Saturday Night Jazz at kj's hideaway

The Lead Sheet: March Jazz in the Twin Cities

Featured TCJF Twin Cities
JT Bates hosts Monday jazz at the Icehouse in March
Jorge Luis Pacheco

It’s been more difficult than ever to figure out what season it is, but play it safe and just refer to this as Jazz Season. That seems appropriate anyway. I didn’t get out as much this past month as planned, but enjoyed hearing Thomasina Petrus in a straight-ahead chamber jazz context with Stablemates, Bruce Henry’s latest edition of The History of African American Music, and  the Adi Yeshaya Orchestra with Jennifer Grimm. And of course we had the Winter Jazz Festival, this year in the Hamm Building in downtown St Paul, on stages at kj’s hideaway and Park Square Theater. Headliner Jorge Luis Pacheco and his trio treated us to an hour+ of original Cuban piano jazz that demands an encore in one of our premier club settings!

March Jazz in the Metro

My usual caveat: These are selected recommendations drawn from listings and notifications received by press time; these reflect my tastes and opinions but, even at that, not exhaustive.  Do check websites, Facebook, etc for your favorite musicians and venues—some do a good job of posting calendars and gigs! I will do some updating throughout the month as I get more information.

Chris Morrissey

Berlin, 204 N First Street, Minneapolis; This  new place for jazz and music in the metro has been getting raves, especially from the musicians.  Sometimes no cover, sometimes tickets. Check out Berlin in the North Loop in March: Patrick Adkins/Adam Linz/Jay Epstein (March 6, 7 pm no cover); Evening with Dave King (March 9, 7 pm; $35); Zacc Harris Group (March 15; 7 pm, $25); Chris Morrissey Album Release (March 22-23, 7 pm, $30). See full schedule on the club’s website.

Crooners Lounge, 6161 Highway 65 NE, Fridley;   The Main Stage and Dunsmore Room offer live music, with a lot of jazz, at least 4 nights per week, as well as piano/vocal duos several nights per week in Maggie’s Lounge. (Watch for May opening of the seasonal third stage, the Belvedere tent.)  In addition to jazz, there’s an eclectic mix of other genres from rock and country to pop, cabaret,  musical revues, and even classical with the debut of an alliance with Schubert Club.

Tanner Taylor

Great jazz in March includes Aja Parham and Quartet Carioca, “Sarah Vaughan in Brazil(March 1); Arne Fogel “Presents the Classic Croonerswith Rick Carlson (March 9); a 20th anniversary homecoming for Tanner Taylor and his trio (March 10); a rare stateside performance by acclaimed vocalist Judy Niemack and pianist John DiMartino (March 14); global sounds from multi-instrumentalist Robert Everest with his Expedition World Music Ensemble (March 14); hometown hero birthday celebration as Bobby Lyle turns 80 (March 22); a family affair with vocalist Linda Peterson’s  The Great American Songbook and Beyond”, featuring brother Paul and son Jason DeLaire (March 23); highlights of the jazzy 30s with Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson (March 23);  Dean Magraw and Rick Carlson leading BluLuna (March 29); Grammy-nominated guitarist Diego Figueirado (March 29).

In Maggie’s Lounge: Solo piano on selected Wednesday nights and piano/voice duos after Friday and Saturday shows, enjoy more casual jazz in the lounge. In March, Rick Carlson handles the keys with vocalists Colleen Raye, Dorothy Doring and Geoff Jones; March 20 (Tom Hunter) and March 27 (Mia Dorr) offer some keyboard excitement. No cover.

Cyrille Aimee

The Dakota, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; Going strong for 20 years in the downtown Minneapolis location (and nearly 40 years since it’s “birth” in St Paul),  The Dakota offers a classy urban setting for dining and listening, and there’s great music every night from most every genre, but best known for world and local jazz stars. Jazzy March highlights include a taste of New Orleans with trombone master/composer/producer Delfeayo Marsalis and his Uptown Orchestra (March 1);  part two of his “Songs I’ve Always Wanted to Play” with veteran drummer Bobby Commodore and his swinging quartet (March 4);  Goldings/Bernstein/Stewart, aka “the best organ trio of the past decade” according to the New York Times (March 18); one of the top vocalists of the the century, Cyrille Aimee (March 19);  the blazing hot 2024 edition of the famed SF Jazz Collective, led now by saxophonist Chris Potter (March 22);  Kavyesh Kaviraj, one of the area’s most versatile and accomplished pianists in tribute to muse Ahmad Jamal (March 25); and the ever-astounding guitar master, Stanley Jordan (March 29). Full calendar, tickets, and more online.

Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet Av, Minneapolis ( A cool venue (really an old icehouse) in Uptown Minneapolis, you can hear every genre of music here, from classical to avant garde jazz, often with some of our top jazzers curating the best in town. JT Bates curates Monday nights this month, and sometimes jazz pops up for the dinner sets on weekends.  Jazz in March includes Tina Schlieske’s jazz album debut (March 1); dinner jazz with Bryan Nichols and Zacc Harris  (March 2); JT presents the Rhodes Quartet with Bryan Nichols, deVon Gray (dVRG), John Keston and Martin Dosh (March 4); JT Bates and fellow percussion master Eri Isomura in solo sets (March 18);  Doug Little’s Charanga Tropicale (March 24); JT Bates Grain Trio (March 25); Happy Hour with piano giant Joe Strachan (March 30). Visit the website for updates and more complete music listings as well as ticket info and reservations.

Pete James Johnson

Jazz Central Studios, 407 Central Av SE, Minneapolis; www.jazzcentralstudios.orgThe “little engine that could” equivalent of jazz clubs, Jazz Central has been chugging along for more than a decade under the leadership of drummer Mac Santiago, offering a space for musicians to experiment and perform. The new Steinway grand offers even more reason to come downstairs . Music usually five nights per week.  Note Jazz Central continues to offer Friday, Saturday and select Thursday music live streamed, free! See the link on the website!  All shows 8 pm unless otherwise noted.

In March, catch big bands on Tuesdays: Bill Simenson Orchestra (March 5); Cedar Avenue Big Band (March 12); Explosion Big Band (March 19); and the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra (March 26).

Some other gigs this month include: Better Mistakes (“a micro brassish band”) with special guest horns Venomous Snakes (March 2);  solo piano night with Mike Eckroth (March 6); one-time co-manager of Jazz Central, pianist Tanner Taylor (March 9); New York saxophonist JD Allen makes a rare Twin Cities appearance with local greats Jeffrey Bailey on bass and Abinnet Berhanu on drums (March 15); JCS@JCS –JC Sanford ‘s monthly improvisation session features an all-trombone ensemble with Matthew Echols, Nick Syman and Kirsten Warfield (March 20); drummer Pete James Johnson leads a trio with Paul Hecht and Dan Carpel (March 22). More jazz, more music on the JC calendar at

JD Allen

kj’s hide-a-way; 408 St Peter Street, St Paul;  The Hamm Building is historic on its own, but the lower level club space is blessed with the history of the beloved Artists Quarter. kj’s features jazz at least weekly via Steve Kenny’s Saturday Night Jazz series. A masterful trumpeter as well as impresario, Steve ensures stellar performances, requiring bands to be purveyors of original music.  Sometimes 2 bands, often one band plays two sets.

In March: Ross Clowser Quartet plays two sets (March 2; Henry Berberi Trio  opens, followed by the Will Schmid Quartet (March 9); a very special night —Cody Steinmann Trio with New York saxophonist JD Allen, playing two sets (March 16); Shane Cox Trio followed by the Adam Harder Nussbaum Quintet (March 23).

Launching this month is kj’s Emerging Artists Jazz Night (Wednesday, March 20, 7 pm) with a double header, featuring the Aberration Combo led by saxophonist Luca Cavelletti and the Paul Hecht Quintet North.

Full schedule, pre-order for tickets and more information at

The Lexington, 1096 Grand Av, St Paul; A landmark supper club in the heart of St Paul’s Grand Avenue district, with jazz most Friday and Saturday nights in the classy Williamsburg Room. Specify Williamsburg Room when you reserve; $5 music charge.

March music: Joel Shapira Trio (March 1,2);  Gypsy Mania Trio (March 8); Ray Barnard Band (March 9); Stablemates (March 15-16); Pete Snell Trio (March 22); Phil Aaron Trio (March 23);  Maryann and the Moneymakers (March 29); Dan Newton Trio (March 30).

Metronome Brewery,  385 Broadway, St Paul, With music nestled in the subterranean “Fingal’s Cave” in St Paul’s Lowertown, Metronome offers nearly nightly music with plenty of first class jazz.

Among the March offerings: Paul Harper Quartet (4 pm) followed by the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective’s Young Artists Sit-In (March 3); monthly performance by Red Planet (March 5, 7 pm); jazz harpist Park Stickney solos in a fundraiser for SourceMN Food Shelf (6:30 pm, March 10); monthly gig with Stablemates (7 pm, March 14); Peter Kogan’s Jazz Presents…(7 pm. March 21); Fuzzy Math (7:30 pm,  March 22);  TRIUS –Dave Hagedorn, Kevin Clement, Reid Kennedy (7 pm, March 28).

Jennifer Grimm and Joe Cruz

Smack Shack, 3801 Minnesota Drive, Bloomington;  A new music venue in the south burbs, with bookings by the former booker at The Lex. Music in the “funky little shack” room every Friday and Saturday, 7-10 pm, often jazz.

Jazz in the Shack in March includes Katie Gearty and the Zacc Harris Quintet (March 1); Jennifer Grimm and Omar Abdulkarrim (March 8-9); Jennifer Grimm and Joe Cruz (March 15); Katia Cardenas Quartet (March 22); Sheridan Zuther Quartet (March 23); Charmin and Shapira (March 28-29).

More Jazz Around Town!  Some other gigs worth checking out: Cellist Tomeka Reid at the Walker (March 2); the Rondo Community Music Series holds two free concerts at Walker West Music Academy in March—the Jack Breen Ensemble (March 2, 7 pm) and the Give Get Sistet (March 16, 7 pm);  Volstead’s jazzy weekends include Tanner Taylor (March 8) and Stablemates (March 17); and the Chart House hosts Maurice Jacox’s Nat King Cole Show (March 28)

Tomeka Reid