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Ordway requires proof of COVID vax/negative test; The Bad Plus goes pianoless

ALSO: Collide announces 2021-22 season of five events; Lowertown Guitar Festival 2021 at Como Lakeside Pavilion; and more.

The Concert Hall, which was built to the orchestra’s specifications, is equipped with state-of-the-art HD video and digital recording equipment.
Courtesy of the SPCO
The four arts partners of the Ordway are requiring vaccines: Minnesota Opera, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Schubert Club.
The next time you go to the Ordway for a live performance, you’ll need to show proof of either full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from within the past 72 hours.

This is increasingly becoming policy among arts organizations and venues. First Ave led the way in early August in an announcement that covered all of its venues – the main room, 7th St. Entry, Turf Club, Fine Line, Palace and Fitzgerald. The Hook followed suit for its indoor concerts. Now the four arts partners of the Ordway have joined in: Minnesota Opera, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Schubert Club.

Both guests and staff at the Ordway must wear masks inside the venue, except while eating or drinking. Attendance at all events in September will be limited to 50% capacity.

The SPCO’s 2021-22 season of concerts every weekend begins Sept. 10 at the Ordway Concert Hall. The other arts partners are starting later and presenting fewer events.

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Meanwhile, Minnesota Opera’s “Opera in the Outfield,” its Friday, Sept. 24 season opener at CHS Field, is now “Opera Afuera” (Opera Outdoors), its Wednesday, Sept. 22 season opener at Allianz Field. As far as we can tell, the program hasn’t changed: Latinx vocal music alongside classic opera hits, with Miguel Harth-Bedoya leading the MN Opera Orchestra: Newly available: Stadium Club tickets including dinner, wine and beer. FMI and tickets.

Collide announces 2021-22 season of five events

Collide Theatrical Dance, a storytelling dance company, has announced its 2021-22 season, a new partnership with the Southern Theater and its first-ever Cabaret Series. Subscribers will save 15% off regular-price tickets and enjoy other bennies.

Collide will move into the Southern for its two large-scale mainstage productions. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Oct. 7-24) is the classic story of the human need for love and connection, told through a mix of theatrical dance styles. Class of ’85 (April 7, 2022-May 1) is a dance theater spinoff inspired by the John Hughes movies of the 1980s, which explore friendship and the need for inclusion and acceptance. Collide promises “high energy dance and big hair.” The live music will be headlined by vocalist Katie Gearty.

Wells Film & Photo
A scene from Collide's "Wonderland," performed outdoors in May 2021.
The Cabaret Series will take place in Collide’s St. Paul home for rehearsals, located in the same building as Can Can Wonderland and Blackstack Brewery in St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone. It will include a Holiday Celebration (Dec. 3-12); Our Stories (Jan. 21-30, 2022), an evening of original dance storytelling rooted in the Black experience; and An Evening of Romance (Feb. 11-20), a candelight cabaret concert featuring Collide dancers and a string quartet.

Season subscriptions are available now. Individual tickets will go on sale in September.

The Bad Plus goes pianoless

The Bad Plus, the internationally famous jazz band with deep roots in Minnesota who played every Christmas at the Dakota for 20 years, is undergoing another major transformation.

After 18 years of performing as the same trio – Dave King on drums, Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, with no subs ever – Iverson stepped away on Jan. 1, 2018, and pianist Orrin Evans stepped in. Everyone, except maybe King, Anderson and Iverson and those who knew them, was surprised. The Bad Plus had one of the strongest names, sounds and identities in modern jazz. Fans could name that Bad Plus tune (most often a Reid Anderson tune) in a very few notes.

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The new trio made two well-received studio albums together, “Never Stop II” (2018) and “Activate Infinity” (2019), toured ferociously pre-COVID, and played Christmases 2018 and 2019 at the Dakota. Iverson and Evans are very different pianists and personalities, but Evans seemed comfortable on the Bad Plus bench. He brought a more relaxed, bluesy feel. He laughed, while Iverson was a bit more straitlaced and serious. So the band wasn’t the same, but nobody complained and fans quickly warmed to Evans in his new role.

photo of musicians from the bad plus
Photo by Wes Orshoski
Dave King, Chris Speed and Reid Anderson
In March 2021, the Bad Plus announced that Evans, who already had numerous other things going on when he joined the band, would leave “to pursue the music under his own name,” effectively “closing his chapter with the Bad Plus.” Which became the “core duo” of King and Anderson.

We waited. Would they bring in another pianist? Would they work with a series of guest artists, playing with people they had long wanted to play with? Would they form a band with Bill Frisell? (Someone floated that.) What would happen next?

Now we know. As reported by Nate Chinen at WBGO New York, the Bad Plus will become a quartet, with Chris Speed on tenor saxophone and Ben Monder on electric guitar. Rehearsals will start next week in Brooklyn and they’ll record a new album at the end of September, because King and Anderson do not mess around.

And will we see them at the Dakota for Christmas? We’ll let you know when we find out. Speed has been here several times, playing with King at places like Icehouse. We already love Chris Speed. We haven’t seen Monder here as often. To both: Welcome! We can’t wait to hear you.

Here’s a transcript of Chinen’s interview with King and Anderson.

The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

photo of salsa del soul performing
Courtesy of the artists
Salsa del Soul
V Tonight (Thursday, Aug. 29), 7 p.m.: Twin Cities Jazz Festival: Jazz Fest Live: Salsa del Soul. Move the furniture and make room to dance to this nine-piece orchestra and its specialty: rhythms and music from the Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean. It’s precisely the pick-me-up we all need. Free with registration.

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L Friday and Saturday, Aug. 20-21: Como Lakeside Pavilion: Lowertown Guitar Festival 2021. 20 performers on 3 stages, live concerts, community activities, a “strum a song/sing along” led by Chris Koza and Lucy Michelle, a new dance project led by Alan Sparhawk of Low and Al Church called “Derecho,” attend a workshop led by Pat Donahue, see “The Last Waltz: Minnesota Edition.” Most events are free. Performers include Mayyadda, Siama’s Congo Roots, Mike Michel and Terrell X, Paul Metzger and Jeremy Ylvisaker. FMI, schedule and links to tickets.

L and V Sunday, Aug. 22, 6 p.m., Crooners: Keep Music Live: Basie’s Birthday with Rick Carlson featuring Doug Haining. With Carlson on the keys and Haining on the saxophone (and maybe clarinet?), this will be an evening drawn straight from the swing era. In the Dunsmore Room. FMI and tickets (start at $20). Would you rather watch at home? You can do that because this event is part of Keep Music Live. Free with registration.

V Wednesday, Aug. 25, 5:30 p.m.: Rain Taxi: Honorée Fanonne Jeffers with Lissa Jones-Lofgren: “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.” A prolific poet, critic, scholar, and professor at the University of Oklahoma, Jeffers has joined the front ranks of American novelists with an epic that follows a family from the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era. Jones-Lofgren is a Twin Cities-based radio and podcast host. Free with registration.