An announcement over the Thanksgiving break by JT Bates has Twin Cities jazz lovers singing the blues. The ubiquitous all-purpose drummer is calling an end to the JT Jazz Implosion gigs at Icehouse in south Minneapolis, a musically adventurous Monday night tradition that dates back to the late-‘90s when his trio Fat Kid Wednesdays started performing weekly in the Clown Lounge at the Turf Club.
“After 20ish years of booking a music series, I’m ready for a change,” Bates said in a Facebook post that spilled the news. He pinned down a Dec. 17 gig by the JC Sanford Quartet as the final night, with four more gigs in the interim, counting two in store for tonight: Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband’s release party at 7 p.m. followed by the Javi Santiago Quartet at the usual 9:30 p.m.
“The music that Mondays have featured will continue at Icehouse, including the touring shows that you all have helped make so incredible,” Bates continued. “Some parts of this transition remain undefined at this moment, but we know that music is a part of the DNA of Icehouse, so I am not worried, only excited to see how it can grow and change, and also be able to happen at other times and days besides late Mondays.”
In its own Thanksgiving-tinged announcement, Icehouse’s management expressed the gratitude toward Bates that’s widely shared around the Twin Cities music scene.
“The idea for opening a venue (and what became Icehouse) started over the course of many, very late nights at the Clown Lounge and thru tons of conversation with JT, Dave [Weigardt] and too many others to mention,” read the club’s Facebook page. “To this day, hands down the best nights of live music we've experienced occurred during many many Monday nights. The scene he cultivated with so much love, thought and care for the music and everyone involved will never be replicated and we are so grateful he allowed us along for the ride.”
Both Bates and the Icehouse team pledged a renewed commitment to jazz bookings beyond Monday nights at the Nicollet Avenue supper club, saying the shows there will be spread around throughout the week more and include earlier start times.
Here are the final five JT Jazz Implosion shows. Tickets and other info are available at icehousempls.com.
Tonight, pt. 1: Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband release show for “The Green Album” (7 p.m.)
Tonight, pt. 2: Javi Santigo Quartet (9:30 p.m.)
Dec. 3: Jim Campilongo Trio with Chris Morrissey and Josh Dion (9:30 p.m.)
Dec. 10: Chris Bates Red 5 (9:30 p.m.)
Dec. 17: JC Sanford Quartet (9:30 p.m.)