A big challenge for today's jazz musicians is how to create new music without overwhelming listeners with inaccessible pieces. The Twin Cities group Triose has found its way by playing aiming to play good music that's not too complicated. Triose has two performances scheduled in the area this week.
In a crowd, Todd Clouser could be just another guy whose struggles are his own quiet secrets. But on the stage, he's a monster, pouring out guitar riffs with electrified ease. Clouser and his band A Love Electric performs Saturday at the Icehouse restaurant in Minneapolis.
Bassist Omer Avital, whose family hails from Morocco and Yemen, grew up in Israel. Surrounded by one tradition but raised in another, he has long absorbed a variety of styles, including European classical music. But the vehicle he chooses to express his creativity is jazz. He performs Thursday at the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul.
Koplant No, a jazz-electronic band, plays tonight at the Icehouse restaurant in Minneapolis. Since 2008, they've fused a jazz sensibility with ambitious use of samples and electronic sounds to make engaging and expansive music.
When you make your living playing and singing classic songs that were popular decades ago, audiences can be surprised if you throw them a curve.
The artists of the Mother of Masks ensemble aim to honor an expansive culture built on collective and individual expression. The musicians blend spoken word, poetry and improvised music in a blues-based fountain of black creative consciousness.
Jazz saxophonist Dave Karr continues to take the stage with joy, even though he's playing to the choir -- a small audience of fans devoted to bebop, the muscular and unpredictable sound that sparked a musical revolution in the 1940s.
When bandleader Poncho Sanchez brings a soulful blend of Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban and other rhythms to the Ordway Center tonight, he fully expects the audience to get up move.
Lila Downs has long lived in two worlds. Born in Mexico to Mixtec indigenous singer Anita Sanchez and Allen Downs, a Scottish-American art professor and cinematographer, she went to school in Roseville.
Babatunde Lea likes to tell people that, as a child of an African-American family that loved Afro-Caribbean music, he knew how to dance the mambo and cha-cha-cha before he could walk.
When accomplished jazz musicians begin to compose new works of music, they might draw from a variety of influences, from classic songs and works of art to musings of children.
Anyone who sees and hears Chris Bates perform in the Atlantis Quartet, Red Planet, Framework or Leisure Valley won't miss how he powers those innovative ensembles.
The Selby Avenue JazzFest takes place tomorrow in St. Paul featuring a variety of jazz music styles throughout the day and into the evening. The festival, in its 11th year, has helped revitalize Selby Avenue -- a once troubled area that has undergone an economic transformation in recent years.
The Jana Nyberg Group will perform Wednesday at St. Paul's Artists Quarter.
The rich improvisational heritage of big band music in its heyday lives on in today's bands under the direction of composers and leaders who know how to fuse tradition with contemporary styles. Among them is a Twin Cities trumpeter who aims to bring the music into the 21st century.