On Saturday night, Sandy and I went to see the Ginger Commodore Quintet at the Dakota Jazz Club. This was a high energy show, with Ginger in great vocal form, with Mark Weisberg on six-string bass, Clay Blaske on piano, Kathy Jensen on sax, and Bobby Commodore on drums. What I love about this band is the way they know how to build a song, taking familiar standards to a whole new level. Ginger has this fabulous ability to connect with the audience, and generate real excitement, even among Minnesotans! Kathy Jensen's playing is just awesome, very aggressive, but always well-balanced. Emma Weisberg and Debbie Duncan also wowed the audience with guest appearances.
On Sunday night, we went to Brit's Pub to see the Paul Renz Quintet, with Paul on guitar and special guest Anders Bostrom on soprano, alto and baritone flutes, Nathan Fryett on drums, Brian Ziemniak on keys, and Eric Graham on fretless bass guitar. This was a good gig in a great upstairs space, the Clubhouse Room by the rooftop bowling green. Paul's playing is always inventive and risk-taking, and the flute sounds are always intriguing. Very competent backing and soloing from the rest of the band on a strong collection of original compositions. I studied guitar and bass with Paul for several years, playing alongside him in student ensembles out of the West Bank School of Music, so I have great respect for him as a player and a teacher.