Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jazz this week: Ralph Towner, MarchFourth, Oliver Lake, Bonerama, Michael Bublé, Oz Noy, Dave Weckl & Jimmy Haslip, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis is jam-packed with so many noteworthy shows that it defies easy summary, so in the interest of getting to the good stuff as soon as possible, let's go to the highlights...

March 20
Guitarist Ralph Towner returns to play a solo concert at Graham Chapel on the Washington University campus. (For more about Towner and some video samples of his work, see this post from before his last appearance here in 2017.)

Also on Wednesday, the eclectic mutant-marching-band MarchFourth returns for a performance at the Old Rock House; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge; and pianist Reggie Thomas and the Jazz St. Louis Big Band celebrate the "Nat "King" Cole Centennial" with a free performance as part of the the "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series at Jazz St. Louis.

Thursday, March 21
The 442s play original instrumental music at Joe's Cafe, and guitarist Billy Barnett will perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, March 22
The Nu-Art Series and St. Louis University  present saxophonist Oliver Lake (pictured, top left) in concert at Xavier Hall on the SLU campus.

The former St. Louisan and co-founder of the Black Artists Group and the World Saxophone Quartet will be reciting some of his poetry as well as playing music, with some help from pianist Greg Mills, trumpeter and Nu-Art Series impresario George Sams, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd.

For more about Lake and his artistic pursuits in music, poetry, and painting, see this post from last Saturday. 

Also on Friday, Bonerama (pictured, center left) presents their Led Zeppelin tribute show at The Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy; pop-jazz crooner Michael Bublé will perform at the Enterprise Center; and the Funky Butt Brass Band plays for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Saturday, March 23
NYC-based band The Bailsmen will play vintage swing and Gypsy jazz at Focal Point, and a series of shows celebrating the release of the new book St. Louis Sound kicks off with "St. Louis Sound: Experience Jazz," featuring sets from Tonina, the Adam Maness Trio, and trumpeter Danny Campbell with guest vocalist Anita Jackson, at the Grandel Theatre.

Also on Saturday, pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True return to the Parkside Grille, and trumpeter Jim Manley leads a quartet at Evangeline's.

Sunday, March 24
Israeli-born jazz-fusion guitarist Oz Noy wraps up his current tour with drummer and St. Charles native Dave Weckl (pictured, bottom left) and bassist Jimmy Haslip with two shows at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Monday, March 25
Singer and impressionist Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack and More" show to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; and Webster University's Student Jazz Combos perform at Webster's Community Music School.

Tuesday, March 26
Nashville-based ensemble The Cosmic Collective plays at Evangeline's.

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.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue to perform Friday, June 7 at The Pageant

New Orleans multi-instrumentalist and singer Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue are returning to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 7 at The Pageant.

Shorty (pictured) last played here in August 2015 at Ballpark Village. His most recent album Parking Lot Symphony was released in 2017 on the Blue Note label.

Tickets for Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are $40 for reserved seats, $30/$35 for general admission (advance/day of show), with a $2 surcharge for minors, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, March 22 via Ticketmaster.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Session: March 17, 2019

Tomeka Reid
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:

* Lennie Tristano at 100 — Scenario for a Jazz Legend (Town Topics)
* First Listen: The Comet Is Coming, 'Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery' (NPR)
* Separated by 50 Years, Israels, Diehl Find Common Ground (DownBeat)
* More evidence of sound waves carrying mass (
* In Focus: Joe McPhee (
* Deep Dive: Odds 'n' Ends About Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young and "Jazz" Itself (WBGO)
* Makaya McCraven: The Brain Behind The Mind-Bending Beats (NPR)
* Hal Blaine, Drummer Behind the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” Dead at 90 (
* Delfeayo Marsalis bringing everything from New Orleans but the cuisine to Lied Center (Lincoln Journal Star)
* How we made Booker T and the MGs' Green Onions (The Guardian)
* Fort Apache: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful (Jazz Times)
* On the Road with Cellist Tomeka Reid (DownBeat)
* Blue Note Launches Vinyl Reissue Series (Keyboard)
* Joe Lovano: The intimate moment of now (
* Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Four Classic Albums (Jazz Journal)
* Sidewinder: The Murder of Lee Morgan (
* Rebuilding the ARC: America’s Largest Music Collection Needs Your Help (Rolling Stone)
* No Man's Band: All-Female Jazz Orchestras Then and Now (NPR)
* A Short History of… The Legend of Buddy Bolden (Jazziz)
* Wearing headphones at a concert isn’t as weird as I thought it would be (
* Welcome to Birdpunk: A Subculture of a Subculture (Audubon)
* A brief history of why artists are no longer making a living making music (
* How the 45 RPM Single Changed Music Forever (Rolling Stone)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The eclectic artistry of Oliver Lake

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on musician, painter, poet, and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake, who's coming to town to perform in a concert sponsored by the Nu-Art Series and St. Louis University next Friday, March 22 at Xavier Hall on the SLU campus.

Lake will joined for the performance by pianist Greg Mills, trumpeter and Nu-Art Series impresario George Sams, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd, and, in keeping with the "Jazz 'N Tongues" theme of Nu-Art's current slate of shows, he'll read some of his poetry as well as playing saxophone.

Though born in Arkansas, Lake grew up and spent his formative musical years here in St. Louis, helping co-found the famed Black Artists Group in the late 1960s before moving away to pursue his career. With fellow former BAG members Hamiet Bluiett and Julius Hemphill (plus tenor saxophonist David Murray), he then went on to found the critically acclaimed and influential World Saxophone Quartet, which brought new ideas about arrangements and rhythm sections (or the lack of same) from the avant-garde towards - if not fully into - the mainstream.

In the 1990s, Lake co-founded another significant ensemble, Trio 3, with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille, and they've continued to reunite periodically for new projects to this day. But it is as a solo artist that Lake has been most prolific, releasing more than 40 albums as a leader with various ensembles, many on his own Passin' Thru label.

For many years a resident of Montclair, NJ, Lake also spends a good deal of time these days on his visual art, as described in the first video up above, a feature story about him produced last year for a local PBS affiliate.

After the jump, you can see a couple of videos from 2018 featuring Lake and his big band, recorded during the Vision Festival at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY and at the DC Jazz Festival in Washington.

Next are recently posted clips of Lake with two different trios - the Crash Band Trio, with drummers Bill McClellan and Reggie Nicholson, recorded during the Bang on a Can Marathon in May, 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum; and a set of music from October, 2014 with guitarist Vernon Reid and drummer Marlon Browden, recorded at John Zorn's venue The Stone in NYC.

Those are followed by two samples of Lake reading his poetry, a work called "Do you remember the time?" recorded in 2010 in Pittsburgh, and "Poem for Amiri Baraka" from the 2014 Vision Festival.

Finally, you can see a short video that Lake made last year for Jazz at Lincoln Center's education department, in which he discusses his process for composing and gives some advice to students.

For more about Oliver Lake, read his 2017 interview with Bandcamp Daily, and the interviews published in 2015 on Revive Music and on pianist Ethan Iverson's blog Do The Math.

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

Friday, March 15, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Today is the release date for The Sound of St. Louis - Jazz Compilation Volume 1, an album featuring original music from the nine participants in the Kranzberg Arts Foundation's music artists-in-residence program.

The album (pictured) will be available on streaming services, as a digital download, and as a CD, which will be sold locally at Vintage Vinyl, Music Record Shop, and Euclid Records, and at various KAF-affiliated venues such as Sophie’s Artist Lounge and The Dark Room.

* In more album-release news, singer Erin Bode is reissuing her 2016 album Here and Now as a vinyl LP, and will perform on Thursday, April 11 at The Sheldon to commemorate the event

* One of singer Marilyn Maye's performances last week with the Jazz St. Louis Big Band was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja was interviewed about her new album Intuition by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn.

* Also as reported in the American, four branches of St. Louis County Library now offer musical instruments, including guitars, keyboards and hand drums, that can be checked out by library patrons for free.

* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina was profiled for a new local website,, by writer Daniel Durchholz.

* NPR once again this year is holding a contest for unsigned musical acts that would like to perform in a Tiny Desk Concert, filmed at the network's HQ in Washington DC. Local affiliate St. Louis Public Radio has details on the contest and how to enter here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Jazz this week: Kurt Elling, Nicole Mitchell, Lubambo, Alves & Ribeiro, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis brings sounds from all over, including two prominent performers who each got their start in Chicago, one who made his name on Broadway, and three coming from Brazil via NYC. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, March 13
Singer Kurt Elling - one of the aforementioned Chicagoans, though he now lives in New York - performs for the first of five nights, continuing through Sunday at Jazz St. Louis.

Elling (pictured, top left) returns here for the first time since the release in 2018 of his most recent album The Questions, so it seems likely that a good portion of material from that recording will be part of his sets here. You can see videos of live performances of several of those tunes, and find out more about what Elling has been up to more recently, in this post from last Saturday.

Elsewhere around town, clarinetist and former St. Louisan Chloe Feoranzo, now residing in New Orleans, will be back in town for a concert with her quartet at Focal Point, and guitarist Brian Vaccaro leads a trio at Evangeline's.

Thursday, March 14
Pianist Jim Hegarty returns with his quintet to the The Dark Room; guitarist Dave Black and singer Erika Johnson perform at The Pat Connolly Tavern; and pianist Adam Maness' trio is back at Thurman's in Shaw.

Friday, March 15
Pianist, singer and Tony Award-winning musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown performs in concert at the Grandel Theatre; and the Original Knights of Swing play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, March 16
Flute player and composer Nicole Mitchell’s Liberation Narratives, featuring poet Haki Madhubuti, performs in a concert presented by New Music Circle at Xavier Hall on the St. Louis University campus.

A composer and conceptualist with wide-ranging interests, Mitchell (pictured, bottom left) is a past president of Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and recently was appointed head of the jazz program at the University of Pittsburgh, succeeding the late Geri Allen.

Mitchell has been involved in a constantly evolving variety of musical projects over the years, with her latest collaboration with poet Haki Madhubuti offering "an unabashed take on the state of the nation" via her compositions and the poet's spoken word performances.  For a bit more about that, plus some videos of Mitchell performing in various contexts, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Elsewhere around town, pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio will present a concert of Brazilian jazz featuring guitarist Romero Lubambo, pianist Helio Alves, and drummer Edu Ribeiro, along with St. Louis' own Bob DeBoo on bass.

Also on Saturday, the Coleman Hughes Project celebrates six years as a band with a gig at Lowes Entertainment; and trumpeter Jim Manley and keyboardist Chris Swan will play at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar.

Sunday, March 17
Friends have organized a benefit for saxophonist Fred Walker, who no longer can perform due to recent health issues, for late Sunday afternoon at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, with announced performers including Walker's former band Mystic Voyage, saxophonist Kendrick Smith, blues singers Kim Massie, Eugene Johnson, and Lady J Huston, and more.

Monday, March 18
Pianist Carol Schmidt and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis will team up for a concert of duets at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus.

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, March 10, 2019

Sunday Session: March 10, 2019

Dave Burrell
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:

* Kenny Garrett Interview (Jazz in Europe)
* This North Philly bar near Temple hosted legends like Coltrane and Patti LaBelle, but its owner refuses to sell (
* The Complex Sounds of Caspar Brötzmann (DownBeat)
* Buddy Guy Is Keeping the Blues Alive (The New Yorker)
* Song You Need to Know: Joey DeFrancesco and Pharoah Sanders, ‘The Creator Has a Master Plan’ (Rolling Stone)
* Celebrating Pianist and Composer Dave Burrell at the Vision Festival — and on The Checkout (WBGO)
* Rebirth of the Cool (
* Smithsonian Folkways Details Massive New Orleans Jazz Fest Box Set (Rolling Stone)
* Is the album format irrelevant in the digital age? Let's investigate (
* World’s Largest Music Publishers Offer ‘Full Support of Warner/Chappell’ Against Spotify — Here’s Their Statement (
* When Jerry Lee Lewis Was Accused of Planning to Shoot Elvis Presley (
* Wadada Leo Smith Pays Tribute to Rosa Parks in New Album (
* City to Honor ‘Lady Day’ with Statue at Queens Borough Hall (Queens Daily Eagle)
* The Sound of Evil (The American Scholar)
* Producer of ‘Coltrane ’58: The Prestige Recordings’ Discusses Project in New Video (DownBeat)
* Eliane Elias: The Soul of Brazil (
* Revisit 50 years of Jazz Fest with comprehensive box set of live performances (Offbeat)
* A two-dimensional matrix: Carl Stone speaks to Emily Bick (The Wire)
* International Women’s Day: Meet the women shaping the future of music (Pro Sound News Europe)
* Spotify and Amazon ‘sue songwriters’ with appeal against 44% royalty rise in the United States (
* Got $100k? Steinway’s iPad-capable piano turns you into a classical mixmaster (
* Janis Joplin’s producer John Simon, a Norwalk native, has musical tastes that might surprise fan (Connecticut Post)
* Sandy Jordan: Keeping the Legacies Alive (Jazz Times)
* Laurie Anderson Interview: The Nature of the Mind (
* Biamp PDX Jazz Festival Tastefully Pays Tribute to the Past (DownBeat)
* Take note – why do women composers still take up less musical space? (The Guardian)
* An interview with Bill Folwell (Point of Departure)
* In Memoriam: Ira Gitler (1928–2019) (DownBeat)

Saturday, March 09, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Catching up with Kurt Elling

Today, let's take a look at some videos featuring singer Kurt Elling, who's coming to town to perform starting next Wednesday, March 13 through Sunday, March 17 at Jazz St. Louis.

Widely acclaimed as one of the top male vocalists in jazz, Elling by now should be no stranger to St. Louis audiences, having performed here a number of times in recent years, most recently in 2017 with saxophonist Branford Marsalis' quartet at the Bistro. For this visit, he arrives just after the world premiere of The Big Blind, a live radio drama/musical staged for the first time last week at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater.

Inspired by Elling's own experiences performing at Chicago’s famed Green Mill, the real-life story of comedian Joe E. Lewis, and elements of the 1957 Frank Sinatra film The Joker Is Wild, The Big Blind was devised by Elling, writer Phil Galdston and director Terry Kinney, and tells the story of a 1950s nightclub singer confronting career and romantic conundrums.

In addition to Elling in the starring role, the production features a 23-piece big band led by drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., with a Foley artist performing sound effects on stage, and additional speaking/singing roles for Dee Dee Bridgewater, Broadway veteran Ben Vereen, and UK singer/actor Ian Shaw.

While Elling hopes to tour with The Big Blind in the near future, next week in St. Louis, audiences likely will hear a good portion of material from his most recent studio recording, 2018's The Questions.

This week's videos shows him performing songs from that album, starting up above with his version of Carla Bley's "Lawns," given a lyric and recast by Elling as "Endless Lawns." The clip was shot in October of last year at a venue called De Doelen in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with a band include Adonis Rose (drums), Clark Sommers (bass), Jim Watson (piano), and John McLean (guitar).

After the jump, you can see four segments of Elling's performance in April 2018 at La Seine Musicale in Paris, just as The Questions was released, with a band including McLean on guitar, Stuart Mindeman on keyboards, Clark Sommers on bass, and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums.

The first clip shows Elling opening the show with his version of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall." Next, it's "A Happy Thought," penned by Mindeman with a text from poet Franz Wright, paired with a version of "I Have Dreamed," written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein for the Broadway musical The King and I.

That's followed by "Washing of the Water," a Peter Gabriel composition, and then Elling's reworking of Jaco Pastorius' "Three Views of A Secret" as "A Secret in Three Views." The final video is a promotional clip of Elling singing Paul Simon’s “American Tune,” which several critics have cited as one of the album's highlights.

For more about Kurt Elling and The Questions, see his 2018 interview with Jazz Times magazine,  his interview with the Australian magazine Limelight from last year's tour "down under," and this December 2018 feature from Elling's hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune.

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