Jazz on the 4th of July: reasons to stay in town

Axis Mundi will play a free concert Saturday at Saint Anthony Main Courtyard.
Axis Mundi will play a free concert Saturday at Saint Anthony Main Courtyard.

Though the Iowa City Jazz Festival beckons, we’re here for the Fourth. Actually, I like staying home over long holiday weekends, and not just because of gas prices or the unpleasantness of air travel. When everyone else heads to the cabin, the Twin Cities area gets quieter and things slow down. It’s a good time to walk around Lake Harriet, ride your bike on the Greenway, even hear some jazz.

Friday, July 4
Crave restaurant in the Galleria usually has live jazz on Fridays, but not this Friday. “Nobody wants to play on the Fourth,” I was told when I called to check the schedule. That turns out to be almost true. The Dakota is closed that day, the Artists’ Quarter reopens on Monday, and Cue’s ambitious summer jazz series takes a break for the weekend. Still, there’s music to be found.

Tommy O’Donnell and Gordon Johnson. 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Maggiano’s Little Italy, Southdale Center, Edina. No cover but reservations recommended: 952-285-4339. Go to hear O’Donnell (piano) and Johnson (bass), have some gnocchi in tomato vodka sauce, then head to nearby Rosland Park (Lake Cornelia) for fireworks.

Larry McDonough Trio. 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Bella Sera Wine Bar Ristorante, 12730 Elm Creek Blvd., Maple Grove. No cover but reservations recommended: 763-425-7372. Larry McDonough (piano), Craig Matarrese (bass), Joel Shapira (guitar). I don’t know McDonough’s music but I’m intrigued by Andrea Canter’s description on the Jazz Police website: “A feathery touch that recalls Bill Evans but with more fingers and a unique approach to time.” Listen here.
 
Saturday July 5
Axis Mundi.
7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Saint Anthony Main Courtyard, 219 SE Main St., Minneapolis. Free. Contemporary world-beat jazz. Latin meets Middle Eastern, Afro-Cuban and Haitian. Glen Helgeson (acoustic steel, nylon, and synth guitars), Gary Schulte (violin), Cody McKinney (electric six-string bass), Dave Stanoch (drums) and special guest Marc Anderson (percussion). Listen to samples from Helgeson’s CD “Distant Borders Revisited” (2006) here. St. Anthony Main Courtyard, 219 SE Main St.

Tres Mundos with the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.
7:30 p.m. Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis. Free. The Pops, under the direction of Jere Lantz, present a program of Latin music including two original works by area saxophonist, composer and Seven Steps to Havana founder Doug Little. Tres Mundos is Little (saxophone and flute), Cuba’s Viviana Pintado (piano and vocals), and Brazil’s Eliezer Freites-Santos (percussion). Download a PDF of the program here.

Fat Kid Wednesdays.
9 p.m.-midnight. Café Maude, 5411 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis. No cover but reservations recommended if you want to go before 10 p.m.: 612-822-5411. Michael Lewis (saxophones), Adam Linz (bass), J.T. Bates (drums). Never a dull moment with these guys. The New Yorker’s David Remnick gave them a shout in his blog entry “100 Essential Jazz Albums.” Hear for yourself.

Debbie Duncan
Debbie Duncan

Debbie Duncan. 9:30 p.m. The Times Bar and Café, Second Street NE and East Hennepin Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. No cover but reservations recommended: 612-617-8098. The last time I heard Duncan sing was a week ago when she joined Bruce Henry on stage at the Dakota. I never, ever tire of hearing Duncan sing.

Sunday, July 6
The Wolverines Jazz Trio with Donald Thomas.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. The Times Bar and Café, Second Street NE and East Hennepin Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis. Come for Sunday Jazz Brunch. View the menu here.

Southside Aces.
2 p.m. Lake Harriet Bandshell, 4135 Lake Harriet Parkway, Minneapolis. Free. Traditional New Orleans jazz. Formed in a foyer in South Minneapolis in 2003, this six-man band was the brainchild of clarinetist Tony Balluff and sousaphone player Erik Jacobson. Hear tracks from their 2006 release, “Bucktown Bounce,” here.

Christine Rosholt Quintet.
7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway, St. Paul. Free. Dance to the sounds of vocalist Rosholt and her wonderful band: Tanner Taylor (piano), Graydon Peterson (bass), Jay Epstein (drums), Dave Karr (saxophone and flute). Hear Christine sing here. The pavilion is a lovely spot, romantic and old-fashioned. Seems like the perfect ending to a holiday weekend.

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