“A Rare Treat”: Laura Caviani and Chris Olson on Jazz Central’s Vocal Jazz Night, January 19

“We go way back,” notes Laura “as we both started teaching at UW–Stevens Point   25 years ago!! Caviani is a veteran of nearly three decades of performing, recording and composing, including appearances with Toots Thielemans, Bob Mintzer, and Dave Liebman, and touring and recording with star vocalist Karrin Allyson. Barneys. Chris Olson and Laura Caviani © Andrea Canter
Both pianist Laura Caviani and guitarist Chris Olson have built reputations as two of the masters of jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond. And more recently she has presented “From Bach to Bop” – jazz arrangements of favorite classical works– at a number of venues including the Artists Quarter, Hopkins Center for the Arts, and Jazz @St. Since earning a master’s degree in jazz studies/performance from the University of North Texas, he’s taught guitar, jazz history and improvisation as well as directing jazz ensembles at UW-Stevens Point (where he earned his undergraduate degree), Wausau Conservatory of Music, UW-Marathon County, and Inver Hills Community College. Chris has performed with Bob Mintzer, Louis Bellson, Terry Gibbs, Ira Sullivan, and Bobby Vinton, and has appeared frequently at the Black Dog, heading his monthly “Chris Olson Project” as well as performing in other ensembles such as Framework. Chris similarly tops the regional field of jazz guitarists, hosts a   long-running monthly gig at the Black Dog, is one-third of the popular trio Framework, and also a veteran educator.  
Jazz Central Studios is located at 407 Central Av SE (Minneapolis), in the lower level. Donations ($10; $5 students with ID) requested to support the venue and performers. In spring 2011, she collaborated with Prudence Johnson, Joan Griffith and other area composers to create “A Girl Named Vincent,” setting the poems of a young Edna St. As a leader she now has five acclaimed recordings to her credit and a long list of supporting roles with local musicians. This is a rare treat!” And it will be a treat as Jazz Central presents this duo on Vocal Jazz Night! Projects include her tributes to Horace Silver, Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk; Soul Café with guitarist Steve Blons and saxman Brad Holden; Pete Whitman’s Xtet; and her cross-genre Alec Wilder project. While both Laura and Chris are well-known instrumentalists, they both sing as well, talents they have seldom displayed until recently. All ages welcome. Laura Caviani © Andrea Canter
Raised in the Midwest where she studied trumpet as well as piano through high school, Laura Caviani received a Bachelor’s of Music in Composition from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, and a Masters of Music in Improvisation from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. So why is this duo performing on the January 19th installment of Vocal Jazz Night at Jazz Central Studios? Currently on the guitar faculty at McNally/Smith College in St. Full schedule at http://jazzcentralstudios.org
  Laura is renowned not only for her keyboard skills but also as a dedicated educator and far-ranging composer. Vincent Millay to music for both live performance and recording.  
Chris Olson © Andrea Canter
Chris Olson is a dedicated jazz educator as well as performer. We will both be singing and playing. Laura currently directs big bands at Carleton College in Northfield and teaches at MacPhail Center for Music, McNally Smith College of Music, and Shell Lakes Arts Center. Paul, he also teaches guitar lessons and jazz combos at the MacPhail Center for Music and summer programs at the Shell Lake (WI) Arts Center; he serves on the Board of the Minnesota Guitar Society. Laura made her debut as a vocalist a few years ago at Jazz Central. This nonprofit performance and teaching space presents music at least five nights per week, with Vocal Jazz Night every Thursday at 8 pm. Laura Caviani © Andrea Canter
Laura’s latest releases include Sambanova (with Joan Griffith), mostly original works drawing from the traditions of Brazil; another set of Brazilian influenced songs, Circle of the Dance; and a 2013 remake of a holiday album, Holly, Jolly and Jazzy with Gordy Johnson and Joe Pulice. And yes, they do plan to sing– both of them!

Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie Presents the Peter Vircks Quartet, January 19

Peter Vircks © Andrea Canter
Among his many genre-bending projects, Peter Vircks co-founded Moveable Feast in 1999, dubbed by City Pages as the “Best Electro/Jazz/Funk/Hip-Hop Hybrid” of 2002. He also appeared on soul legend Alexander O’Neal’s Live in Minneapolis DVD (2011). Raised in Detroit, the son of jazz artists/teachers Faye and Donald Washington moved with his family to the Twin Cities at age 13, and quickly became part of the local music community, spreading his talents across jazz, Latin, reggae and funk bands. Reverie features a unique vegan menu and bar. No cover but tip jar donations appreciated to support the musicians and the series. After a few years in New York attending the New School and gigging with Chico Freeman, Arnie Lawrence, Antonio Hart and James Carter, Kevin returned to the Twin Cities where he has been in high demand to support national touring artists and playing with Moveable Feast, Doug Little, the Heptones, Nachito Herrera, Bruce Henry, Andres Prado, and Mississippi, as well as leading his own bands and teaching at area music schools and jazz camps. The music, like Vircks career in general, brings together elements of R&B, funk, and rock in an improvisational framework that instantly has broad appeal, often-danceable rhythms, yet an underlying modern jazz sensibility and serious intention. His 2014 quartet release, What You Believe Is True, was funded in part by the Subito Grant and features original Vircks compositions on eight of the nine tracks. Peter Vircks © Andrea Canter
The Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie series features the Peter Vircks Quartet (with Brian Ziemniak, Ron Evaniuk, Kevin Washington) on January 19. Jazz schedule at www.thursdaynightjazzatreverie.info Brian has toured with star-studded funk group FDeluxe and with popular Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer. Ron Evaniuk © Andrea Canter
Originally from the Detroit area, Ron (Roman) Evaniuk   studied cello with Leonard Rose prodigy Robert Newkirk at   the Cleveland Institute of Music. Their latest release, What You Believe Is True, landed on many local “best of the year lists” for 2014. Ron has performed with Bill Carrothers, the American Classic Jazz Orchestra, Eric Gravatt’s Source Code, the JazzMN Orchestra, the late Gene Adams, and saxophonists Joe Ford and Andrew White. Around the Twin Cities, Brian performs with numerous bands and a wide range of artists, including vocalists Fred Steele and Bruce Henry, rock group Vintage Raggs, and jazz ensembles, the Yohannes Tona Band and Kevin Washington Quartet, in addition to fronting his own organ trio, BZ3. Kevin Washington © Andrea Canter
Despite his mere four decades on Earth, drummer Kevin Washington already has nearly three decades of professional experience, from stages in Detroit to New York to the Twin Cities.  
Thursday Night Jazz at Reverie takes place weekly at the Reverier Bar and Cafe at 1931 Nicollet Ave South (at Franklin) in south Minneapolis.   He teaches and performs on acoustic bass, electric bass, and cello. Since summer 2010, he’s been performing and writing for Rhythmic Circus’ touring production of   Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!, which was named an Artist of the Year   in 2011 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, awarded two Sage awards, and voted “Best of the Twin Cities” by City Pages. Ron also recorded with Harry Chapin on the album On the Road to Kingdom Come.   The show opened off Broadway in the historic New Victory Theater in November 2013, and was performed at the annual APAP Conference in Manhattan earlier this month. Peter has also performed and/or recorded with such stars as Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday, Erick Kamau Gravatt (Weather Report, Source Code), the Yohannes Tona Band, Kevin Washington Quintet, Nachito Herrera, The Horn Heads, vocalist Bruce Henry,   gospel phenomenon Robert Robinson, Katz and Dogs, President Flow (with fellow saxophonist Joe Mayo), and a relatively new project of funky soul, Midnight Love. In the jazz world he has performed with Kneebody saxophonist Ben Wendel, pyrotechnic violinist Christian Howes, and noted avant garde clarinetist Jean-Brice Godet. In 2004, Peter attended the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, and in 2007 received an American Composers Forum Subito Grant. Brian Ziemniak © Andrea Canter
Brian Ziemniak is one of the Twin Cities’ most versatile pianists.

Roy Hargrove Quintet with Roberta Gambarini at the Dakota, January 18-19

Roberta performed at the 2016 Detroit Jazz Festival with legendary saxophonist Jimmy Heath. The Roy Hargrove Quintet released Nothing Serious on Verve in 2006 and the aptly titled Ear Food in 2008. NPR stated that   “when he’s on the road touring with his quintet, he’s treating audiences to some of the greatest, hardest-swinging bebop in the world.” And as noted by Christopher Jones following a Hargrove Quintet performance in Seattle, this is “straightforward, no-nonsense modern jazz…with integrity and conviction.” Hargrove brings that conviction – along with his quintet—to the Dakota in Minneapolis for his annual engagement, January 18-19, with very special guest, multi-Grammy-nominated vocalist Roberta Gambarini. Her success in reinterpreting the great solos of Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins on her Grammy-nominated debut, Easy to Love (2006), prompted the late Hank Jones (her pianist on the album) to proclaim her as the “best new jazz vocalist to come along in 50 years.”
Within three years, Roberta released two more highly regarded recordings, 2008’s You Are There (again with the great Hank Jones), and 2009’s So in Love, doubling as arranger in the company of some of today’s leading instrumentalists, and garnering another Grammy nomination. Roy Hargrove © Andrea Canter
Inspired by gospel, R&B and funk while growing up in Waco, Texas, Roy Hargrove was a trumpet prodigy, already working with Frank Morgan and “discovered” by Wynton Marsalis before he finished high school at the Booker T. She was awarded the 2009 Grand Prix du Jazz Vocal (France). In addition to the funky RH Factor, he has explored Afro Cuban rhythms, pop, and, above all, eclectic, straight ahead jazz, in the highly acclaimed company of Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band, as well as with his own Quintet. She began clarinet studies at age 12, making her debut as a vocalist at 17 in area jazz clubs. Washington School for the Performing Arts in Dallas. Roy has received two Grammy Awards to date: His Cuban-based band Crisol (with piano legend Jesus “Chucho” Valdes and drummer Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez) won the Best Latin Jazz Performance Grammy in 1997, and Directions in Music (with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker) won Best Instrumental Jazz Album in 2002.  
The Dakota is located at 1010 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Despite his apparently hiatus from recording his own bands, Hargrove has been busy recording with the likes of Marcus Miller, Angelique Kidjo, Cyrille Aimee and D’Angelo.  
Roberta Gambarini © Andrea Canter
A native of Turin, Italy, Roberta Gambarini grew up listening to music and her father’s saxophone. His current quintet   embodies all of the elements that make live jazz live and irreplaceable regardless of technology—they play in the moment, and each moment as if it was the only moment in time. After finishing third (to the late Teri Thornton and runner-up Jane Monheit) in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition only a few weeks later, she began to get more attention, passed on further studies at NEC and relocated to New York where she became a protégé of Benny Carter and later James Moody. Roberta also appeared on two big band releases in 2009, Roy Hargrove’s Emergence (Groovin’ High/Emarcy) and I’m BeBoppin’ Too (Half Note Records) with the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. At 47, his output as a recording artist (14 sessions as leader) is almost as remarkable as his chops. She went on to perform with such established artists as James Moody, David Fathead Newman, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Russell Malone, Michael Brecker, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove and more. In 2009, Roy gathered a big band for the highly praised Emergence   (Groovin High), his most recent release. For a number of years, the Roy Hargrove Quintet has included Justin Robinson (reeds), Sullivan Fortner (piano),   Ameen Saleem   (bass) and Quincy Phillips (drums), a high energy, interactive, soulful collaboration. Later he dropped his studies at Berklee in Boston to move to New York, enroll at the New School, and concentrate on his career as leader, sideman and major label recording artist. Two sets per night at 7 and 9:00 pm; www.dakotacooks.com She gained further experience and acclaim after moving to Milan, then relocated to Boston to attend the New England Conservatory of Music in 1998. Hargrove is one of the all-too-rare jazz artists of his generation who never fails to deliver the goods at full throttle, regardless of the audience or venue. She was in fact named after the Jerome Kern song “Roberta.” Her parents took her to see visiting American jazz artists and she heard their records of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and more. His fusiony project, RH Factor, created a lot of buzz by merging R&B and hip-hop mainstream with jazz, but his efforts with his renowned quintet are decidedly more Dizzy than Ice-T. In 2004 she began a stint with the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Alumni Big Band Band, and within two more years was touring with her own trio. Roy Hargrove © Andrea Canter
“His contributions help tie jazz to hip-hop and R&B, reinforcing the perception that jazz is, perhaps, America’s last truly adventurous musical genre, one capable of addressing what is transpiring in the present while also honoring what has come before.” –Preston Jones, Observer
Roy Hargrove © Andrea Canter
After Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove is probably the best known trumpeter on the planet today.