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BEST LOCAL IMPRESARIO Minneapolis 2003 - Brilliant Corners

For cutting-edge or colossally important arts programming, there are many bigger and better venues than Brilliant Corners, the tiny St. Paul jazz spot that Jeremy Walker and Marsha Corliss opened earlier this year. But the enterprising twosome deserves a big-up for sheer gumption. In this or any economy, it takes profound chutzpah to launch an all-ages (read: good coffee, no liquor) music venue that's open late all week. Plus, with the Dakota and the AQ already straining to showcase national and local talent without going bust, no one's been clamoring for another Twin Cities jazz club. Cap these audacities with the duo's readiness to open in downtown St. Paul, where ex-mayor Norm Coleman's fever dream of a boffo capital-city nightlife never truly materialized. (If only bebop and hockey made better bedfellows....) To Corliss and Walker's credit, their bucking of conventional wisdom has already yielded bright moments, including a warm, memorable showcase for the Matt Wilson Quartet in March and a healthy new open-jam scene for next-gen jazzbos. Having Wynton Marsalis as an artistic advisor may be better for networking purposes than it is for rallying musically progressive esprit, but it's the passionate, proactive, community-conscious business plan that we admire. If just 10 percent of jaded music scenesters took a cue from these cats, defying the Clear Channel monolith would be a lot more successful.

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