Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sunday Session: December 9, 2018

Dexter Gordon
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:

* All-too-easy listening - The music industry sells classical as soothing background music — robbing a great art of its power (Washington Post)
* Marcus Strickland Harnesses Power of Vocalists, Organ on Latest Album (DownBeat)
* The Multiple Personalities of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (
* Jeff Simon: Is posthumous jazz a problem or a glorious resurrection? (Buffalo News)
* Wynton Marsalis: Jazz And Holiday Music Go Together Like Holly And Ivy (
* Esperanza Spalding says goodbye to song-driven shows (Washington Post)
* It’s official: Galactic has purchased Tipitina’s (Offbeat)
* This Thing Never Stops: Roscoe Mitchell and Phillip Greenlief in Conversation (
* Jazz Is Dance Music Again (Rolling Stone)
* The Life Force of Esperanza Spalding (
* The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition Has a Winner (WBGO)
* Classical Hands: Composer Kris Bowers on Scoring ‘Green Book,’ Teaching Mahershala Ali Piano, Seeing His Hands On Screen (Pollstar)
* The good fight: Jan Ramsey keeps music journalism alive in New Orleans (Columbia Journalism Review)
* St. Nick: The Long, Strange and Wonderful Career of Nick Lowe (Rolling Stone)
* Interview: Milford Graves (Modern Drummer)
* Can We Get to That (Oxford American)
* Indie Labels Now Account for 39.9% of the Global Recorded Music Market (
* Dexter Gordon Biography 'Sophisticated Giant' Chronicles a Jazz Life (Billboard)
* The Unclassifiable, Unstreamable Eighties Albums of Annette Peacock (The New Yorker)
* Sachal Vasandani Celebrates the American Songbook (Jazz Times)
* At 80, Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Finds Enlightenment in the Groove (NPR)
* Jazz legend Herbie Hancock becomes first musician to receive Ben Franklin Medal (WHYY)
* Hi Records star and instrumental hitmaker Ace Cannon dead at 84 (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
* Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo (
* Covering both sides: Catherine Russell and John Pizzarelli (Santa Fe New Mexican)
* Playing the theory of relativity: Sunny Murray in Europe 1968–72 (The Wire)
* Daversa, Salvant, Mehldau Nominated for Grammy Awards (DownBeat)
* 'Fight The Power': A Tale Of 2 Anthems (With The Same Name) (NPR)
* Feds allege wider cover-up by Irvin Mayfield, Ronald Markham in New Orleans Library Foundation scandal (New Orleans Advocate)

Saturday, December 08, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Kirk Whalum's "Gospel According to Jazz"

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who's bringing the seventh annual edition of his "Gospel According to Jazz Christmas" show to St. Louis next Friday, December 14 at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

The show, a spinoff from Whalum's series of "Gospel According to Jazz" albums that began back in 1998, each year features several guest stars, with the 2018 lineup including percussionist and vocalist Sheila E. plus singers Lynn Mabry, John Stoddart, Kevin Whalum (who is Kirk's younger brother), and St. Louis' own Brian Owens.

You can get a feel for the mood of the evening from the first video up above, which features Whalum and fellow saxophonist Gerald Albright on a medley of holiday tunes recorded in 2015 at Molloy College in New York.

After the jump, you can see singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler and Whalum, recorded last year here in St. Louis at the Friendly Temple by videographer James Ross, as Butler offers his interpretation of the seasonal staple "Sleigh Ride."

The remaining four videos offer a sampling of various recent Whalum performances, starting with "Groverworked and Underpaid" as recorded at the 2017 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

That's followed by Whalum playing "Sunday's Best," originally released in 2015 on his fourth "Gospel According to Jazz" album; and
the saxophonist and his brother Kevin Whalum in 2013 performing "My One and Only Love," from their tribute to the historic album of standards recorded in the 1960s by John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman.

Last, but not least is a version of a song included on the third album in the "Gospel..." series, "God Has Smiled On Me," featuring on vocals Kirk Whalum's uncle Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, who's now retired but was a mainstay of the St. Louis jazz scene from the Gaslight Square era through the late 2000s.

For more about Kirk Whalum, read this review of last year's holiday show by's K Shackleford; this feature from April 2018 about a "Gospel According to Jazz" show at the Berks Jazz Festival in Reading, PA; and this brief feature from the July 2018 Atlantic magazine, in which Whalum talks about gospel's influence on popular music.

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

Friday, December 07, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold was part of a panel with writer Nate Chinen and musicians Terence Blanchard and Camila Meza discussing the evolution of jazz at the BRIC JazzFest 2018 last month in Brooklyn, NY. You can see the entire discussion on video here.

* A new box set compiling the Art Ensemble of Chicago's recordings for ECM also includes four of trumpeter and St. Louis native Lester Bowie's albums as leader for the label in the 1980s, plus two featuring Bowie (pictured) as part of Jack DeJohnette's New Directions.

* The Riverfront Times' Daniel Hill reports that drummer Kevin Bowers' band Nova will perform next month at the Winter Jazzfest in New York City.

* Singer Storm Large's show "Holiday Ordeal," happening next Tuesday at the Sun Theatre, was previewed in an article for the Post-Dispatch by Daniel Durchholz.

* Also in the Post-Dispatch, saxophonist Dave Koz talked about his holiday show next Tuesday at Family Arena for an article by the Post's Kevin Johnson.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Jazz this week: Christine Ebersole & Billy Stritch, Adam Larson, Craig Pomranz, Dave Koz & Friends, Storm Large, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes an exploration of the compositions of a legendary jazz saxophonist, several servings of holiday music, some contemporary cabaret, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...  

Wednesday, December 5
Singer Christine Ebersole and singer/pianist Billy Stritch present their cabaret show "Snowfall" for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis, with just a handful of tickets still available at this writing.

Also on Wednesday, the weekly "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" will feature trumpeter and banjo player T.J. Muller at The Stage at KDHX; the weekly jam session hosted by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, this week featuring students from some of Jazz St. Louis' JazzU groups; and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, December 6
The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University will close out the semester with a free concert featuring the Arc of Light Ensemble, a sextet including trumpeter Randy Holmes, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, trombonist Wayne Coniglio, pianist Ken Kehner, bassist Jeff Anderson and drummer Montez Coleman.

Also on Thursday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will be getting in the spirit with a show at the Blues City Deli that could include a preview of some numbers from their upcoming "Holiday Brasstravaganza"; and pianist Jim Hegarty leads a quintet at The Dark Room.

Elsewhere around town, Latin/funk/hip-hop band Ozomatli plays at the Old Rock House, and new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound returns to the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Friday, December 7
Saxophonist Adam Larson (pictured, top left) plays the music of Sonny Rollins for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Though Rollins is esteemed as one of the all-time greatest improvisors in jazz, he's also written a number of tunes that have become standards, including "St. Thomas," "Alfie's Theme," "Oleo," "Doxy," "Pent-Up House," and "Airegin." These compositions, and others from deeper in the Rollins catalog, should provide Larson and friends with ample opportunities for improvisation and interpretation.

Also on Friday, St. Louis native Craig Pomranz (pictured, center left) will be back home from NYC to perform his latest cabaret show, "Love: It Takes Time..." for the first of two nights at the Kranzberg Arts Center; saxophonist Tim Cunningham plays at Troy's Jazz Gallery; and Jesse Gannon returns for a late show at The Dark Room.

Saturday, December 8
Singer Mardra Thomas and keyboardist Reggie Thomas, once mainstays on the St. Louis scene and now living in northern Illinois, will be back for a visit and, along with guitarist Rick Haydon, playing a set of holiday music for "Saturday With Santa" at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Ridgway Visitors Center.

Sunday, December 9
Miss Jubilee performs vintage jazz and blues for brunch at Evangeline's, and the North County Big Band and the City of Music All-Star Chorus will perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

December 11
Saxophonist Dave Koz (pictured, bottom left) brings the 14th annual edition of his holiday show to the Family Arena, with guest stars including saxophonist Mindi Abair, singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler, and keyboardist Keiko Matsui; and singer Storm Large, who's performed here several times in a cabaret setting, gets a slightly bigger stage for her show "Holiday Ordeal" at the Sun Theatre.

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, December 04, 2018

MarchFourth returning to perform Wednesday, March 20 at Old Rock House

The eclectic band MarchFourth will be returning to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 at the Old Rock House.

Originally from Portland, OR, the group was formed for a Mardi Gras gig in 2003, and includes stilt-walkers, acrobats and dancers as well as up to five percussionists and six brass and wind players in its lineup of 15 to 20 musicians and performers.

While they obviously draw inspiration from the marching band tradition, MarchFourth's music incorporates influences from jazz, rock, ska, klezmer, hip-hop, swing, Afro-Cuban beats, and more. They've toured extensively in the US and in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Canada, and China, and their music has been featured in TV and film productions including a commercial for Microsoft and the Pixar film Monsters University.

MarchFourth (pictured) last played St. Louis in October 2015, also at the Old Rock House. (You can see some videos of them in a post from before that gig here.) Their most recent studio recording is 2016's Magic Number, recorded in New Orleans with Ben Ellman of Galactic producing and guest appearances from Trombone Shorty, drummer Stanton Moore, and more.

Tickets for MarchFourth at Old Rock House are $18 general admission for all ages, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, December 7 via Metrotix.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Sunday Session: December 2, 2018

Arturo O'Farrill
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:

* Grammy Winning Saxophonist Frank Catalano On Alternative Revenue Streams And Trio Of New Live Albums (Forbes)
* When you're smiling: Louis Armstrong museum shares digitized pictures of jazz legend (New York Daily News)
* How The 'New World' Symphony Introduced American Music To Itself (NPR)
* One-Hit Wonders Who Deserve a Second Chance (
* William Hooker Interview (
* Green Book: The Real-Life Story of Dr. Don Shirley (Vanity Fair)
* Arturo O’Farrill’s ‘Fandango’ Spans Border to Unify Cultures, Musics (DownBeat)
* Tony Williams Gets the Deluxe Treatment in 'Blue Note Review: Volume Two – Spirit & Time' (WBGO)
* Singer-songwriter John Prine: Still alive and kickin' (CBS News)
* Beneath the Surface of Bruce Springsteen (Esquire)
* The rise of Africa’s most exciting new dance music scenes (
* A Burst of Reissues from the Catalog of Frank Zappa (DownBeat)
* Art Ensemble Chronicled in Massive ECM Box Set (DownBeat)
* Local archaeologist shares discovery about early music (Left Hand Valley Courier)
* Everything on Social Media Is for Sale (The Atlantic)
* Mick Jagger Talks New Rolling Stones Tour, Aretha Franklin and Grammys (Billboard)
* Nina Is Everywhere I Go (Oxford American)
* A Moment in Time - An Interview with Terence Blanchard (
* 'Conserve the Sound' hopes to save sounds of old tech before they're gone (CBC)
* Cyrille Aimée Pushes Herself into New Terrain with 'Move On: A Sondheim Adventure' (WBGO)
* Keith Richards on Rolling Stones’ Stadium Tour: ‘Maybe This Will Be the Last One’ (Rolling Stone)
* Iconic 1958 photo - which featured the biggest names in jazz - is brought to life by never-before-seen frames from legendary photographer Art Kane's shoot (Daily Mail)
* The Place of the Drum Solo in Jazz (Jazz Times)
* Farewell Mary Jane: Grieving for a lost jazz hideout (Japan Times)
* If you think you know who Philip Glass is, you probably don’t (Washington Post)
* Meet Skull Snaps, a Forgotten Funk Band That Soundtracked Hip-Hop (
* Library of Congress Acquires Billy Strayhorn Archive (Jazz Times)
* Jazz icon Wayne Shorter can play anything. He’s still trying to say everything (Washington Post)
* Funk was the black answer to “Star Wars”: Take the trip with “Tales From the Tour Bus” (
* "For the sake of a couple of bucks, they deserted us": Vancouver's last classical record store to close (CBC)
* Expansive Martinelli Book Examines European Jazz History (DownBeat)

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's the start of another new month, and so it's time once again to check in on StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, where each day there's posted a different online music video, drawing on genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental, and more.
The most-watched videos added to the site last month were:

Kenny Barron Trio - "Have You Met Miss Jones?"
Freddie Hubbard - Live in Köln
Texas Tornados - "Is Anybody Going To San Antone?"
Manhattan Transfer - "Birdland"
Wild Bill Davis - "Johnny Come Lately"

Other recent posts have included videos featuring Aretha Franklin, Soul Coughing, Shabaka Hutchings and The Ancestors, Lloyd Glenn, Leon Russell, Eugene Chadbourne & Famoudou Don Moye, Buddy Guy, Praxis, Wayne Cochran and the CC Riders, Bad Company, Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom, Hudson, Tower of Power, Roscoe Mitchell, Hubert Laws Quintet, Pat Metheny Group, Oliver Lake Octet, Gladys Knight, T-Bone Walker, Jeff Beck, Randy Weston & Billy Harper, Gentle Giant, Eddie Palmieri, Howlin' Wolf, and the Gary Bartz Quartet.

If you've somehow missed out on all this until now, you still can see all these videos, plus thousands more from the archives, by going to

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Geoffrey Keezer

This week, let's look at some videos featuring pianist Geoffrey Keezer, who's coming to St. Louis to perform on Thursday, December 13 at the HQ of pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio, which is in the Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive St. in Grand Center.

Originally from Eau Claire, WI, Keezer, 48, was something of a teenage phenom, joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when he was just 18 years old. Since then, he's gone on to work with many well-known musicians and singers, including Christian McBride, Joe Locke, Denise Donatelli, Joshua Redman, Ray Brown, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Jane Monheit, Wayne Shorter, Sting, and more.

Keezer also has recorded regularly as both a sideman and a leader, with his most recent album being a trio effort, On My Way To You, released earlier this year. For his show at Open Studio, he'll be accompanied by NYC-based drummer Jon Wikan and St. Louis' Bob DeBoo on bass.

Today's post includes a half-dozen videos featuring Keezer leading a trio, starting up above with a performance of the Thelonious Monk composition "Brilliant Corners," featuring bassist Benjamin Shepherd and drummer Christian Euman and recorded on June 17, 2018 at Sam First in Los Angeles, CA.

After the jump, you can see four more performances from the same session, including versions of Jimi Hendrix's "May This Be Love,"Stevie Wonder's "These Three Words," and two medleys - one combining the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein standard "All The Things You Are" with Earth Wind and Fire's "Serpentine Fire," and the other joining the Beatles' "Across The Universe" and John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

The last video is a complete performance recorded February 24, 2015 at Auer Hall on the campus of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, in which Keezer is accompanied by IU jazz faculty members Jeremy Allen on bass and Steve Houghton on drums.

For more about Geoffrey Keezer, check out his conversation from 2017 with fellow pianist (and Wisconsin native) Ethan Iverson, published on Iverson's blog Do The Math; and read a review of  a Keezer performance earlier this year in Philadelphia, via

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