EP April: Epilogue/Prologue


As you may have noticed, this is not the Lead Sheet. When I started the Lead Sheet over a decade ago, there were far fewer venues for jazz in the Twin Cities. While we may have even fewer “pure jazz” venues now, there are more and more venues that offer jazz regularly, at least a couple nights per week. While that is great news for veteran and aspiring musicians, it has not been easy for part-time journalists. Simply, I can’t keep up with the options for jazz audiences each month, and while there are more places to listen, there are few venues that do a good job promoting their schedules well in advance. So I have decided to retire the Lead Sheet rather than drastically change its content.

In its place, I am offering a simpler, shorter monthly, more editorial column that sums up this one listener’s favorite gigs of the past month and a small peek at coming attractions, particularly looking for infrequently presented, unusual, and original music.

For all the rest, check out favorite venue or musician website calendars, sign up for mailing lists, scan social media, listen to our jazz radio station KBEM. And help spread the word yourself.


Epilogue—Looking back at March Music

March was a stellar month of jazz and modern improvised music…

Certainly one of the hottest piano talents in town these days, Kavyesh Kaviraj paid homage to hero Ahmad Jamal at The Dakota (March 25). And as did Jamal, he assembled a sympathetic trio with Anthony Cox on bass and Kevin Washington on drums. Their obligatory encore “Poinciana” did justice to the original, but more exciting were other Jamal gems from his trio and final solo recordings, originals and arrangements including a stunning run through Bill Evans’ “Emily.”

But hands down, my favorite show of the month was the evening with multi-lingual vocalst/songwriter Cyrille Aimee, at The Dakota (March 19). I’ve heard her several times at The Dakota as well as (in her early career) at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and I have always enjoyed her light swinging style and engaging stage presence. But this show was not only the most enjoyable of any I’ve heard from her to date, it was one of the best vocal performances I’ve witnessed. Period. Cyrille doesn’t have a big voice but she fills the club space with a sincere high energy delivery. She excels as a storyteller both musically and in introducing her songs, particularly those she has written—and most of this show was original fare. Her stories were essential without overblown—everything in support of the music, personal details without self-indulgence. She’s reminiscent of Stacy Kent and even Nellie McKay (playing the ukulele, too), but more spontaneous than either. Her three supporting musicians were perfect foils. Unlike many standing ovations in Minnesota, this one was simply the least we could do after such an exhilarating evening.

Addendum. I knew I should have waited til Stanley Jordan’s gig at The Dakota before posting. His March 29th solo show went far beyond any I have witnessed, particularly his connection to the audience, and I have seen him a number of times over the years. He’s a virtuoso performer and inventive composer and improviser, always. But something special happened this night. Of course he shined on solo guitar, solo guitar with piano, solo guitar with piano and voice. But the energy was more contagious than ever; he offered an “Autumn Leaves” that morphed into a Jimi Hendrix extravaganza; he took Sting’s “Fragile” into another dimension. And when it was all over, it wasn’t. Jordan was having fun and he was no more ready to leave the stage than the audience was willing to let him go. We were then treated to a half-hour Q and A, with Stanley seeming happy to answer wide-ranging questions while providing us with off-the-cuff sincerity and insight into his music and personal history.

Prologue—Looking Ahead to April


Anat Cohen and Marcello Goncalves at The Dakota (April 4). I can’t count the number of times I have heard Anat Cohen live in the past decade. She’s as prolific as a performer as she is as a composer, bandleader and recording artist, primarily renowned as a virtuosic clarinetist but also a skilled saxophonist. From classical jazz to Brazilian to original music, she has played frequently in the Twin Cities at The Dakota and Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Now she is back with seven-string guitarist Marcello Concalves celebrating the compositions of Brazilian composer Moacir Santos that they recorded on their Grammy-nominated Outra Coisa. Said Downbeat.  “Outra Coisa is a duo album that achieves something very rare: It reduces the big band arrangements of the great Brazilian jazz composer Santos down to just two musicians… The mastery of the two musicians is such as to render additional instruments superfluous.”

APR 4 • 7PM


By: Andrea Canter




You are now being redirected to our official ticket provider. We are not affiliated with any third-party sellers. Thanks and see you at the show!

Buy Tickets