© Jon Morgan
There is a memorable scene in the Coen brother’s masterpiece Miller’s Crossing (1990) in which the Irish crime boss Leo (played by Albert Finney) reminds his Italian rival Johnny (Jon Polito) of his ability to maintain the Underworld’s social order: “You’re exactly as big as I let you be, and no bigger, and don’t forget it, ever.” When it comes to local jazz musicians, especially those recognized outside of our fair state, is it possible that Minnesota Nice might be creating similar circumstances, particularly our taciturn disinclination to recognize individuals for being exceptional?
How else might we explain the curious case of Anthony Cox, a bassist that will be familiar to not only Twin Cities Jazz Festival attendees for his appearances over the years, but also to international audiences after several decades of recording with the likes of Dewey Redman, Marty Ehrlich, or Geri Allen? It is not unheard of for Cox to play a week at the Village Vanguard with Joe Lovano and Tom Harrell, then return to Minnesota the following week to present a project for two dozen listeners at venues such as the Black Dog, Reverie or Jazz Central.
On Monday night, March 20 (JT’s Jazz Implosion), Cox will be joined by drummer JT Bates and saxophonist Michael Lewis. The latter has also been a fixture on the local jazz scene for the past 20 years, but is often out on the road playing much larger venues with Bon Iver or Andrew Bird, while the former, too, is no stranger to a rock club, having toured with Americana acts The Pines and Dead Man Winter. That this trio has been playing off and on for years under the unassuming moniker The Regional Jazz Trio is completely misleading, for this group’s music is anything but reserved. While they are capable of creating music that is poignant and picturesque, especially Cox and Lewis’ duo The Reverse of Sam and Dave, more likely than not, it will be 75 minutes of wonderfully organized chaos, with Lewis’ reeds blowing torrents of sound over Cox and Bates’ textural offerings.
Also on the bill, Chicago-based drummer and percussionist Paul Grill will be presenting his solo project as the evening’s first set at 9:30 pm.
The Icehouse is located at 2825 Nicollet Av South in Minneapolis; www.icehousempls.com. First set at 9:30 pm (Paul Grill) followed by the Regional Jazz Trio. Cover (at the door) $8. First posted on the Twin Cities Jazz Festival Facebook page