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Hot outside? Cool off with some cool cats in a jazz club

Bill Carrothers
Courtesy of Bill Carrothers
Bill Carrothers

It’s going to be hot this weekend, and if you spend a day or two at one of the big art fairs in town (Uptown, Loring, Powderhorn) you’ll want to cool off in a jazz club at night. I know I will.

Here’s what looks good for this weekend and into next week.

Red Planet + Bill Carrothers:
Red Planet is the never predictable, always inventive trio of Dean Magraw on guitar, Chris Bates on bass and Jay Epstein on drums. Visit their MySpace page and see them play part of their signature “Viva Coltrane” medley. Carrothers is the pianist who plays Civil War tunes and free improvisations, stride and standards, mainstream and out-there music, lusciously lyrical and wickedly witty jazz and pretty much everything in-between. He’s about to leave for two weeks in Europe (for the Sligo Jazz Project in Ireland, Jazz Middelheim in Antwerp, and a recording in Ireland with the Kevin Brady Trio) and is warming up with three nights in the Twin Cities. On Wednesday he played the Artists’ Quarter with a trio, on Thursday the Dakota solo, and tonight he’s back at the Dakota for the late-night show with Magraw et al. After that, who knows when he’ll come this way again. Carrothers was the first must-see of 2008. Take a nap after work if you must. The Dakota, Friday, Aug. 1, 11:30 p.m. ($5).

Starry Eyed Lovelies: Someday I’m going to ask them how they came up with their name. The Lovelies are Michael Lewis on saxophone, Dean Granros on guitar, Anthony Cox on bass and Dave King on drums. They all play around with other bands: Lewis with Happy Apple and Fat Kid Wednesdays; Granros with FKG and How Birds Work; Anthony Cox with his own trio, Jazz is NOW! and anyone else he pleases; King with the Bad Plus, Happy Apple, 12 Rods, FKG, Buffalo Collision, Peter Lang and Halloween, Alaska, to name a few. This group has been described as “wonderfully quixotic” and that’s about right. Watch a performance from August 2007 here. The Artists’ Quarter, Friday, Aug. 1-Saturday, Aug. 2, 9 p.m. ($10).

Bucky Pizzarelli and Benny Green
Courtesy of the Dakota
Bucky Pizzarelli and Benny Green

Benny Green & Bucky Pizzarelli: Pianist Green worked with Betty Carter before joining Art Blakey’s band in 1987. From 1993-1997 he was part of Ray Brown’s trio. The history of jazz piano — Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal, Bud Powell — flows through his fingers. Watch a short video of Green at last year’s Monterey Jazz Festival here. Guitarist Pizzarelli’s career spans six decades of performing, recording, touring, and mastery. He’s one of the few jazz artists to play the seven-string guitar. (Heads up: Bucky’s son John is due at the Dakota on Aug. 21.) The Dakota, Monday, Aug. 4-Tuesday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ($25/$20).

Volcano Insurance and TBD: Volcano Insurance is Luke Polipnick on plate tectonics, Joey Van Phillips on thunder heads, and Chris Bates on seismic rumblings. That’s their story and I’m sticking to it. “TBD” means that when Bates sent out his email he didn’t know who else would be on the bill. They’re performing at a smallish gallery in Northeast Minneapolis that throws open its doors every so often to experimental music happenings. Just FYI, I built up my jazz courage by going to things I thought I wouldn’t like because they sounded too weird then ended up liking them. Rogue Buddha Gallery, Thursday, Aug. 7, 9 p.m. ($5). If you miss Volcano Insurance on Thursday or enjoy them so much you want to see them again immediately, they’re at the Dakota late-night on Friday, Aug. 8.

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Don Berryman on 08/01/2008 - 11:08 am.

    For what it’s worth, the Artists Quarter has posted links to a couple of videos from Carrothers’ Wednesday night gig on their website:

  2. Submitted by Pamela Espeland on 08/01/2008 - 05:50 pm.

    Don Berryman’s videos are always a great way to get the flavor of a jazz club or performance. He also shot the Red Planet video on the group’s MySpace page.

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