Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog Presents Youth Showcase, Chris Bates Red 5 on January 21

JazzINK Youth Showcase: Simon Petrick/Adam Astrup Quartet (7 pm)
Adam Astrup © Andrea Canter
The monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase typically presents high school ensembles, with occasional performances from college student artists.  
Chris Bates’ Red 5 (8:30 pm)
Chris Bates’ Red 5 at the Black Dog © Andrea Canter
Chris Bates launched Red 5 in 2012 via a series of “open sessions” at Jazz Central Studios, bringing original compositions to the band to test drive and tweak before live audiences before heading into the studio to record New Hope. He was a member of Motion Poets and has worked with a variety of Latin, electronic, and experimental ensembles, including Bryan Nichols’ Quintet and Trio, Chris Bates’ Red Five, Fat Kid Wednesdays, the Zacc Harris Group, The Pines, and his own organ trio, Grain. He began bass lessons in 4th grade and progressed to jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before returning to the Twin Cities to study with Anthony Cox. He recently released an album of eight original compositions (Divide Avenue), featuring a strong cast of metro musicians. Over his career, he has played with Mose Allison, Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, Steven Bernstein, Howard Levy, Michael Attias, Ira Sullivan, Bill Carrothers, Eric Alexander, Ari Hoenig and Tim Sparks, among others. Thomas Nordlund © Andrea Canter
Twin Cities guitarist Thomas Nordlund earned a BA in Guitar Performance at the University of Minnesota-Morris and a certificate in Jazz Studies from the Universit of Auckland, NZ. Living in New York for the past sixteen years, JC’s compositions have been performed by leading artists such as John Abercrombie and Dave Liebman, and he has built a reputation as conductor of large ensembles including the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Alan Ferber Nonet, Alice Coltrane Orchestra and his own JC Sanford Orchestra. “It’s a challenge to bring together the most sought after players on the Twin Cities creative music scene.”   Perhaps adding to the challenge as well as the sound, Red 5 recently expanded to a with the addition of guitarist Thomas Nordlund; Jake Baldwin has been heard on trumpet in place of busy Lozier, and taking things yet another step beyond, the performance at the Black Dog adds New York transplant JC Sanford on trombone. Chris Thomson
Saxophonist/composer Chris Thomson attended the U of M and Lawrence Conservatory, toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and has appeared with Delfeayo Marsalis in addition to local collaborations with the New Standards, Anthony Cox, Dosh, Chris Morrissey, Dave King, Bryan Nichols, Michael Lewis, Adam Linz, Adam Levey, Kelly Rossum and more. Over its first two seasons, Brandon has performed on the Jazz in the Target Atrium Series at Orchestra Hall as part of the Atrium Jazz Ensemble, led by Jeremy Walker. No cover but donations to the tip jar ($10 suggested) are appreciated to support the series and the musicians. JC recently returned to Northfield, in time to celebrate the release of his new quartet album, Can You Believe It, which will have its Minnesota release gig on January 23 at the Icehouse, with Zacc Harris, Chris and JT Bates. Chris Bates Red 5 © Andrea Canter
© Andrea Canter
The Saint Paul Winter Carnival gets underway this weekend, and Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog adds to the starpower with a much anticipated return of Chris Bates’ Red Five. Since arriving in the Twin Cities in 2006, he has performed with local bands including Red Five, Dave King Trucking Company, the Bryan Nichols Quintet, Zacc Harris Quartet, and Vector Families; and in varying combinations with Adam Linz, Billy Peterson, Dean Magraw, Kenny Horst, Zacc Harris, Steve Kenny and more. “This ensemble was created to challenge my abilities, to stretch my composing skills and lastly to celebrate the improvisational culture of this geographical area,” notes Chris. JC Sanford
A protégé of legendary composer Bob Brookmeyer, trombonist and Northfield native JC Sanford studied at the University of Northern Iowa and completed graduate studies at the New England Conservatory. In addition to curating his Jazz Implosion series at the Icehouse on Monday nights, JT often appears on the Icehouse stage with such musicians as brother Chris, Dave King, Brandon Wozniak and more. Chris has released two recordings as leader and keeps a busy teaching schedule at the Mainstreet School of Performing Arts in Hopkins, Hamline University and MacPhail Center for Music. He has appeared a number of times on the Black Dog and Reverie stages. Guitarist Adam Astrup is a senior at Ricori High School in Cold Spring, MN, but he has been making the trek to the Twin Cities regularly over the past three years, studying with Zacc Harris and participating (for three years) in the Dakota Combo, a metro-area all-star high school ensemble. This unit was built to celebrate the making of music…We let the moment take us, each show is a unique experience, song to song, set to set, second to second…It’s pure joy…..The smiles on our faces are proof. Jake recently released his first album as leader, Ra Ra Ru and has been on tour with Har Mar Superstar. In addition to leading his own band, Thomas performs regularly with vocalists Sarah Morris and Jana Nyberg, and has performed with Andrew Foreman, Patrick Harison, Adam Meckler, Ben Abrahamson, and other area standouts. He’s also worked as a Program Associate at Walker West. DeCarlo performs with a number of area ensembles including HippoCampus. The early set features the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase, with the Simon Petrick/Adam Astrup Quintet at 7 pm. After graduating from NEC 2013, Jake moved back to the Twin Cities, initially working for the Harralson Trumpet company while building his creds on the local jazz scene. Trumpeter and bassist DeCarlo Jackson grew up in St Paul and began co-leading bands with older brother Devante as a young teen. The band–original members Chris and JT Bates, saxophonists Brandon Wozniak and Chris Thomson, and trumpeter Zack Lozier– has since performed sporadically on local stages (the Artists Quarter, Icehouse, Studio Z, Black Dog), the long periods between performances reflecting the very busy schedules of the ensemble musicians, each of whom performs with numerous bands in the metro and beyond. An alum of the Dakota Combo, PipJazz Youth, and Walker West ensembles, he attended the University of Manitoba before moving back to Minnesota, where he now studies at McNally Smith. JT Bates © Andrea Canter
J.T. The Simon Petrick/Adam Astrup Quintet finds the younger artists, both high school seniors, leading an ensemble with three of the busiest college musicians in the Metro, DeCarlo Jackson, Levi Schwartzberg and Drew Stinson. A graduate of Minneapolis Southwest High School, Levi performed in the Dakota Combo for two years. “The nature of running your own band filled with your favorite musicians means you are at the mercy of fate in trying to schedule around 5 people in high demand,” notes Bates. He often lends his compositions to the many ensembles that he juggles throughout his busy performance schedule. “This is not a safe band….we fly at the edge of our seat at all times, we are consistently challenging each other rhythmically, harmonically and spiritually to push past preconceived notions of jazz. With fellow guitarist Will Schmid, he performed in duo at the 2016 Winter Jazz Festival, again at the summer festival, and at the 2016 Iowa City Jazz Festival, coleading a quartet as well as performing in the guitar duo and Dakota Combo. The album pleased audiences and critics alike, the only jazz release in the top 20 choices of Star Tribune critics for 2012. In addition to his local ensemble work (Atlantis Quartet, Red Planet, How Birds Work, Klezmerica, Enormous Quartet, Framework, Leisure Valley, Zacc Harris Group, Dean Granros’ Tall Tales, Bill Simenson Orchestra) and leading Red 5 and the Good Vibes Trio, Chris has played solo concerts using both acoustic and electronic instruments, and appears on over 30 recordings. Drew Stinson © Andrea Canter
Bassist Drew Stinson attends the McNally Smith College of Music. Levi Schwartzberg © Andrea Canter
Vibraphonist/pianist Levi Schwartzberg is a junior Physics major at the U of M and member of the U’s Jazz Ensemble and Combo. In spring 2013, Chris launched a monthly improvisation series at Jazz Central Studios in Minneapolis, “Magica Improvisado.”
Brandon Wozniak © Andrea Canter
Saxman Brandon Wozniak previously lived and worked in New York City, toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and earned his BA from Indiana University under the tutelage of the late David Baker. Those creds have been accumulating, with his own bands at such venues as the Dakota, Artists Quarter, and Jazz Central, and in other bands including the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, Chomsky, Thomas Nordlund Group, Endeavors, Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band, Ramtrack, and the McNasty Brass Band. Most recently he has been on tour with Bon Iver. Simon previously attended the Mainstreet School of Performing Arts in Hopkins. There is a great deal of love and respect on the bandstand and we really want our audience to participate in this…’s a community vibe!”
Chris Bates © Andrea Canter
Chris Bates and his brother, drummer JT, grew up with jazz, sons of trumpeter/bandleader Don Bates. Jake Baldwin © Andrea Canter
A 2009 graduate of Minnetonka High School and alum of the second and third editions of the Dakota Combo (2007-09), trumpeter Jake Baldwin studied with Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, John McNeil, Joe Morris and Fred Hersch at the New England Conservatory, and was one of three finalists in the 2011 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition; a year later he was runner-up in the jazz division of the National Trumpet Competition. He’s been heard on stages throughout the metro including the 318, Reverie and Black Dog. Full bar and kitchen at the Black Dog.  
The Black Dog is located at 308 Prince Street in the Northern Warehouse, in St Paul’s Lowertown Arts district, across from CHS Field. He’s currently a member of Sound Skirmish, Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, leads his own bands, and appears with many other area artists. A member of the 1990s ensemble, the Motion Poets, Chris was a 1999 McKnight Composer Fellow and in 2014 was awarded a commission from local new music ensemble Zeitgeist. The Saturday Night Jazz series is curated by Steve Kenny and has been bringing the best in regional jazz to Lowertown for the past 2+ years. Bates is one of the busiest drummers in the Twin Cities, on and off the bandstand. Saturday Night Jazz schedule at; full music and event schedule at   Simon Petrick © Andrea Canter
Drummer Simon Petrick is technically a high school senior but is taking all coursework at the University of Minnesota through Post Secondary Education Options; also through PSEO he participates in U of M Jazz ensembles under Dean Sorenson. He performs with the Julian Manzara Quartet, his own bands and ensembles at McNally Smith, and is a founding member of the quartet Sound Skirmish, recently heard at Reverie.

“Looking North” With Bryan Nichols: Solo Concert, Jazz at Studio Z on January 21

   Studio Z is located at 275 E 4th Street in the Northwestern Building (suite 200), in the St Paul Lowertown Arts District across from Union Depot. The rest of the album is filled by a sampling of the 20 improvisations that evolved in the studio. He’s also backed local singer Connie Evingson and recent New York transplant Nancy Harms. In 2009, he received a grant from the American Composers Forum, and in 2010, a fellowship from the McKnight Foundation. He has also taught at the MacPhail Center for Music, University of Minnesota Morris, and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. (Hmmm, so there are another 15… perhaps Looking North Again?)
As one hears on the earlier Bright Places as well as in Bryan’s work in small ensembles, his style can be heard as an amalgam of Bill Carrothers, Marilyn Crispell, Fred Hersch, Brad Mehldau, Keith Jarrett, even at times Craig Taborn — and yet not really anyone but Bryan Nichols. Full of ideas to “make something beautiful and new,” Nichols edits well, never working a theme or strategy to death as is too often the case of many young modern artists; most of the tracks on Looking North fall between three and five minutes. Long enough to sustain a trajectory, not so long as to bog down in self-conscious reflection. This is the music I make because I live here — it would be much different if I lived in New York… I am in a position where, whether the people like what I am playing or not, they know that this is the music I wanted to make.”– Bryan Nichols, Star Tribune (5/22/16)
Back in fall 2011, pianist Bryan Nichols performed a rare solo concert in MacPhail’s Antonello Hall, and at the time, he had only recorded his own works in the larger ensemble context of his debut, Bright Places. He did participate in the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY) summer jazz program where he worked with veteran piano teacher Denny Malmberg, and after studying genetics in college (“which I’ve done absolutely nothing with, ever”), moved to Chicago where he performed with Corey Wilkes, Maurice Brown, Jeff Parker, Nicole Mitchell, Von Freeman, Ari Brown, Hamid Drake and Ernest Dawkins.  
Looking North (Shifting Paradigms Records, 2016)
Bryan Nichols © Andrea Canter
In the environs of south Minneapolis’ Creation Audio (with the expertise of engineers Steve Wiese and Miles Hanson), Bryan started from a few pre-selected original compositions along with two covers–“Lonesome Tremolo Blues” from the Pines and “Lullaby for Sharks”, written by old friend Dave King for the first Happy Apple album. Bryan Nichols © Andrea Canter
Bryan Nichols studied classical piano with a “neighborhood piano teacher” but came to jazz on his own, developing his skills without formal jazz studies. Following his CD release last spring at the Dakota, Bryan now comes to the Jazz at Studio Z series on Saturday, January 21 (7 pm) to reprise the music of Looking North as well as some new material. Now with his quintet (Bright Places) and solo (Looking North) recordings behind him, he hopes to record with his trio in the near future. Bryan has been a frequent weekend performer in duos at the Icehouse, often with bassist James Buckley, appears with Chris and JT Bates as Nichols/Bates/Bates, and leads his trio, quartet, quintet, and nonet (We Are Many). Perhaps then it was no surprise that his much-anticipated solo album found Bryan Looking North with a stellar and elegant set of mostly original meditations on his life in the Midwest. Over his career, Bryan has appeared at international festivals including Sons d’Hiver (Paris, France) and Kerava Jazz Festival (Kerava, Finland) as well as at local and regional festivals such as the Chicago Jazz Festival, Minnesota Sur Seine Festival and Twin Cities Jazz Festival. And despite his years of success with his own ensembles (trio, quintet, nonet We Are Many), duos with the likes of James Buckley and Tim Sparks, and as featured sideman (Kelly Rossum Quartet, Gang Font, Zacc Harris Quartet), the alum of Betty Carter’s famed Jazz Ahead continues to garner inspiration close to home. See full information about the Jazz at Studio Z concert series at Back in the Twin Cities in 2005 after his residency in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead program, Bryan quickly became a favorite pianist among the more forwarding-spinning jazz ensembles, working with the Kelly Rossum Quartet, Rossum Electric Company, Rossum’s Nicollet Circus Band, James Buckley Trio, Chris Morrisey Quartet, Zacc Harris Quartet, Off the Map, Gang Font, Todd Clouser, Adam Linz, Dead Man Winter, Mancrush, Atrium Jazz Ensemble, and the Minneapolis/Chicago collective, City of Fiction, and appearing on recordings by James Buckley, Chris Morrisey, Gordon Johnson, Kelly Rossum and Nicole Mitchell. The concert will follow a free “master class” interview with curator Zacc Harris at 6 pm, recorded as part of the Jazz at Studio Z podcast series. (See the full review at
Tickets for Bryan Nichols’ Jazz at Studio Z concert are $15 at the door or $10 in advance; attendees at the free 6 pm master class pay $10 for the concert; Bryan Nichols © Andrea Canter
© Andrea Canter
“The whole record is meant to be a meditation on Minnesota.

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, January 20-26

Big Gigs This Week
Friday, January 20. They’re half of the unique band Lulu’s Playground, but a trumpet/cello duo is unique in its own right, and especially if the musicians are Adam Meckler and Cory Grossman –on stage at Jazz Central. And it’s all a warm-up for the Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival at the end of the month. Paul’s World of Beer. And if you need to either celebrate or commiserate in response to today’s inauguration, the band Headspace will hold an Inauguration Blowout at St. Chris Bates’ Red 5 at the Black Dog (January 21) © Andrea Canter
© Andrea Canter
Just a week ago it was way below zero; now it’s all melting.   Read More! At the Icehouse, Bryan Nichols and James Buckley provide some pretty sophisticated piano/bass duo music during the dinner hours, while Amethyst Three (Park Evans, Josh Granowski and leader Byron Johnson-Blanchard) add to the spicy menu at Bistro LaRoux. I think some of the credit goes to the hot jazz in the Twin Cities! And it will be hot enough to keep things above freezing as we head into another week filled with great jazz from one end of the metro to the other, from local heroes to visiting artists.