Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The New Mastersounds returning to
Old Rock House on Tuesday, October 20

The British funk/jazz quartet The New Mastersounds will return to St. Louis to perform on Tuesday, October 20 at the Old Rock House.

The group (pictured) will be touring in support of a new album, Made For Pleasure, that's set for release on Friday, October 2.

According to the press release, "The New Mastersounds core four—guitarist Eddie Roberts, drummer Simon Allen, bassist Pete Shand and organist Joe Tatton—are joined on the 11-track effort by guests including soul chanteuse Charly Lowry, revered percussionist/vibraphonist Mike Dillon and the North Cali-based West Coast Horns, featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Cohen and trumpeter Mike Olmos." You can hear the title track from the album here.

Drawing inspiration from the Meters, Booker T and the MGs, and 1970s funk, the New Mastersounds have been playing clubs and festivals on the jam-band circuit here in the US for several years, but this will be just their second St. Louis gig ever after making their debut here last June, also at the ORH.

Tickets for the all-ages show will be $20 in advance, $23 day of show, and will go on sale at 9:00 a.m. this Friday, August 7.

Updated after posting with more info on the new album release.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Music Education Monday: Standard tunes every jazz musician should know

If you spend any time at all around jazz as either a musician or a listener, it won't be long before you read something or hear someone discussing "jazz standards" or just "standards." Which in turn may prompt one to ask, what is a standard, and why are they important?

Simply put, a "standard" is a composition that gets played, recorded and/or requested frequently enough that professional musicians are expected to know it, preferably by memory.

A standard may have originated as part of a Broadway show or movie, as with much of what's often called "the Great American Songbook." It may have been a popular song in another genre of music, as with jazz covers of pop, rock or soul hits from the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, or Radiohead. Or it may have been written by a well-known jazz musician like Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, or Horace Silver.

The definition of what constitutes a standard can be influenced by the age and backgrounds of the players in question, as older tunes go out of fashion and are replaced by more recent ones. Geography also can play a role, as a tune adopted by an influential musician in a local scene can catch on with other bands and musicians in the same town, and tunes taught to student musicians as part of the curriculum at a particular school can find their way into those musicians' gigging repertoires.

So, given all these factors, what are the essential standards every jazz musician should know? Well, there are a lot of opinions about that, and, this being the Internet, a lot of lists. Back in 2012, saxophonist, music teacher and blogger Peter Spitzer took on the task of comparing some of those lists of “must-know” jazz standards to see which tunes they had in common.

Spitzer looked at six lists he thought "well-considered," including the songs discussed in Ted Gioia's book The Jazz Standards; the table of contents in Jamey Aebersold’s Pocket Changes fake book; saxophonist Pete Thomas's list of jazz repertoire; the top 200 tunes from JazzStandards.com list of 1000 jazz standards; a list compiled with input from several jazz educators and posted on the University of South Carolina website; and Spitzer's own list of 100 "must-know" tunes.

He found that 31 songs appear on all six lists; 47 show up on five of the lists; and 76 songs turn up on at least four lists. You can see which tunes are which and read more about Spitzer's research here.

Of course, there are plenty of other opinions on the subject of which standards are most important. Earlier this year, saxophonist Mike LeBrun's post on the blog The Woodshed, titled "300 Tunes to Know: Prioritized, Categorized, and Organized," identifies "36 Tunes You Can’t Avoid Learning," then prioritizes them and 264 more standards as "critical," "high," "medium" and "low".

The famed pianist Dick Hyman years ago even wrote a book on the subject, Dick Hyman's Professional Chord Changes and Substitutions For 100 Tunes Every Musician Should Know, and if you have an account on the website Scribd, you can download a copy of it here.

Some other lists of standards that are worth a look:
JazzTrumpet.com's "100 Tunes to Know"
Top 100 Jazz Standards Every Jazz Vocalist Should Know
10 Must Know Jazz Standards Every Guitarist Should Know
JazzAdvice.com's "A Blueprint for Building Your Repertoire" and "Building Your Repertoire Part II: 10 Key Tunes"
LearnJazzStandards.com's "The 10 Mother Tunes Every Jazz Musician Should Know"
FreeJazzLessons.com's "Jazz Standards You Should Learn" Part 1 and Part 2

Lastly, if you're looking for sheet music to help you learn some of these standards, StLJN's previous Music Education Monday post about where to find free fake books online may come in handy.

StLJN thanks Bill Costello for research assistance.

Miles on Monday: More Newport box set reviews, Glasper remixing Miles, and more

If it's Monday, that means it's time for the latest in Miles Davis-related news:

* This past weekend's Newport Jazz Festival commemorated the 60th anniversary of Davis' first performance at the event with a variety of performances and special events, and radio station WBUR in Boston interviewed the festival's impresario George Wein (pictured, with Davis) about his experiences with the trumpeter.

* Also on the Newport front, as promised last week, here are links to more reviews of the recently released box set Miles Davis at Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4:
"So instead of being wall-to-wall necessary, this Bootleg Series edition is simply three-quarters-revelatory. But what is legitimately new here is as good as anything else in the Davis-rarity series." - Seth Colter Walls, Pitchfork

"Perhaps no other recording better illustrates how Miles Davis bridged the gap between jazz’s old guard and its younger visionaries." - John Paul, PopMatters

"This is another excellent archival boxed set from Columbia’s seemingly bottomless archive of Miles Davis recordings. The music is simply extraordinary and the packaging is fine as well with solid liner notes and discography and wonderful photographs." - Tim Niland, Music and More

"No music lover and especially no Miles Davis fan should go without this wonderfully historic box set." - Devon Wendell, International Review of Music

"A starting point for newer fans or an added box to check off for fans of everything Miles. Either way, another essential release from the vaults." - George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

"It's a jazz journey of fearless and epic proportions." - Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald Leader

"Hearing it all together, over four discs, his innovations don’t seem as radical as they might have been considered at the time, but they’re nonetheless fascinating to devour." - Mike Shalney, Blurt

"Just as Miles’ catalog is broken up by different jazz genres, this set does a superb job of giving us a little bit of everything." - Ira Kantor, Elmore
* Speaking of reviews, Victor Svorinch's book Listen to This: Miles Davis and Bitches Brew was reviewed for AllAboutJazz.com by Matt R. Lohr.

* The latest batch of vinyl reissues out last week from Blue Note includes Davis' 1956 album Miles Davis, Volume 1.

* Davis' son Erin Davis and nephew Vince Wilburn, Jr. were interviewed by SoulTrain.com.

* In an interview with the British magazine Jazzwise, pianist Robert Glasper said that in addition to his previously disclosed work on the Miles Ahead movie soundtrack, he's also doing an album of remixes of Davis' own recordings.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Sunday Session: August 2, 2015

Wayne Shorter
For your Sunday reading, here are some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Maria Schneider, nature poet of jazz (Boston Globe)
* Air Canada Refuses Cello as They Were ‘Not Told in Advance’ (The Violin Channel)
* What you need to show to carry an instrument on an aircraft (Slipped Disc)
* From vrrrramp to snikt: exploring sci-fi's most iconic sound effects (HopesAndFears.com)
* The next Web standard could be music notation (CreateDigitalMusic.com)
* The Tragedy of iTunes and Classical Music (The Atlantic)
* Frank Zappa's Family Plans Massive New Release Schedule (Rolling Stone)
* Curiously-shaped die cut records from Grace Jones, The Cramps, Bowie and more (Dangerous Minds)
* Remembering Vic Firth, An Orchestral — And Entrepreneurial — Legend (NPR)
* Way Out West: How Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, and Brainfeeder Are Bringing Jazz Back to the People (Vice.com)
* Sundays at Slugs’ (New York Review of Books)
* Wayne Shorter: Framing Genius (Jazz Times)
* Mikme, GoPro of microphones, is also serious about sound (CreateDigitalMusic.com)
* The Freedom Principle review – an astounding fusion of jazz and art (The Guardian UK)
* The 432Hz 'God' Note: Why Fringe Audiophiles Want to Topple Standard Tuning (Vice.com)
* Record Created for Extraterrestrials Now Available for Everyone (New Music Box)
* Four Composers, One (Nearly) Impossible Mission To Reinvent A Classic Theme (NPR)
* Is Cuban Music About To Blow Up In America? (TheFader.com)
* Music Artists Take On the Business, Calling for Change (New York Times)

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's the first of the month, and that means it's time once again to check in with StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, where every day we post a different online music video, drawing on genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental, and more.

The most-viewed videos added to the site last month were:

Buddy Tate - Live at the Molde Jazz Festival
The Spinners - Live on Soundstage
Herbie Mann - "Memphis Underground"
Sunnyland Slim - "I Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More"
Joni Mitchell - "Big Yellow Taxi"

Other recent posts have included video featuring performances by Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Hal Singer and Jay McShann, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Negativland, Count Basie, Curved Air, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Billy Bang & Roy Campbell, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion, Lester Young & Bill Harris, Sun Ra Arkestra, Professor Longhair, Wayne Shorter, Alphonze Mouzon, Steve Coleman & Five Elements, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Cecil Taylor, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis & Carlos Santana, Steps Ahead, Lonnie Liston Smith, Can, George Adams/Don Pullen Quartet, James "Blood" Ulmer & Sam Rivers Quartet, Carla Bley, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk

If you've somehow missed out on all this up until now, you still can see all of these videos, plus hundreds more from the carefully curated archives, by visiting http://heliocentricworlds.blogspot.com/.

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six from Trombone Shorty

Today, we check in on the New Orleans multi-instrumentalist and singer Troy Andrews, better known as Trombone Shorty, who's returning to St. Louis next weekend to play on Saturday, August 8 at Ballpark Village.

Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue have been playing here once a year or so since 2008, turning up most recently last September as one of the headliners for LouFest in Forest Park. If you're not familiar with his back story, you can glean the essentials from the video showcase posted here before his November 2013 show at the Old Rock House.

Today, though, you can see some more recent clips of Trombone Shorty in action. Up top, there's a good portion of the set he played at the 2015 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and after the jump, you'll find another full show, recorded in 2013 at the Olympia in Paris.

In the third video, Shorty and company are joined by a special guest, the late Travis "Trumpet Black" Hill, to perform "Go To The Mardi Gras" and "Let's Go Get 'Em" this past February in Delray Beach, FL. (Hill, who was just 28, died suddenly in May as the result of a tooth infection.)

That's followed by a version of "St. James Infirmary" from the 2014 Jazzaldia festival in Spain, and an excerpt from Shorty's set at the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show, held in January in Anaheim.

Last but not least, you can check out an interview that Shorty did in 2014 with veteran TV journalist Dan Rather.

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

Friday, July 31, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Drummer Mark Colenburg (pictured) has recorded a new promotional video for Zildjian's "Cover To Cover" series, playing a version of Radiohead's "Packed Like Sardines."

* Speaking of videos, the St. Louis Big Band has posted a new one on YouTube featuring excerpts from their shows "Sinatra at 100," which continues through next Sunday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

* Guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg of Dr. Lonnie Smith's band has posted to Facebook an album of photos from Smith's most recent St. Louis gig with Lionel Loueke in May at Jazz at the Bistro.

* Metro East audio equipment manufacturer Heil Sound is expanding, adding 3,200 square feet of space to their Fairview Heights warehouse.

* The Nevermore Jazz Ball announced this week that advance tickets for 2015's event are sold out. More information on a wait list, pass transfers, and the NJB's free public events will be forthcoming at a later date.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, “Somethin’ Else” host Calvin Wilson will dig into the catalog of tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon.

After that on "The Jazz Collective," host Jason Church will play tracks from Four80East, Dave Koz, The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, James Lloyd, Keyon Harrold, the JT Project, Gato Barbieri, Down To The Bone, Slash, Young-Holt Unlimited, Funky Butt Brass Band, Vincent Varvel, Feyza Eren and Dawn Weber.

Wilson's program begins at 8:00 p.m., followed by Church at 9:00 p.m., and can be heard over the air on 107.3 FM, on HD radio at 96.3 HD-2, and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jazz this week: All That Tap XXIV, "Swinging for the Fences," Good 4 The Soul, and more

It's another sultry mid-summer week in St. Louis, and though there are no major touring headliners in town this week, there's plenty of activity involving local jazz and creative musicians, offering sounds ranging from nostalgic to experimental. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 29
Tonight, the Spiritual Revolution Ensemble will make their official debut at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Formed after a jam session in May at ToFA, the group of free improvisors features a core band of saxophonists Jerome “J-Dubz” Williams, Aaron Parker, and Rahtu Johnson, pianist David Parker and percussionist Glenn "Papa" Wright, augmented for this performance by guests including guitarist Kendra Mahr, poets Pacia Anderson and Jana Thomas, and pianist Greg Mills.

Also tonight, Tommy Halloran's Guerrilla Swing will play a free outdoor concert for the Missouri Botanical Garden's Whitaker Music Festival; and guitarist Vincent Varvel leads a trio at Nathalie's.

Thursday, July 30
Jazz St. Louis continues their series of events looking at the relationship between jazz and baseball with "Jazz & the Negro Leagues", a free lecture by author and Washington University professor Gerald Early, followed by a reception at Jazz at the Bistro.

Also on Thursday, drummer Montez Coleman leads a quartet in a free concert wrapping up the summer edition of the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and the St. Louis Big Band and singer Joe Scalzitti will open the second weekend of performances of their tribute show "Sinatra at 100" at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Elsewhere around town, Miss Jubilee will make up for a rainout earlier this summer with a free concert at Ellisville's Bluebird Park, and singer Erin Bode returns to Nathalie's.

Friday, July 31
Good 4 The Soul (pictured, upper left) returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first of two evenings, with guitarist Shaun Robinson, bassist John King and drummer James Jackson joined for the weekend by keyboardist Pete Ruthenberg, subbing for Adaron "Pops" Jackson.

Also on Friday, singer Tony Viviano will serenade diners at Fortel's, guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith will take the stage at Thurman Grill; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be swinging at the Venice Cafe.

Saturday, August 1
The annual St. Louis Tap Festival culminates with All That Tap XXIV, an evening of tap dance performances and music at the Grand Center Arts Academy's Sun Theatre.

This year's event serves as a tribute to Tap Festival founder Robert L. Reed, who died earlier this month in Oklahoma City, and will feature Reed's daughter Robin Reed (pictured, lower left) performing in his stead.

Pianist Carolbeth True's trio once again will provide the music for a lineup of featured dancers including Charon Aldredge, Christopher Broughton, Omar Edwards, Anthony LoCascio, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben, Jason Samuels Smith, and Dorneshia Sumbry-Edwards. You can read a brief preview of the performance from St. Louis magazine here.

Also on Saturday, percussionist Joe Pastor and the St. Louis Legacy Ensemble will play a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park

Sunday, August 2
The Friends of Scott Joplin will present their monthly "Ragtime Rendezvous," a free event at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site.

Also on Sunday, Jazz St. Louis wraps up their "Swinging for the Fences" series with a "Town Picnic" at Lafayette Park. The free event is open to the public and will feature a "vintage" baseball game played with period uniforms and rules, followed by Lindy Hop dance lessons and a concert of traditional jazz and swing by the Spats 'n' Flapper Speakeasy Orchestra, who are from Clear Lake, IA.  

Monday, August 3
Singer Erika Johnson and guitarist Tom Byrne will return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

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.)
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