Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday Session: February 17, 2019

Herbie Hancock
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:

* Pop Hits Were Really Slow (Again) in 2018 (Rolling Stone)
* Daversa, Blanchard, Salvant Win Grammys (DownBeat)
* The Spectacular Failure of the World's Only Hard Rock Theme Park (
* Details of "Bizarre World of Frank Zappa" Hologram Tour Announced (Guitar Player)
* Huey Lewis battles through a hearing loss nightmare (San Francisco Chronicle)
* 2019 Grammy Awards: Why I'm using my nomination to speak out about sexism in the world of jazz (NBC News)
* ‘In jazz, the piano gets to do what guitars get to do in rock’ (Irish Times)
* The Final Days of EMI: Selling the Pig by Eamonn Forde – review (The Guardian)
* Students in Kazakhstan just built a BANANA piano – and it’s rather appealing (
* Alice Coltrane’s spiritual jazz, 1968-1971 (
* Minneapolis festival honors Pulitzer-winning jazz great Henry Threadgill: 'Discovery is the greatest thing' (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
* A two-day Walker festival celebrates composer-bandleader Henry Threadgill (City Pages)
* Q&A with Rudresh Mahanthappa: A Jazz Festival Grows in Princeton (Jazziz)
* Herbie Hancock, coming to Clearwater, talks about working with Kendrick Lamar and his big Grammy upset (
* Extraordinary Popular Delusions play free jazz two centuries deep (Chicago Reader)
* People Laughed When This Philly Lawyer Sued Led Zeppelin. Nobody’s Laughing Now. (
* A day in the life of Emily Lazar, Grammy-winning mastering engineer (
* Who’s Hazel Scott? (Unsung Women of Jazz #11) (
* How Talking Heads and Brian Eno Wrote “Once in a Lifetime”: Cutting Edge, Strange & Utterly Brilliant (
* Blue Note Records, 80 years on – A brief History (Jazz in Europe)
* Church of St. John Coltrane Marks 50 Years, Sets Fundraiser (DownBeat)
* Oscar-Nominated Terence Blanchard On 30 Years Of Jazz And Film Scoring For Spike Lee (NPR)
* Pop, Prince and Black Panthers: the glorious life of Chaka Khan (The Guardian)
* Edition Festival a Celebration of Anthony Braxton’s Oeuvre (DownBeat)
* Scam Season Comes for the Orchestra (
* Ken Nordine, 'Word Jazz' Creator, Dies at 98 (KQED)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Anat Cohen

This week, it's time to check out some videos featuring clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen, who's coming to St. Louis to perform with her quartet starting Wednesday, February 27 through Sunday, March 3 at Jazz St. Louis.

Born in Israeli and educated at Berklee, Cohen moved to New York after college and began her career by touring with the all-woman big band the Diva Orchestra and working with Brazilian groups. Over the past decade, she has become perhaps the most prominent clarinet player in jazz, building a reputation in part on her ability to play convincingly in a variety of styles, from vintage swing to modern jazz to Brazilian music.

Cohen released her most recent recording, a live album of duos with pianist Fred Hersch, in 2018, after putting out three albums - two of Brazilian music, and one with her Tentet - in 2017.

Today's collection of clips shows off at least some of Cohen's versatility in dealing with a variety of settings and styles, starting with the first video up above, in which Cohen plays the swing-era staple "China Boy" in 2018 with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

After the jump, you can see a full set by Cohen fronting a quartet with Jason Lindner (piano) Joe Martin (bass) and Daniel Freedman (drums), recorded in 2013 at the Istanbul Jazz Festival.

Next, it's Cohen and pianist Fred Hersch teasing and tumbling their way through a discursive version of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz," recorded in 2016 in the studios of public radio station KNKX in Tacoma, WA.

After that, you can check out a couple of performances of Brazilian music by Cohen. The first is a duet with guitarist Marcello Gonçalves (with whom she recorded the 2017 album Outra Coisa), playing Moacir Santos' "Coisa No. 5/ Nanã," recorded in 2017 at the Buffet Crampon showroom in Paris.

That's followed by "Espinha de Bacalhau," recorded in October 2014 at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Choro Aventuroso, which also includes accordionist Vitor Gonçalves, guitarist Cesar Garabini, and pandeiro player Sergio Krakowski.

The final video shows Cohen with her brothers, saxophonist Yuval Cohen and trumpeter Avishai Cohen, performing as the 3 Cohens Sextet and playing Ellington's "The Mooch" in 2018 at the Jazz à La Villette festival in Paris.

For more about Anat Cohen, read her interview published in January 2019 on the website Music & Literature, and her June 2018 interview with's R.J. DeLuke.

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

Friday, February 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:

* Intuition: Songs From The Minds of Women, the new album (pictured) from singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja that's set for release next Friday, February 22,  was reviewed by DownBeat.

* Poet K. Curtis Lyle, who will perform tomorrow night with multi-instrumentalist J.D. Parran and trumpeter George Sams at St. Louis University, was interviewed by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn.

* The Kranzberg Arts Foundation on Friday, March 11 will release The Sound of St. Louis - Jazz Compilation Volume 1, an album featuring original music from the nine participants in their music artists-in-residence program.

The album will include tracks from bassist Bob DeBoo; keyboardists Mo Egeston, Jesse Gannon, Owen Ragland and Ptah Williams; singer Anita Jackson, saxophonist Ben Reece; multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo; and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor.

Recorded last year and mixed at Clayton Studios by Tazu Marshall and Mike Silverman, the compilation 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 affiliated venues such as Sophie’s Artist Lounge and The Dark Room.

* In a separate announcement, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation has put out a call for applicants for their next group of music artists-in-residence. In addition to a chance to appear on next year's compilation album, selected participants will get "performance, rehearsal and recording opportunities, as well as marketing support, office space, and industry education and access to assist them with advancing and building their careers."

Sunday, March 31 is the deadline to apply; for more information or to complete an application, visit the KAF website.

* The Sheldon Concert Hall has posted to Facebook an album of photos from last Saturday's performance by singer Dianne Reeves.

* Poet and author Quincy Troupe, in town this week to discuss Miles Davis for Jazz St. Louis' "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series, was interviewed by Don Marsh of St. Louis Public radio.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Jazz this week: Grace Kelly, J.D. Parran & K. Curtis Lyle, Eighth Blackbird, and more

It's another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with several noteworthy headliners in town, plus a whole bunch of shows from our hometown musicians, including a jam-packed Valentine's Day evening.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, February 13
Saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly (pictured, top left) begins a five-night engagement at Jazz St. Louis, continuing through Sunday. Kelly's most recent album Go Time: Brooklyn 2, which came out last October, expands her musical palette a bit, with more pronounced influences from pop, electronic music, and more. For more about that, plus some videos of recent performances by Kelly, check out the video showcase post from last Saturday.

Also on Wednesday, JSL's "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series continues with "Miles and Me: An Evening with Quincy Troupe," a free event at the St. Louis County Library's main branch on South Lindbergh. The poet, author, professor, St. Louis native, and Miles Davis biographer will speak about his work, his relationship with Davis, and more. For a preview, see Troupe's interview with Dan Durchholz for the Post-Dispatch.

Thursday, February 14
The evening of Valentine's Day offers more than dozen options for live jazz, so you'll probably want to visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes calendar to see the full range of options. 

If you're on a budget, the pick show might be the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University's presentation of "My Funny Valentine - Music of Miles Davis," a free concert featuring trumpeter Randy Holmes, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, bassist/guitarist William Lenihan, pianist Ken Kehner, and drummer Steve Davis. As a bonus, author and scholar Enrico Merlin will give a talk about Davis before the concert, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Also of note, singer Jan Shapiro and pianist Dave Venn, both of whom gig less frequently than many local listeners might like, will be performing along with bassist Ben Wheeler at Bar Italia.

Meanwhile, singer Erin Bode will meet the demand from her fan base with the first of two nights at Cyrano's, and saxophonist Tim Cunningham will be on a similar schedule playing Thursday and Friday at Gauge Cigar Club (the latest re-branding of what originally was Troy's Jazz Gallery.)

Friday, February 15
Chicago-based new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird returns for a concert at 560 Music Center.

Also on Friday, singer Chuck Flowers performs at 50/Fifty Kitchen; the Joe Bozzi Band returns to Evangeline's; and Cornet Chop Suey plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Saturday, February 16
Multi-instrumentalist and St. Louis native J.D. Parran (pictured, bottom left) will team up up with poet K. Curtis Lyle and trumpeter George Sams for a performance at Xavier Hall on the SLU campus.

Sunday, February 17
Miss Jubilee will perform for brunch at Evangeline's, while guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran is at The Dark Room.

Monday, February 18
The Webster University Jazz Collective, featuring faculty members from Webster's music department, performs at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster 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, February 10, 2019

Sunday Session: February 10, 2019

Archie Shepp
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:

* Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda (
* 'Holy relic' blues guitar could sell for £120k (Gazette and Herald)
* Wadada Leo Smith Reflects on Civil Rights and Large-Scale Works (DownBeat)
* 'Green Book' doesn't do justice to Don Shirley's brilliant musicianship (Los Angeles Times)
* Roomful of Teeth Is Revolutionizing Choral Music (The New Yorker)
* SFJAZZ Honors Chucho Valdés at Annual Gala (DownBeat)
* 'American Pie' isn't a song about Buddy Holly, Don McLean says: 'It's about America' (Des Moines Register)
* "A Great Day In Harlem": Remembering the iconic 1958 photo of legendary musicians (CBS News)
* The One That’s Got the Mojo: The Ric and Ron Records legacy (Offbeat)
* Loop History: Skull Snaps’ “It’s A New Day” (
* Malaco Records: A soul survivor celebrates 50 years (
* Bobbie Gentry's Box of Surprises (
* When Jazz Was a Public Health Crisis (
* The Divine Madness of Bill Laswell (
* How Did They Do That? The Extraordinary Story of Tomorrow’s Warriors. (Jazz in Europe)
* Lost in the woods with James Brown’s ghost (CNN)
* Musicians Attempt Class-Action Lawsuits Against UMG & Sony to Reclaim Rights to Recordings (Billboard)
* Andy Statman: Practical Mystic (* Restoration of Nina Simone’s childhood home to begin this spring (
* How Saxophone Player Jean-Baptiste Jacquet Integrated Houston Audiences (Houstonia)
* Prospectus Feature: Baseball and Jazz (
* Joseph Jarman (1937–2019) (Art Forum)
* Folklore as a political act: William Ferris on preserving Mississippi Delta blues (CBC)
* Travels with Joni Mitchell - An oeuvre inaugurated by disavowal (
* Marvin Gaye's Unreleased Album 'You're The Man' To See The Light Of Day (NPR)
* The Anger Inside Gary Clark, Jr. (Rolling Stone)
* Did academia kill jazz? (
* Trumpeter Marquis Hill Has a Message (DownBeat)
* At 81, jazz titan Archie Shepp’s legacy comes into clear focus (Washington Post)
* The New Cool: Ben Wendel talks about his album that's not an album, until now (KNKX)

Saturday, February 09, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
It's "Go Time" for Grace Kelly

This week, let's check out some videos featuring saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly, who's coming to St. Louis to perform starting Wednesday, February 13 through Sunday, February 17 at Jazz St. Louis.

Already a music business veteran at age 26, Kelly grew up in the Boston area, recording and releasing her first album when she was just 12 years old. She subsequently earned her GED at 16, and went on to study at the New England Conservatory and Berklee, graduating from the latter at age 19.

Since then, Kelly has enjoyed increasing recognition both nationally and internationally, performing at major jazz venues and festivals all over the world, and getting occasional opportunities to cross over to a larger audience, such as her sit-ins with keyboardist Jon Batiste's band on Stephen Colbert's CBS talk show.

Kelly's most recent album, her 11th as a leader, is called GO TiME: Brooklyn 2. Released in October of last year, it incorporates elements of pop, funk, electronic music and more, moving Kelly a bit further away from the straight-ahead jazz she did as a teen being mentored by the likes of Phil Woods and Lee Konitz.

Still, you can hear a bit of that traditional vibe in the first video up above, which shows Kelly performing the bluesy ballad that served as the title song from her 2016 album Trying To Figure It Out, as recorded in October 2018 at the Jarasum Jazz Festival in South Korea.

After the jump, you can see live-in-the-studio videos of two songs recorded for GO TiME Brooklyn 2, "Unchain My Heart" and "Billie Jean" (though the latter apparently didn't make it on to the CD).

Next, it's "You Are My Sunshine," recorded in July 2018 at Paste Studios in NYC. The final two videos, "Amazing Grace" and "Lemons Make Lemonade," are from April 2017 and were made at the studios of public radio station KNKX in Tacoma, WA.

For more about Grace Kelly, see her interview from October 2018 in the Korea Herald; from September 2018 in JazzEd magazine, and January 2018 on

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

Friday, February 08, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Jazz St. Louis has been named one of 16 arts organizations nationwide to receive a 2019 Leadership Grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation "in recognition of their existing bodies of work and for their potential continued impact on their respective fields."

The grants range in size from $100,000 to $500,000, with JSL getting get $350,000 for demonstrating "outstanding artistic programs and visionary leadership."

* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja was the subject of a feature story in the February issue of DownBeat, which now can be read online. Olatuja will self-release her latest album Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women on Friday, February 22 via "iTunes, Amazon, Google Music and all other online music vendors."

* Also putting out new music this month is drummer/keyboardist and U City native Ronnie Burrage. Recording under the group name Holographic Principle, Burrage, keyboardist Michal Wierba, and bassist Nimrod Speaks will release Dance of the Great Spirit on Friday, February 15 via Truth Revolution Records. They'll promote the album (pictured) with a performance on Saturday, February 16 at the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

* And speaking of new albums, vintage swing and Gypsy jazz ensemble Dizzy Atmosphere has a new, eponymous recording out this month, as described by bandleader Christopher Voelker to St. Louis magazine's Thomas Crone.

* Cabaret Project of St. Louis' monthly open mic night is the subject of a feature story on HEC-TV.

* With the premiere of the new documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool last week at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie's director Stanley Nelson, Davis' son Erin, and the trumpeter's nephew Vince Wilburn were interviewed by Essence magazine. Nelson also was interviewed by, and the premiere was reviewed by Film Threat magazine and

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Nu-Art Series to present concerts by J.D. Parran, Oliver Lake at St. Louis University

The Nu-Art Series has announced three more concerts in their "Jazz n’ Tongues" series presented in cooperation with St. Louis University's music department.

The series resumes with multi-instrumentalist and St. Louis native J.D. Parran, who will perform with poet K. Curtis Lyle and trumpeter and Nu-Art Series head George Sams on Saturday, February 16.  

Next up, saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake (pictured) will play with Sams, pianist Greg Mills, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd on Friday, March 22. 

Sams then will complete the spring series by leading a date of his own on Friday, April 5.

All three concerts will start at 8:00 p.m. in the University Theatre in Xavier Hall on the SLU campus. General admission is $10 per person, free for students with a valid student ID,  and tickets for all three shows are on sale now via Metrotix.