Opening at the Dakota, Marcus Roberts does jazz standards right (via Twin Cities Power Press)


Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, who opened a two-night run at the Dakota Jazz Club on Tuesday night, is an accomplished composer with an abundant book of original tunes. But he must have been in an archival mood in Minneapolis on Tuesday night, since all but one of his opening set tunes were reworked versions of familiar jazz standards.

One of the brightest keyboard talents of his generation, Roberts – who has been blind since age 5 – was recruited as a 21-year-old to join the elite band of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He has led his own highly interactive piano trio for the past three decades.

On his opening tune, a swinging rendition of Thelonious Monk’s “Wee See,” Roberts let his fingers do the dancing. Roberts threw in a few of Monk’s signature eccentricities – some stretched out, exaggerated glissandos and skittering fills – with a Latin tinge supplied by drummer Bryan Carter.

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