BEST JAZZ CLUB Minneapolis 2002 - Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
1010 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Lowell Pickett's little-club-that-cooks is becoming a perennial in these pages, but not for lack of worthy competition. The Artists' Quarter's new, must-see basement space in downtown St. Paul is as spacious as it is swinging--an aesthetic gem that consistently showcases local and national talent. That said, there's just no denying the Dakota's play list, which rivals that of any jazz club in the country, outside of New York and San Francisco. And ask the world-class musicians who play the coasts where they're most likely to dig deep, and almost to a player they will say St. Paul, praising Pickett's humble hospitality, the enthusiastic audience's musical acumen, and yes, the assorted vino and gourmet vittles. Like most clubs, the Dakota hit a lull at the end of 2001, when people just weren't in a musical mood. But in the New Year, there's been a knock-down blowout almost every week; highlights include saxophonist Joshua Redman's organ-anchored trio, bassist Dave Holland's furiously funky quintet, and sax legend Hamiet Bluiett with anarchic violinist Billy Bang. And Pickett has no plans to slow the tempo. This spring's calendar showcases the gospel-tinged stylings of pianist Benny Green, Tom Harrell's heart-melting trumpet, pianist Ahmad Jamal's melodic antics, and the crowd-pleasing Los Hombres Calientes, the toast of New Orleans. Then, in July...