Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Session: January 19, 2020

Gregory Porter
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Beatles' Abbey Road tops US bestselling vinyl LPs of the 2010s (The Guardian)
* Gary Clark Jr.: "Music is my religion" (CBS News)
* Jason Moran is making jazz history. Don’t miss it.  (Washington Post)
* “If You’re in the Song, Keep on Playing”: An Interview With Pharoah Sanders (The New Yorker)
* Jonathan Kreisberg: A Spirit Captured in Constant Motion (
* A music artist says Apple Music pays her 4 times what Spotify does per stream, and it shows how wildly royalty payments can vary between services (Business Insider)
* The Sound and Myth of Charlie Parker at 100 (DownBeat)
* Jazz singer Gregory Porter is an ex-lineman with a blues-infused soul (
* Umbria Goes Pop (DownBeat)
* The Past Year, And Decade, In Music Listening: Video Rules, The Boy's Club Remains (NPR)
* New remastered Charlie Parker box set coming this February (
* Spotlight: Capitol Records Architect Louis Naidorf Sets the Record Straight on Myth of Tower's Iconic Design (Billboard)
* How Chicago Label International Anthem Is Rewriting the Rules of Jazz (Pitchfork)
* For Its Fifth Collection, Newvelle Issues Material From Staaf, Douglas (DownBeat)
* Telstar: The Song, And The Future That Never Was (
* Alex Winter’s Frank Zappa Doc ‘Zappa’ Premieres at South by Southwest (Rolling Stone)
* Watch a Video For "Revival," the Lead Single From Gregory Porter's Forthcoming Album (WBGO)
* New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Announces 2020 Lineup (Jazz Times)
* Jazz pianist Kris Davis on pushing the boundaries of the piano (CBC Radio)
* Andrew Cyrille Lays His Declaration of Musical Independence on UT (Austin Chronicle)
* Inspired by John Cage, an Italian Collector Commissioned Leading Artists to Transform Pianos Into Weird and Wonderful Sculptures—See Them Here (

Saturday, January 18, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
In the tradition with Aaron Diehl

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring pianist Aaron Diehl, who's coming to St. Louis to perform on Friday, January 31 at the 560 Music Center.

The event is a solo piano recital presented by Washington University as its "Annual Carlin Concert," honoring the legacy of Seth Carlin, the internationally renowned pianist who taught at Wash U for 37 years. Carlin was a classical pianist who also enjoyed listening to jazz, and so in keeping with the occasion, Diehl will be playing vintage jazz and stride piano pieces from James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and others, plus works by George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Louis Gottschalk.

As a contemporary pianist with classical training who also is noted for his interest in pre-WWII jazz styles and material, Diehl seems particularly well-equipped for the task. You can get a taste of the range of his talents starting in the first video up above, which documents Diehl's part of "Rags, Strides, and Stomps," a show at the 2015 Jazz in Marciac festival (also featuring fellow pianists Joey Alexander and Sullivan Fortner). In the clip, Diehl performs "The Original Jelly Roll Blues" by Jelly Roll Morton, "Viper's Drag" by Fats Waller, and James P. Johnson's "Concerto Jazz-A-Mine."

After the jump, you can see him play another Johnson piece, "Caprice Rag," as recorded by an audience member at a show last year at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center in New Jersey.

Next, you can see Diehl and trumpeter Dominick Farinacci take on Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose" in a clip from 2009, followed by another video from that same year showing the pianist soloing on W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" during a celebration of the music of Louis Armstrong at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.

Those are followed by two videos showing Diehl playing notated works from the classical tradition, starting with an excerpt from his performance last November of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" with the Pacific Symphony in Costa Mesa, CA, and then Diehl and his trio playing Philip Glass' 2014 composition "Piano Etude No 16" in a live-in-the-studio video just released earlier this month by Mack Avenue Records.

The final video is an hour-long interview with Diehl, recorded in March 2019 at Library of Congress, in which he discusses jazz history with the Library's James Wintle.

For more about Aaron Diehl, read his interview from July 2017 with JazzWax.

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

Friday, January 17, 2020

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* A memorial service for the late Bryan Cather, ragtime historian and president of the Friends of Scott Joplin, will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 25 at St. John's Episcopal Church, 3664 Arsenal (across from Tower Grove Park).

* The recent vinyl reissue box set (pictured) of Miles Davis' The Legendary Prestige Quintet Recordings was reviewed by Jazz Times.

* The soundtrack from director Stanley Nelson's documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool is set for release on Friday, February 21.

Titled Music From and Inspired by Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool, the album has 28 tracks of music and dialog from the film selected by Nelson. One of those tracks is a previously unheard recording, "Hail to the Real Chief," which combines unreleased studio trumpet performances by Davis with music by drummer Lenny White, performed by White, Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn, Jr, Marcus Miller, Jeremy Pelt, Antoine Roney, John Scofield, Bernard Wright, and others. You can listen to "Hail to the Real Chief" here.

* Also on the Miles Davis beat, fans of the trumpeter are being invited to submit original artwork to be used on an upcoming vinyl single release of "Miles Runs The Voodoo Down" from Bitches Brew. For details, go to

* KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi reviewed recent cabaret shows at Blue Strawberry by singers Christy Simmons and Emily Skinner.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Jazz this week: Mardra & Reggie Thomas, Jahmal Nichols, Todd Mosby + Bach to the Future, Lamar Harris, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis puts the spotlight on hometown performers, with the return of a local favorite couple who have moved away, a show teaming up two bands with distinctive approaches to jazz fusion, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, January 15
Bassist Jahmal Nichols, who's spent most of his time in recent years on the road with singer Gregory Porter, is back home for a visit and will lead his own band for the first of two nights performing at Jazz St. Louis.

Also on Wednesday, drummer Steve Davis leads a trio at Evangeline's, Miss Jubilee performs at Schlafly Bottleworks, and trumpeter Jim Manley continues his weekly gig at Sasha's Wine Bar.

January 16
Guitarist Todd Mosby (pictured, center left) and his New Horizons Ensemble team up with Bach to the Future for a double-bill of jazz-fusion at Sky Music Lounge, and singer Anna Blair performs her cabaret show "Always..." at Blue Strawberry.

Also on Thursday, singer Cheri Evans and CEEJazzSoul perform at the Chase Club; keyboardist Ryan Marquez and his trio return to The Dark Room; and keyboardist Adam Maness' trio continues their weekly gig at Thurman's in Shaw.

Friday, January 17
Spouses and former St. Louisans Mardra and Reggie Thomas (pictured, top left), on vocals and keyboards respectively, will be back in town to headline "An Evening Of Jazz" at Chaminade College Preparatory School.

Also on Friday, multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris will perform for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Elsewhere around town, electro-jazz trio Vehachi plays at the house-concert venue the Judson House, and The Way Out Club hosts "Descension 1" the first installment in a new experimental music series produced by Josh Levi, this time featuring Jack Callahan aka die Reihe, Brain Transplant, and Martin Carriel and Joann McNeil.

Saturday, January 18
Multi-instrumentalist Joe Bozzi and his band return to Evangeline's, and The Dark Room features pianist Jesse Gannon at the dinner hour and drummer Kaleb Kirby's quintet for the late show.

Sunday, January 19
Singer and bassist Janet Evra (pictured, bottom left) performs for brunch at Evangeline's, while singer and guitarist Tommy Halloran is on stage at The Dark Room.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a matinee performance of vintage jazz by The Gaslight Squares in the Oasis Room of the Moolah Shrine Center.

Also on Sunday afternoon, Oikos Ensemble presents "Dreams and Visions - A Jazz Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King" at St. John United Church of Christ in Collinsville.

Monday, January 20
The Folk School of KDHX hosts their weekly Traditional Jazz Jam Session.

Tuesday, January 21
Cabaret Project of 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, January 12, 2020

John Scofield, Sean Jones to headline 2020 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has announced that guitarist John Scofield and trumpeter Sean Jones (pictured) will be the headliners for the 2020 fest's concerts on Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Scofield will perform on Friday, featuring music from his most recent recording Combo 66 with a band including keyboardist Gerald Clayton, bassist Vicente Archer, and drummer Bill Stewart.

His last gigs in St. Louis were an October 2017 date with the group Hudson at The Sheldon, and a week co-leading a band with saxophonist Joe Lovano in April, 2018 at Jazz St. Louis.

Jones will play on Saturday, teaming up with choreographer, dancer and vocalist Brinae Ali to present "Dizzy Spellz," which is described as "an Afro-futuristic lens exploring the intersection of cultural and spiritual dilemmas within the African Diaspora through the music of Dizzy Gillespie."

A frequent visitor to St. Louis in recent years, Jones' most recent gig here was with the "Bistro All-Stars"(also including saxophonist Tia Fuller, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, and pianist Peter Martin) in February of last year at Jazz St. Louis.

The GSLJF also includes two days of adjudication, clinics, and performances by area high school big bands on the Wednesday and Thursday preceding the public concerts. This year's festival will be the first under the direction of pianist and educator Adaron "Pop" Jackson, who took over leadership of the University of Missouri-St. Louis' jazz program last fall after the retirement of former director and festival founder, bassist Jim Widner.

Tickets for both concerts are scheduled to go on sale, prices TBA, on Friday, January 24 via the Touhill box office.

Aaron Diehl to perform solo concert on Friday, January 31 at 560 Music Center

Pianist Aaron Diehl (pictured) is coming to St. Louis to perform in a solo concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, January 31 at the 560 Music Center's E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall.

The event is presented by Washington University as its "Annual Carlin Concert," honoring the legacy of Seth Carlin, the internationally renowned pianist who taught at Wash U for 37 years. Acknowledging the classical tradition, Diehl's program will include works by Gershwin, Copland, and Gottschalk, as well as music by James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Willie "The Lion" Smith, and more.

Diehl, who turns 35 this year, is one of the top jazz pianists to emerge on the national scene in the last decade. He has released four albums as a leader, and has toured and/or recorded as a sideman with Wynton Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Wycliffe Gordon, Warren Wolf, Lew Tabackin, Matt Wilson, and more. Diehl currently serves as musical director for singer Cécile McLorin Salvant, and performed here in St. Louis most recently in October 2019, accompanying her in a concert at The Sheldon.

Tickets for Aaron Diehl's performance at 560 Music Center are $20 for adults, $15 seniors and Wash U faculty and staff, $5 students, free for Wash U students with ID, and are on sale now online and at the Edison Theatre box office on campus.

Sunday Session: January 12, 2020

James "Blood" Ulmer
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* ECM at 50 (The Blue Moment)
* How To Like Jazz, For The Uninitiated (NPR)
* Buenos Aires International Jazz Fest survives fiscal crisis (
* Berklee Surveys 10 Careers In Music And How Much Money You Can Make (
* The Hacker History Of Music Technologies (
* Chris Lightcap: Two Become One (Jazz Times)
* Seeing Terrence Malick films through his use of music. His composers share what they know (Los Angeles Times)
* Philadelphia's Sigma Sound: The Studio Where Bowie Found His Soul (
* Bill Frisell: New Ideas in Old Songs (Stereophile)
* Doors drummer John Densmore: ‘It took me years to forgive Jim Morrison' (The Guardian)
* Mark Stryker, Author of 'Jazz From Detroit,' on a City "Punching Way Over Our Weight Class" (WBGO)
* Roots Amid Chaos: Darcy James Argue Speaks (
* The Endless Potential Of The Pedal Steel Guitar, An Odd Duck By Any Measure (NPR)
* Guitar god James ‘Blood’ Ulmer recalls when Soho was a garment district (New York Post)
* Dr. Barry Harris to Receive Bruce Lundvall Visionary Award (Jazz Times)
* The Man Who’s Spending $1 Billion to Own Every Pop Song (
* End of an era: Pianist Ellis Marsalis retires from his 30-year gig at Snug Harbor (
* How London’s Young Jazz Musicians Are Revitalizing the Artform (
* “Chuck Berry lived to play live music. It was his absolute joy”: Charles Berry Jr on his father’s guitars, music and legacy (
* Adam Rudolph: Ragmala and Prototypical Music (
* How Music Copyright Lawsuits Are Scaring Away New Hits (Rolling Stone)
* Rush drummer Neil Peart dies at age 67 (Jazz.FM)
* Prince: Requiem for a bass hero (Guitar World)
* California’s new gig worker law is disrupting the music industry and threatening all performing arts (

Saturday, January 11, 2020

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Matthew Shipp

Today, StLJN's video spotlight is focused on pianist Matthew Shipp, who will be performing a solo concert presented by New Music Circle and Washington University on Friday, January 24 at 560 Music Center.

Shipp also will present an "artist talk" that will be free and open to the public at 3:00 p.m. that Friday in room 102 of the Music Classroom Building on the Wash U campus.

With a distinctive style that defies easy comparisons, Shipp has said he sees his playing as part of the "black mystery school" of pianists, led by Thelonious Monk and including other singular talents such as Mal Waldron, Randy Weston, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, and Andrew Hill.

Since moving to New York in mid-80s, Shipp has been credited as leader or co-leader on nearly 70 recordings, playing solo; with a trio; in duos with bassist William Parker, saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Evan Parker, and others; and in larger groupings including stellar players such as trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Roy Campbell and saxophonist Marshall Allen. Shipp also forged enduring partnerships with two saxophonists, the late David S. Ware and Ivo Perelman, recording 20 albums with the former and, to date, more than 30 with the latter.

The last time Shipp was here in St. Louis, in March 2015, he performed with bassist Michael Bisio at The Stage at KDHX. This time, he'll be playing solo, and so today's post features several videos of his solo work, starting up above with a set recorded in September 2018 at Zurcher Gallery in New York City.

After the jump, there are four more sets of solo piano by Shipp in reverse chronological order, starting with one from April 2018 at a venue called Kaleidophon in Ulrichsberg, Austria, followed by another from November 2017 recorded at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Then, there's a set from August 2015 at Jazzfestival Saalfelden in Austria, and one from February 2014 recorded at Cafe Oto in London.

The final video shows Shipp playing a duo set with his frequent collaborator, bassist William Parker, in June 2019 during the 24th annual 24th Vision Festival at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, NY.

For more about Matthew Shipp, read his interview from May 2019 with Jazz Times, and his 2018 conversations with DownBeat and

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