A promise was made last September about bringing big-name jazz to the Twin Cities on a regular basis, and it's being kept with the news this week of a super lineup of jazz stars scheduled for the Longhorn Eating Emporium and Saloon in Minneapolis in the next six months.
Pat Blumenthal, Longhorn owner, said last fall that if concerts featuring guitarist Kenny Burrell in September and saxophonist Eddie Harris in October were successful (and they were), he and his partners would continue to bring nationally-known jazz artists here regularly—probably monthly.
Some booking problems kept November jazzless, and in December, the Longhorn had so much reserved business that the owners didn't think they could spend the time on handling jazz concerts, so there were none.
But now a number of superb jazz artists, including such "giants" and pianists Bill Evans and Earl "Fatha" Hines, and saxophonist Sonny Rollins, have been booked for the 200-seat Music Room upstairs in the Longhorn, 14 S. 5th St. between Hennepin and Nicollet.
The schedule opens Jan. 22-25 with the Joe Farrell Quartet, and continues Feb. 18-21 with the Bill Evans Trio; Feb. 25, Sonny Rollins and Nucleus, a quintet; March 10-13, Tony Williams' new Lifetime, and
Longhorn corrals 6-month lineup of nationally - known jazz artists
June 1-5, "Fatha" Hines. The April and May gaps are expected to be filled soon.
Tickets will be $5 per person for all the concerts, except Rollins, which probably will cost $6 per. There will be two shows each night for all performers, usually at 8 and 10:30 p.m., but listeners should check for exact times.
Tickets for Farrell are available now at the Longhorn, and will be at Dayton's Monday. The same two locations will handle tickets for the rest of the concerts, too.
Farrell may be the "sleeper" in the lineup. He probably is not as familiar, at least not to more casual listeners, as the other artists. But those who heard him play with drummer Elvin Jones in the Guthrie Theater several seasons back certainly have not forgotten one of the truly exciting nights in Twin Cities concert history. A small, but enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd, wouldn't let Jones' group, featuring Farrell on saxes and flutes, quit playing.
Farrell, 38, is a Chicago Heights, Ill. native, who was interested in all sorts of music at an early age. In first grade, he recalls, he played recorder. His brother got him interested in tenor saxophone and Farrell has gone from there.
While in college, he played with Ralph Martiere's band, sat in at Chicago jam sessions every
chance he got, then went to New York in 1959 and the following year, joined Maynard Ferguson, with whom he recorded. Since that he's worked with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band, with Jackie Byard, Elvin Jones, and has been leader of his own group and a recording start for CTI Records the past several years.
He now has six albums on CTI if you're interested in checking him out...the last three being, from the most recent back, "Canned Funk" (6053 SI); "Upon This Rock" (6042 SI) and "Penny Arcade" (6034).
He will bring with him former Twin Citian, Victor Lewis, on drums; Barry Finnerty, guitar, and Jeff Berlin, bass.
Meanwhile, the Longhorn has an interesting six-night
schedule of local jazz groups, featuring Natural Life Thursday through Saturday; the
Wolverines, Sunday; either the Mike Elliott or Bobby Peterson trio Monday, and Tommy O'Donnell fronting a trio and sometimes with a vocalist, Wednesday. Admission charge for these groups is $1.50 per person.
I should mention that Joey Piazza, a drummer who plays with tenor saxophonist Irv Williams and O'Donnell on weekends in Hardy's Stagedoor is booking of the big names for the Longhorn.
EVANS ROLLINS HINES
Piazza, who knows some of the leaders and many of the sideman in the fine groups in New York, has done an excellent job, I think, in providing jazz for almost all tastes.
An avant-gardist—someone like Anthony Braxton or Albert Ayler of Marion Brown—would round out the lineup perfectly, for it already contains examples of swing or post-bop, mainstream or modern, some electric bop-jazz and-or rock-jazz.