at the Dakota earlier this year), Trombone Shorty (at the Minnesota Zoo last summer), Dee Dee Bridgewater (comes to Orchestra Hall on Dec. 17), Danilo Perez (at the Ted Mann last April), Dave Holland (returns to the Dakota in January), John Scofield (played the Twin Cities Jazz Festival), Poncho Sanchez (the Dakota in July), Ted Nash of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Orchestra Hall last March). Find a complete list of jazz nominees here.

Best jazz bets for the weekend and into the week:

Friday-Saturday: Jon Pemberton Trio. I’ve heard Pemberton play trumpet; I wasn’t aware until recently that he’s also a pianist who studied with the late and legendary Bobby Peterson. He recently recorded his first piano trio CD, “On the Edge,” with Gary Raynor on bass, Jay Epstein on drums. Billy Peterson will step in for Raynor during this weekend’s CD release. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 3-4, 9 p.m., Artists’ Quarter, in the basement of the Hamm Building in St. Paul ($10).

Saturday: The Dakota Combo with guest artist Johnathan Blake. Now in its fifth year, the Dakota Combo features young jazz musicians still in high school, chosen by audition and worked hard by MacPhail’s jazz coordinator Adam Linz. Combo grads have gone on to prestigious college programs at the Brubeck Institute, Berklee College of Music, Juilliard School and New England Conservatory. This year’s combo features students from Minneapolis Southwest High School, Minnetonka High School, the Lighthouse Program in Spring Lake Park, Apple Valley High School, Mineapolis South High School and St. Paul Conservatory. It’s a tradition for each year’s combo to perform at the Dakota with a guest artist. On Saturday they’ll be joined by drummer and Grammy nominee Johnathan Blake, a member of the Mingus Big Band who currently tours with Kenny Barron, Russell Malone, and Tom Harrell. Come hear the kids play. Saturday, Dec. 4, 6 p.m., Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ($10).

Monday-Tuesday: Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Big doings at the Dakota this week, as the venerable Minneapolis (formerly St. Paul) jazz club celebrates its 25th anniversary. Son of saxophone legend John Coltrane, Ravi Coltrane brings his sterling quartet to town — Luis Perdomo on piano, Drew Gress on bass, E.J. Strickland on drums — for what are certain to be two nights of exciting jazz. Monday-Tuesday, Dec. 6-7, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ($35/$20). Tickets by phone (612-332-5299) or online.

Wednesday-Thursday: McCoy Tyner Trio with Gary Bartz. Thunderous pianist Tyner was the first famous jazz artist to play a new jazz club called the Dakota 25 years ago. He has been a frequent visitor ever since. The NEA Jazz Master will be joined by Bartz on saxophone, Gerald Cannon on bass and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums. Wednesday-Thursday, Dec. 8-9, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis ($50-$40/$45-$30). Tickets by phone (612-332-5299) or online.

Plan ahead — here come the holiday shows:

  • The Capri Big Band, “Home for the Holidays,” at the Capri Theater (Saturday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.).
  • Russ Peterson’s Big Band, “Swinging All the Way,” at the Old Log (Monday, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m.).
  • Doc Severinsen, “Jingle Bell Doc,” at Orchestra Hall (Thursday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19, 2 p.m.).
  • Dee Dee Bridgewater and Irvin Mayfield with the Minnesota Orchestra, “Yuletide Jazz,” at Orchestra Hall (Friday, Dec. 17, 8 p.m.).
  • George Maurer’s Big Band Christmas at the Dakota (Wednesday, Dec. 22, 7 p.m.).
  • Connie Evingson’s Holiday Songbook at the Jungle (Sunday, Dec. 26, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).

You could start as early as tonight at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, 4401 Upton Ave. S. in Minneapolis, when Debbie Duncan performs her holiday show starting at 7 p.m.

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

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