Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Session: September 15, 2019

Mary Lou Williams
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* The thrilling evolution of British jazz has reached a whole new audience (
* Chris Potter: What Influences the Influencer? (
 * What do music/tech startups REALLY think about working with major labels? (
* Why is Chicago jazz so successful in Europe? (Chicago Reader)
* Tony Bennett, at 93: ‘I just want to keep learning and expressing the truth’ (San Diego Union Tribune)
* Apple Wanted to Revolutionize the Way Streaming Pays. Here’s Why It Wasn’t Allowed (Rolling Stone)
* Abdullah Ibrahim: A Focus on Spirituality (DownBeat)
* The Beatles, Stones, and… Olivia Newton-John?: These are the 50 most valuable records in the world (
* Not All 'Lost' Jazz Albums Are Created Equal (NPR)
* Inside Hemen & Co: the tiny Kolkata sitar shop that supplied the Beatles (The Guardian)
* How Mary Lou Williams Shaped The Sound Of The Big-Band Era (NPR)
* How composer Terence Blanchard wove history into the score for “Harriet” (Fast Company)
* The Bad Plus announce new album; tour dates (
* 'This tape rewrites everything we knew about the Beatles' (The Guardian)
* What Happens When DJs Don’t “Own” Their Record Collections Anymore? (
* Gearhead: How Gene Krupa Kicked the Drum Kit into the Jazz Age (Jazz Times)
* ‘Nobody Is Scrutinizing This’: How Labels Pay to Get Songs on the Radio (Rolling Stone)
* Two Chicago institutions bridge jazz and blues (Chicago Reader)
* When the Pianos Went to War (
* Chops: Streaming Jazz on the Installment Plan (Jazz Times)
* George Benson: “I’ve always been an experimenter. When I was young, I thought I was going to be a scientist” (
* The best classical music works of the 21st century (The Guardian)
* Free jazz research and guerrilla scholarship: an interview with John Gray (The Wire)
* A Blue Note Founder’s View of Jazz Music’s Private Side (The New Yorker)
* Average Music Listening Time Is Down. How Much Does That Matter? (Billboard)
* With New Ensemble Members, SFJAZZ Collective Builds a Bigger Tent (DownBeat)
* New World Prophecy (The American Scholar)
* Soul On Soul: Allison Miller And Derrick Hodge On Honoring Mary Lou Williams (NPR)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2019 jazz preview, part five

This week, it's time for the fifth and final part of StLJN's Fall 2019 preview, featuring videos of noteworthy jazz and creative music performers who will be coming to St. Louis before the end of the year. (This installment was preceded by parts one, two, three, and four.)

Picking up where last week's edition left off, today's first video features keyboardist Marco Benevento, who will be returning to perform on Wednesday, November 13 at the Old Rock House. Benevento, whose most recent recordings have found him exploring more concise, pop-oriented material, can be seen performing a complete set at a gig in November 2018 at Brooklyn Bowl.

After the jump, you can see a video featuring trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who will be playing Wednesday, November 20 through Sunday, November 24 at Jazz St. Louis. The video shows a full set by Blanchard and his band, the E-Collective, recorded in November 2018 at New Morning in Paris.

Next up, it's saxophonist Jeanette Harris and flute player Althea René, who will share a bill on Saturday, November 30 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Harris is featured in the second video after the jump, performing "Just Keep Holding On" in 2013 at Spaghettini's in Los Angeles, followed by René playing "Gypsy Soul" at a gig in 2018 in Chicago.

The following week, singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja returns home for a series of shows starting Wednesday, December 4 and continuing through December 8 at Jazz St. Louis. She can be seen singing "Child of The Moon" from her most recent album Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women, recorded in March of this year in the Studios of TSFJAZZ radio in Paris.

The next weekend, guitarist Fred Frith will return to St. Louis for the first time in nearly 30 years for a concert presented by New Music Circle on Saturday, December 14 at Joe's Cafe. He can be seen in today's penultimate video, which documents a full set of music performed at a gig in April 2019 in Torino, Italy.

The final video of the Fall 2019 jazz preview features drummer Nate Smith and his band Kinfolk, who will make their St. Louis debut starting Wednesday, December 18 and continuing through Sunday, December 22 at Jazz St. Louis. The clip shows them playing a piece called “Rambo” in May 2019 at Dazzle Jazz in Denver, CO.

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

Friday, September 13, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Free tickets are available now for "Such Sweet Thunder," a collaboration among Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Big Muddy Dance Company, and Jazz St. Louis that will be presented Thursday, October 3 through Saturday, October 5 outdoors at the Public Media Commons in Grand Center.

* Bassist and singer Janet Evra has released a music video of "Baila," an original tune from her debut album Ask Her to Dance. The video is the first of three being produced as part of Evra's year-long residency with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

* Last Saturday's Alton Jazz and Wine Festival was covered in a feature story by the Alton Telegraph's David Blanchette.

* “Black Indian Rain Dance,” a track from Pyramids, the new album (pictured) from trumpeter Russell Gunn's Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, was featured on

* A new menu at The Dark Room is the subject of a feature by Feast magazine's Mabel Suen.

* A couple of weeks ago at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles, Stanley Nelson, director of the new documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, took part in a discussion of the film with musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter; actor Carl Lumbly; Miles Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn Jr.; and Davis' son Erin Davis, and a video of the talk has been posted to YouTube.

* Nelson, Wilburn, Erin Davis, and Miles' daughter Cheryl Davis were in St. Louis last weekend for the film's premiere here, and their visit also included a trip to the trumpeter's restored childhood home in East St. Louis, as documented in stories by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn and St. Louis Public Radio's Chad Davis.

* As seen on social media, Wilburn also made time during his St. Louis visit for a trip to Vintage Vinyl.

* Lastly, now that the Davis documentary has opened in theaters around the country, more reviews are coming in rapidly, including appraisals from, San Francisco Chronicle,, Austin Chronicle, and

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Music for Lifelong Achievement musical instrument drive begins on September 16

Music for Lifelong Achievement (MFLA) will begin their annual musical instrument drive next Monday, September 16, with this year's campaign continuing through Sunday, October 20.

MFLA is a local not-for-profit organization based at the Sheldon Concert Hall that collects used and new musical instruments and donates them to school and community music programs serving young people in need. Since its inception, MFLA has provided more than 1,000 instruments to music students all over the St. Louis area.

There are two ways to help: by giving a musical instrument, or giving cash. Selected St. Louis-area Starbucks stores once again will serve as drop-off locations for used and new musical instruments during the drive; see for a list of participating locations.

The donated instruments then will be repaired, if needed, and distributed to students who otherwise would not be able to afford an instrument. Donors get a letter documenting the value of the instrument for tax deduction purposes.

If you don’t have an instrument to donate, MFLA also accepts cash contributions, which are used to help pay for necessary repairs of donated instruments and provide accessories such as strings, reeds, and sheet music. Those donations also are tax deductible.

For more information or to make a donation, call The Sheldon at 314-533-9900 or visit

Jazz this week: Jazz at Holmes resumes, Polyphony Marimba, Miss Maybell, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes the return of a local favorite series of free concerts, plus noteworthy performances in musical styles ranging from from vintage swing and ragtime to modern jazz and beyond.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, September 11
This week's "Wednesday Night Jazz Crawl" in Grand Center features multi-instrumentalist Jacob Alspach and friends playing traditional jazz at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session hosted by bassist Bob DeBoo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and bassist Ben Wheeler's band Sketchbook at The Dark Room.

Thursday, September 12
The Jazz at Holmes series of free concerts at Washington University gets underway for the fall semester with a performance by pianist Ptah Williams (pictured, top left) in Holmes Lounge, located in Ridgley Hall on the Wash U campus.

Also on Thursday, while the sounds made by Polyphony Marimba (pictured, center left), who will be performing at Joe's Cafe & Art Gallery, aren't jazz, they definitely fall into the "creative music" category, mixing the instrumentation of a Zimbabwean percussion ensemble with classical, pop, and other genres.

Elsewhere around town, singer and impressionist Dean Christopher will bring his "Rat Pack and More" show LoRusso's Cucina; singer Cheri Evans and CEEJazzSoul return to the Chase Club; and guitarist Dan Rubright and his group will play at The Dark Room.

Friday, September 13
Dizzy Atmosphere will serve up vintage swing and Gypsy jazz in the "Garden Party Lights" area at Missouri Botanical Garden, and Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Also on Friday, The Gaslight Squares perform at Yaquis on Cherokee, and saxophonist Lisella Martin takes the stage at The Dark Room.

Saturday, September 14
Saturday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents their monthly jam session matinee hosted by pianist Bob Row and drummer John Gillick at J P's Corner, and radio host, author and photographer  Dennis Owsley will sign copies of his new book St. Louis Jazz: A History at the Webster Groves Public Library.

Then on Saturday evening, guitarist Vincent Varvel plays solo at The Dark Room; bassist and singer Janet Evra performs at Evangeline's; and the Funky Butt Brass Band returns to the Broadway Oyster Bar.

September 15
Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform for brunch at the Angad Arts Hotel, while just across the street, singer and guitarist Tommy Halloran will be playing at The Dark Room.

Then on Sunday evening, NYC-based singer Miss Maybell (pictured, bottom left) and pianist Charlie Judkins, who specialize in ragtime, early jazz, and other early 20th century music, will perform at Evangeline's, beginning a week of St. Louis shows that will include gigs at Thaxton Speakeasy, Yaquis, The Frisco Barrom, and The Dark Room.

Monday, September 16
Saxophonist Paul DeMarinis and his trio will perform at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus.

Tuesday, September 17
Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge.

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 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, September 08, 2019

Sunday Session: September 8, 2019

Hamid Drake
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Linda Ronstadt Has Found Another Voice (The New Yorker)
* Charles Lloyd: 'Looking for the one note that can say it all' (Japan Times)
* White Supremacy Tried to Kill Jazz. The Music Triumphed (
* Vijay Iyer (Musicality, Wigmore Hall residency, 2019/20) (London Jazz News)
* Drummer Rudy Royston’s Always Listening (DownBeat)
* Michael Brecker Competition Continues Legacy of Generous Musician (Jazz Times)
* The Voice That Shattered Glass (NPR)
* Detroit Jazz Festival Offers a Mixed Bag (DownBeat)
* CBS SF Talks To King Crimson Bassist Tony Levin (
* The Many Requirements Of Hold Music, A Genre For No One (NPR)
* Jimmy Johnson, Muscle Shoals Guitarist Who Backed Soul & Rock Giants, Dead at 76 (Rolling Stone)
* A Decade of Music Is Lost on Your iPod. These Are The Deleted Years. Now Let Us Praise Them (Esquire)
* Brian Blade & Life Cycles: Uncorking The Spirit of Bobby Hutcherson (
* How Ella Fitzgerald Turned Forgotten Lyrics Into One Of Her Best Performances Ever (NPR)
* Vinyl Is Poised to Outsell CDs For the First Time Since 1986 (Rolling Stone)
* Iggy Pop: 'I've finally got the voice I was supposed to have' (BBC)
* ‘We Always Swing’ To Launch 25th Anniversary Season (DownBeat)
* Music legend Taj Mahal talks music, race and the Rolling Stones (San Diego Union Tribune)
* Delving Into Consciousness: Hamid Drake's Favourite Music (
* Abdullah Ibrahim: Grace Under Pressure (Jazz Times)
* “I Was Always Trying To Get Better”: Sonny Rollins On A Life In Jazz (

Saturday, September 07, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2019 jazz preview, part four

Today's post is part four of StLJN's Fall 2019 jazz preview, featuring videos of jazz and creative musicians who will be coming to St. Louis to perform between now and the end of the year. (You can see part one here, part two here, and part three here.)

Resuming the chronology of shows where last week's installment left off, the first video up above features the funk and fusion quartet TAUK, who will be returning here to perform on Wednesday, October 30 at the Old Rock House. The video shows a complete set from a show in April of this year at Concord Music Hall in Chicago, IL.

After the jump, you can see a video featuring vibraphonist Marco Pacassoni, who will perform in a free concert presented by the Jazz at Holmes series on Thursday, October 31 at Holmes Lounge in Ridgley Hall on the Washington University campus. The clip shows Pacassoni performing his original composition "Freedom" in 2017 with his quartet, which includes Enzo Bocciero (piano), Lorenzo De Angeli (bass), and Matteo Pantaleoni (drums).

That same week, bassist John Clayton, saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and drummer Matt Wilson will be in town doing educational residencies for Jazz St. Louis, culminating in group performances on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at the Bistro.

You can see Clayton in the second video after the jump, which shows him performing "Blue Monk" with fellow bassist Thomas Pol and the JazzArt Orchestra in November 2015 at the Odeon de Spiegel Theater in Schouwburg, Netherlands.

Coffin is up next, playing a duet with cellist Helen Gillet in May 2019 at Sidebar NOLA in New Orleans, followed by Wilson playing a drum solo along with a recording of poet Carl Sandburg in September 2017 at the Jazz Standard in NYC.

The following week, violinist Regina Carter, this time accompanied by pianist Xavier Davis, will return for performances starting Wednesday, November 6 through Sunday, November 10 at Jazz St. Louis.

Carter can be seen playing "Strung Out" in a duet with bassist Bob Hurst, recorded last year at the Detroit Jazz Festival for NPR's "Jazz Night in America," followed by Davis and his trio performing "The Dance Of Life" in May 2018 at the Duende Jazz Bar in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The final video today features Mwenso and the Shakes, who will be bringing their show "Harlem 100" to the Sheldon Concert Hall on Saturday, November 9. The video shows their complete set recorded in August 2019 at the Erie Blues and Jazz Festival in Erie, PA.

Look for the fifth part of StLJN's Fall 2019 jazz preview next week in this space. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, September 06, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The St. Louis County Library has re-opened submissions for their "Listen Up STL" program, which makes recordings from local bands and musicians available on the library's streaming audio service.

The current submission period will close on Monday, September 30. Library cardholders can get the streaming app or access the service from the web for free here.

* The recent Denver stop of saxophonist David Sanborn's "Double Vision Revisited" tour with pianist Bob James and bassist Marcus Miller was reviewed by's C. Andrew Hovan.

* Promoting their appearance at this Saturday's Hermann Wine and Jazz Festival, the Bosman Twins on Tuesday performed and were interviewed on the morning newscast on KTVI (Fox 2).

* Singer and pianist Diane Schuur, who's headlining the Alton Jazz and Wine Festival this Saturday, was interviewed Thursday by John Carney of KTRS.

* Jazz presenter Dorothy Edwards will inducted as an honorary member of the Musicians Association of St. Louis (AFM Local 2-197) at the union's annual awards celebration and dinner on Sunday, September 29 at Bartolino's Osteria.

With her late husband Robert, a trombonist and music educator, Edwards operated the now-closed venue Robbie's House of Jazz in Webster Groves, and she continues to book occasional shows at the Ozark Theatre in Webster.

* As the new documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool opens this weekend in St. Louis, reviews continue to come in, most recently including assessments from The New Yorker and

* Elsewhere on the Miles Davis beat, film footage from 1957 of the trumpeter in Paris - believed to contain the oldest existing moving images of Davis - recently was rediscovered was during an inventory operation at the INA Conservation Center in France.

* Last but not least, in related news, a custom trumpet designed and owned by Davis (pictured) will be auctioned on Tuesday, October 29 in New York at Christie’s auction house, who enlisted trumpeter and St. Louis native Keyon Harrold to demonstrate the horn on video.