The Lead Sheet: more voices!
The Twin Cities Jazz Festival has brought us great voices across St Paul—Bruce Henry, Lila Ammons, Maryann Sullivan, Ginger Commodore, Connie Evingson…the list goes on. So we are ready for more! And there are many more on the subway this week and during our holiday weekend.
Tierney Sutton, June 29, The Dakota, 7 p.m. It’s tribute enough that Tierney Sutton has nine Grammy nominations, but consider that every album she’s released in the past decade has received a Best Jazz Vocal Album nomination! Transitioning from Russian studies to jazz, Sutton, a native of Milwaukee, studied at Berklee College of Music, opened for Billy Taylor and Max Roach, and was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition in 1998 alongside Roberta Gambarini and Jane Monheit. , all finishing behind the late Terry Thorton. His fourteen albums to date cover a wide territory, including tributes to Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra, Sting and Joni Mitchell, and feature his longtime Tierney Sutton Band. Sutton spent a decade teaching at USC’s Thornton School of Music and six years leading vocal music at the Los Angeles College of Music. Among her students, she counts Gretchen Parlato and Sara Gazarek. She has performed locally at The Dakota and with the JazzMN Orchestra. Just a few months ago, Sutton released their 15e albumParis Sessions II, with Parisian guitarist (and husband) Serge Merlaud and world renowned flautist Hubert Laws. www.dakotacooks.com (postponed to May 31)
Staci Griesbach, June 30, Cooler, 8 p.m. Los Angeles-based Staci Griesbach invites you to an evening of jazz-inspired covers of songbooks by George Jones and Patsy Cline. “Jazz has inspired me to take my own authentic approach to the genre, with the strong country music influence I had growing up, and my music is reinventing the Great American Songbook of Country Music in Jazz.” rolling stone described her first single from her Patsy Cline Songbook as “a wonderful interpretation of jazz” and the Berger-Express describes her sound as a mix between “the smoke of Diana Krall and the sass of Rosemary Clooney”. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Country Music Hall of Fame and historic Birdland. www.icehouseempls.com
Harry Allen Trio with Charmin Michelle, July 2, Crooners Dunsmore Room, 5 and 7:30 p.m. One of the living giants of mainstream swing jazz, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen makes a rare appearance in the Twin Cities, and he’ll feature one of the area’s favorite swing singers, Charmin Michelle. Charmin is one of the busiest singers in town, with longtime partnerships with guitarist Joel Shapira (“Charmin and Shapira”), the Twin Cities Seven and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra. Charmin first met Harry Allen at a concert in Barcelona. Now they’re teaming up in one of the most singer-friendly venues in the area. www.croonersloungemn.com
Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz Combo, July 2, KJ’s Hide-a-Way, 5:30 p.m. Relatively new to the local jazz scene, Debbie Briggs sings vintage-inspired tunes mostly from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, accompanied by a “small but mighty” combo. Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz highlights the Great American Songbook, sometimes peppered with influences from blues, Americana, western swing and the crooner era. (Maybe the KJs will have to clean the tables for a dance floor?) www.kjshideaway.com
Jay Young and Lyric Factory with Ginger Commodore, July 2, The Dakota, 7 p.m. A master of funky jazz bass, Jay Young and his Lyric Factory have been entertaining in the Twin Cities for over a decade, and a frequent cohort has been vocalist Ginger Commodore. Leading his own quartet and appearing in numerous stage productions, as well as a Sounds of Blackness alumnus and founding member of Moore by Four, Ginger’s springy voice is equally at home with blues and ballads, pop cover or gospel. www.dakotocooks.com