Saturday, October 20, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Eddie Henderson



This week, StLJN's video spotlight is focused on trumpeter Eddie Henderson, who's returning to St. Louis to perform next Friday, October 26 at St. Louis University's Xavier Hall.

Presented in conjunction with SLU as the first production of the revived Nu-Art Series, the concert also will feature poet and author Leah LeFlore (daughter of the late trumpeter and Black Artists Group co-founder Floyd LeFlore), pianist Ptah Williams, and trumpeter George Sams, the founder and head of Nu-Art.

Henderson, who will celebrate his 78th birthday the day of his St. Louis show, recently has enjoyed renewed public attention, performing and recording with the "supergroup" The Cookers and earlier this year releasing a new quintet album, Be Cool, on the Smoke Sessions label.

Probably still best known for his work with Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band in the early 1970s, Henderson for years pursued dual careers in music and in medicine, working as a practicing psychiatrist in San Francisco when not touring.

Even so, he's managed to release 30 albums as a leader over the course of his career, ranging in style from fusion and funk to straight-ahead, while also accumulating performance and recording credits with Pharoah Sanders, Mike Nock, Norman Connors, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Charles Earland, Azteca, and more.

To give you an idea of Henderson's style and repertoire, we've collected videos of some relatively recent live performances, starting up above with a full set of Henderson leading a quintet in 2016 at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis.

After the jump, you can see him playing the Kenny Barron composition "Phantoms," a frequent part of his live shows, with a quartet in March of last year in Zagreb, Croatia,

That's followed by two clips featuring Henderson as a guest performer with a band led by trumpeter Jesse Fischer, performing his own composition "Sunburst" and Hancock's "You'll Know When You Get There" in December 2013 at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, NY.

Next is a video from one of Henderson's previous appearances in St. Louis, at a concert in March 2012 presented by the Nu-Art Series at the now-closed Metropolitan Gallery downtown. Along with the trumpeter, the band includes Freddie Washington on tenor sax, Ptah Williams on piano, Bob DeBoo on bass, and Gary Sykes on drums.

The sixth and final video is an episode of the web series "The Pace Report" from 2012, which includes some performance footage as well as an interview with Henderson by host Brian Pace.

For more about Eddie Henderson, listen to the interview he did in March 2018 with 21CM.org; read DownBeat's feature on him from earlier this year, occasioned by the release of Be Cool; and check out his 2012 radio interview on the Tucson, AZ-based "The Jake Feinberg Show."

One last thing: Observant readers will note, for the first time in many years, the presence of titles and various other typographical bric-a-brac superimposed over the YouTube embeds in this post. Unfortunately, this is a result of YouTube permanently changing its embed code so that those items no longer can be hidden, claiming that they are "an integral part of the YouTube experience."

While yr. humble editor will continue to search for another way to remove the superfluous material (which, often as not, contains misspellings and errors), it looks like all sites that embed YouTube videos are stuck with the new formatting limitations for now.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, October 19, 2018

Craig Pomranz returning to perform December 7 & 8 at Kranzberg Arts Center

Singer and St. Louis native Craig Pomranz is bringing his cabaret show "Love: It Takes Time..." to his hometown for performances at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

The show, directed by Ronald Cohen with musical direction by Michael Roberts, includes selections from classic songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim; pop material from Amy Winehouse and Neal Sedaka; and more.

Pomranz (pictured) is a past winner of the "Best Male Vocalist" award from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC) in NYC, as well as the recipient of critical plaudits from New York magazine, GQ, the New York Post, Backstage, and many others.

Tickets for Craig Pomranz' "Love: It Takes Time..." are $25, and are on sale now via Metrotix.

Janet Evra celebrating album release on Sunday, November 18 at .ZACK

Bassist and singer Janet Evra will celebrate the release of her debut album Ask Her To Dance with a performance at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, November 18 at .ZACK, 3224 Locust St. in Grand Center.

Evra (pictured) will be accompanied by the musicians who played on the recording, including her husband, guitarist Will Buchanan, along with Adam Maness (piano), Montez Coleman (drums), Khamali Cuffie-Moore (trumpet), and Kwanae Johnson (tenor sax), plus additional special guests such as singer Chrissy Renick, keyboardist Jim Hegarty, and more.

The album, recorded by Jason McEntire at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis and mastered by Brad Sarno at Blue Jade Audio, includes nine original songs, some evoking the bossa nova sound that influenced Evra and Buchanan in their "cover" project, The Bonbon Plot.

Tickets are $10, which includes general admission plus a CD of the album, and are on sale now via Metrotix.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries has named Peter Palermo as its new executive director, replacing Paul Reuter, who retires next year. Palermo comes to the Sheldon from the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree University in Lebanon, IL.

* Author, poet and Miles Davis biographer Quincy Troupe will speak and sign copies of his new book Miles & Me (pictured) on Sunday, November 4 at Left Bank Books.

* Pianist and St. Louis native Dred Scott's new album Rides Alone was reviewed by LucidCulture.com.

* As part of the BRIC Jazz Festival in NYC, trumpeter Keyon Harrold this week took part in a panel discussion about the evolution of jazz with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, guitarist and singer Camila Meza, and journalist Nate Chinen. Video of the discussion is said to be forthcoming...

* And speaking of panel discussions, on Wednesday, November 7 the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will host "a special listening experience and discussion of the new box set Miles Davis & John Coltrane—the Final Tour: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6." The panel will include Coltrane's daughter Miki Coltrane, Miles' son Erin Davis and nephew Vince Wilburn, Jr, and Steve Berkowitz, who produced the box set.

* Radio station WSIE and Trusty Chords Record Shop in Edwardsville are teaming up to put together an endcap display in the store featuring local and regional music played on the station. If you're a musician or indie label with a recent or upcoming release and would like to be considered for inclusion, contact WSIE general manager Jason Church at jaschur@siue.edu.

* Lastly, if you've ever wondered what the various venues in the Grand Center Arts District would look like if they were recorded on video in a time-lapse style, with the resulting footage then set to an EDM soundtrack to make a two-and-a-half minute music video, wonder no more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Jazz this week: Jon Batiste, Gaslight Cabaret Festival fall series opens with "Broadway's Greatest Hits," and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis offers the chance for a close-up look at a top TV bandleader, the start of this fall's Gaslight Cabaret Festival, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, October 17
Since it doesn't seem to have been publicly announced anywhere else, this seems like a good place to note that organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, who previously was announced as performing Wednesday through Sunday of this week at Jazz St. Louis, last month cancelled a number of upcoming performances, including his St. Louis dates, due to illness.

While we all no doubt wish Smith a speedy and complete recovery, the late-breaking nature of this unfortunate development means that the Bistro, presumably unable to secure a suitable replacement in time, will be dark for the next week.

However, the weekly  "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" continues as usual, with Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session hosted by bassist Bob DeBoo and friends at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor and band at The Dark Room.

Also on Wednesday, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club; Wright's Project plays fusion and funk at Al's Lounge; and trumpeter Jim Manley is back for his weekly performance at Sasha's Wine Bar.

Thursday, October 18
The Poor People of Paris will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, and singer Joe Mancuso is back at 50/Fifty Kitchen.

Also on Thursday, saxophonist Harvey Lockhart and the Collective will perform at The Dark Room, and the Stephen Haake Trio returns to The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, October 19
The fall series of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival begins with the first of two nights of "Broadway's Greatest Hits of All Time," as performed by singers Lianne Marie Dobbs and William Michals at the Gaslight Theater.

Also on Friday, keyboardist Ryan Marquez, his trio, and special guest vocalist Lola will play at the Kranzberg Arts Center; bassist and singer Janet Evra performs at Evangeline's; drummer Steve Davis brings his "Super Band" with singer Feyza Eren to the Ozark Theatre; and singer Erin Bode performs (with only a few seats left for purchase at the door) at Focal Point.

Saturday, October 20
Keyboardist Jon Batiste (pictured), the New Orleans native known for leading the house band on CBS' The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, will officially open this season's jazz series at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and guitarist Todd Mosby will play a solo concert at the Webster Groves Garden Cafe.

Sunday, October 21
Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran plays for brunch at The Dark Room, while Annie and the Fur Trappers will perform for the brunch crowd at Evangeline's.

Monday, October 22
Dizzy Atmosphere returns to The Shaved Duck.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday Session: October 14, 2018

Esperanza Spalding
Here's a roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* BBC 'to make classical music archive available' (BBC)
* Quincy Jones, From A to Z (Rolling Stone)
* From Studio to Screen: Becoming a Composer (FactMag.com)
* Roy Orbison hologram concert in L.A. invites awe and debate (Los Angeles Times)
* Barcelona’s Jazz Festival Thrives at 50 (DownBeat)
* Visualizing 40 Years of Music Industry Sales (VisualCapitalist.com)
* Women Run the Show at Monterey Jazz Fest (San Francisco Classical Voice)
* Louis Armstrong's unseen artifacts almost ready for public view (AMNY.com)
* Radiohead, the Cure, Rage, Janet Jackson Nominated for Rock Hall of Fame 2019 (Pitchfork)
* Esperanza Spalding Casts First of “12 Little Spells” Online (Jazz Times)
* Shelved: Bill Evans’ Loose Blues (LongReads.com)
* “Automation Divine”: Early Computer Music and the Selling of the Cold War (New Music Box)
* Ahmad Jamal at 88: Still playing hard and on his way to Chicago (Chicago Tribune)
* A Labor of Love Supreme: Saving John Coltrane's Home Studio (Pro Sound News)
* Elvis Costello Explains His Great New Album, ‘Look Now’ (Rolling Stone)
* Into the Vault: Erroll Garner Uncovered (NPR)
* Key Music Modernization Act Proponents Disinvited to White House Signing Ceremony (Billboard)
* Marc Ribot Leads a Musical Army Protesting Against Trump (The Daily Beast)
* Lindsey Buckingham sues Fleetwood Mac for kicking him out (Associated Press)
* Famed jazz saxophonist accused of sexual misconduct by former protégé now suing for defamation (New York Daily News)
* Ben Wendel Takes ‘The Seasons’ from Video Project to Album (DownBeat)
* Tony Bennett & Diana Krall: They Like a Gershwin Tune (Jazz Times)
* Berklee to Launch Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice (Jazz Times)
* Maxine Gordon Ended Up Married to the Music (Publishers Weekly)
* The Unearthing of Thelonious Monk’s Lost Live Classic (Bandcamp.com)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Remembering Hamiet Bluiett



The jazz world and the St. Louis area both suffered a big loss last week with the death of Hamiet Bluiett, one of the greatest baritone saxophonists of all time and a co-founder of both the Black Artists Group and the World Saxophone Quartet.

While StLJN's obituary for Bluiett, published last week shortly after his death, covered the broad outline of Bluiett's career, there's much more to say, and media, fans, and fellow musicians have all paid tribute to the saxophonist in recent days.

Here in St. Louis, Bluiett's passing was noted by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio and the St. Louis American.

Nationally and internationally, coverage included obits and/or tributes from the New York Times, NPR, Jazz Times, London Jazz News, and DownBeat - the latter penned by St. Louis' own Terry Perkins, who's preparing a more extensive article about Bluiett for an upcoming issue of the magazine.

In addition to the piece that aired on NPR, veteran jazz writer and radio host Gene Seymour wrote a tribute to Bluiett specifically for NYC public radio station WBGO.

Also, a number of musicians weighed in about Bluiett on social media and on their personal sites, including bassist Melvin Gibbs, with a good story about playing a blues gig early in his career with Bluiett; saxophonists Sam Newsome, Jaleel Shaw and Tony Kofi, bassists Dave Holland and Christian McBride, and guitarist Vernon Reid.

Perhaps the best way to remember Hamiet Bluiett, though, is through his music, and toward that end, StLJN has assembled some favorite online video clips of live performances featuring him, starting up above with a complete set of of the World Saxophone Quartet, recorded at near the height of their collective powers in 1987 at Jazzfest Berlin.

This is the original WSQ lineup, with Bluiett, Julius Hemphill (alto sax, soprano sax), Oliver Lake (alto sax, soprano sax) and David Murray (tenor sax), and the set contains several arrangements from their then-current album of arrangements of music by Duke Ellington.

After the jump, we leap back in time to July 1974, when Bluiett was part of Charles Mingus's band for a performance at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Todi, Italy.

The song is called "Flowers For A Lady," and after tenor saxophonist George Adams and pianist Don Pullen play their solos, at about the six-minute mark it's Bluiett's turn, and he comes in hard, shredding in the altissimo register while Mingus and drummer Dannie Richmond stoke the rhythm.

After that, there's a full concert of Bluiett's band Clarinet Family from 1984 in Berlin, featuring fellow St. Louisan J.D. Parran in the ensemble along with clarinetists Buddy Collette, Edward "Kidd" Jordan, John Purcell, Dwight Andrews, Don Byron, and bassist Fred Hopkins.

Next up is a video apparently shot in 2000 in Ghana, featuring Bluiett with some local players. There's not a whole lot of other information available about this clip, but Bluiett sounds good on it, and it's an interesting groove.

The fifth video documents a performance by Bluiett's Bio-Electric Ensemble in June 2013 as part of the Vision Festival at Roulette in New York City. Along with the leader, the group features Matthew Whittaker on electric keyboards, D.D. Jackson on piano, Harrison Bankhead on bass and Hamid Drake on drums.

That's followed by another set of music by Bluiett, Drake, and bassist William Parker, recorded in January 2016 in NYC.

Finally, you can view the profile of Bluiett done in 2008 by KETC's Living St. Louis program, and a nearly hour-long interview with Bluiett, conducted by saxophonist and latter-day WSQ member Bruce Williams in October 2016 at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, October 12, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's StLJN's latest wrap-up of assorted links and short news items of local interest:

* Saxophonist Ben Reece, keyboardist Mo Egeston, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor were interviewed on a recent episode of Rock Paper Podcast

* Bassist and singer Janet Evra appeared Tuesday on KTVI/Fox 2's morning newscast.

* In advance of his debut later this month at SFJAZZ in San Francisco, trumpeter Keyon Harrold's past collaborations are the subject of an article on SFJAZZ.org's website

* Cabaret singer and pianist Rick Jensen's performance last Saturday at the Kranzberg Arts Center was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* The family of the late Hamiet Bluiett (pictured) is trying to raise money via crowd-funding for burial and memorial expenses, as the baritone sax great died last week without life insurance. If you'd like to contribute, go to https://www.gofundme.com/683jk7k. (You also can help by sharing the GoFundMe page URL on social media and elsewhere.)

A funeral service for Bluiett will be held at 10:00 a.m. today (Friday, October 12) at Lovejoy Temple Church of God, 511 Canal Street in Brooklyn, IL, followed by burial at 12:30 p.m. at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.