The Twin Cities Jazz Festival brought us some great voices throughout St Paul—Bruce Henry, Lila Ammons, Maryann Sullivan, Ginger Commodore, Connie Evingson… the list goes on. So we’re primed for more! And there’s a lot more around the metro this week and into our holiday weekend.
Tierney Sutton, June 29, The Dakota, 7 pm. It’s tribute enough that Tierney Sutton has nine Grammy nominations, but consider that every album she has released in the last decade has received the nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album! Switching from Russian studies to jazz, Milwaukee native Sutton studied at the Berklee College of Music, opened for Billy Taylor and Max Roach, and was a finalist in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition alongside Roberta Gambarini and Jane Monheit, all finishing behind the late Terry Thornton. Her fourteen albums to date cover broad territory, including tributes to Bill Evans, Frank Sinatra, Sting, and Joni Mitchell, and feature her long-running Tierney Sutton Band. Sutton spent a decade teaching at USC’s Thornton School of Music and six years as head of Vocal Music at the Los Angeles College of Music. Among her students, she counts Gretchen Parlato and Sara Gazarek. She’s performed locally at the Dakota and with the JazzMN Orchestra. Just a couple months ago, Sutton released her 15th album, Paris Sessions II, featuring Parisian guitarist (and husband) Serge Merlaud and world renowned flutist Hubert Laws. www.dakotacooks.com (rescheduled from May 31)
Staci Griesbach, June 30, Icehouse, 8 pm. Los Angeles-based Staci Griesbach invites you to an evening of jazz-inspired takes on the George Jones and Patsy Cline songbooks. “Jazz has inspired me to take my own authentic approach to the genre, with the heavy influence of country music I had growing up, and my music reimagines the Great American Songbook of Country Music in Jazz.” Rolling Stone described her first single off her Patsy Cline Songbook as “a gorgeous jazz interpretation” and the Shepherd-Express describes her sound as a mix between “Diana Krall smokiness and Rosemary Clooney sass.” She’s performed at Carnegie Hall, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and historic Birdland. www.icehousempls.com
Harry Allen Trio with Charmin Michelle, July 2, Crooners Dunsmore Room, 5 & 7:30pm. One of the living giants of swinging mainstream jazz, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen makes a rare appearance in the Twin Cities, and he will feature one of the area’s favorite swinging, mainstream vocalists, Charmin Michelle. Charmin is one of the most active vocalists in town, with long-running partnerships with guitarist Joel Shapira (“Charmin and Shapira”), the Twin Cities Seven, and the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra. Charmin first met Harry Allen when performing in Barcelona. Now they pair up in one of the most vocalist-friendly rooms in the region. www.croonersloungemn.com
Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz Combo, July 2, KJ’s Hide-a-Way, 5:30 pm. Relatively new on the local jazz scene, Debbie Briggs sings vintage inspired tunes primarily from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, accompanied by a “small but mighty” combo. Debbie Briggs Vintage Jazz highlights the Great American Songbook, at times peppered with influences of Blues, Americana, Western Swing, and the Crooner era. (Maybe KJs will have to clear the tables for a dance floor?) www.kjshideaway.com
Jay Young and Lyric Factory with Ginger Commodore, July 2, The Dakota, 7 pm. Master of funky jazz bass, Jay Young and his Lyric Factory have been entertaining across the Twin Cities for more than a decade, and a frequent cohort has been vocalist Ginger Commodore. Leading her own quartet and appearing in many stage productions, as well as an alum of Sounds of Blackness and a founding member of Moore by Four, Ginger’s elastic voice is as comfortable with the blues as well as the ballad, pop cover or gospel. www.dakotocooks.com