Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jazz this week: Jeff Lorber Fusion, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christina Bianco, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features a pioneering jazz-fusion keyboardist; a quick-thinking musical impressionist who first gained fame online; one of the top female vocalists in jazz taking on some soul and blues classics; and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, November 14
Keyboardist Jeff Lorber (pictured, top left) will perform for the first of five nights at Jazz St. Louis. Lorber, who last played here in February 2015 at the Bistro, this time is supporting a new release, Impact, that came out in August on Shanachie Records.

With a band that includes bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Gary Novak, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., and saxophonists Andy Snitzer and Dave Mann, Impact features 10 new original compositions by Lorber, some of which no doubt will get played this weekend. (You can listen to all the tracks from Impact here.)

Also on Wednesday, Jazz St. Louis' "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series presents a talk by NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead at St. Louis County Library's Grant's View Branch. Whitehead will discuss his forthcoming book Play the Way You Feel, which examines how fiction and biographical films from 1927 to 2016 told stories about jazz music and musicians.

Thursday, November 15
Guitarist Dave Black leads his latest project, In Touch, in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. In addition to Black, the group features Kyle Honeycutt on drums, Ben Wheeler on bass, the St. Louis Symphony's Asako Kuboki on violin, and Paul DeMarinis on saxophones and clarinets.

Also on Thursday, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kristen Cothron performs at The Wolf, and trumpeter Danny Campbell leads a trio at The Dark Room.

Friday, November 16
Singer Christina Bianco, who's gotten tens of millions of views on YouTube for her impressions of various celebrity vocalists, will perform her show "Diva Moments" for the first of two nights at the Gaslight Theater.

Saturday, November 17
Singer Dee Dee Bridgewater brings her tribute to Memphis blues and soul to the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Backed by a group dubbed The Memphis Soulphony, Bridgewater has been touring with a show based on her 2017 album Memphis...Yes I'm Ready, which features her interpretations of (mostly) well-known songs associated with her hometown.

You can find out more about the project and see some videos of her performing the Memphis show in this post from last Saturday. Also, the Sheldon is offering a $10 discount for online purchases of tickets to the concert, which can be accessed by going here and using the promo code MEMPHIS10.

Elsewhere around town, Jeanette Harris who's billed as the "scintillating saxtress of smooth jazz," will play two shows at .ZACK.

Sunday, November 18
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents pianist Pat Joyce and clarinetist Scott Alberici at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport; bassist and singer Janet Evra celebrates the release of her debut album with a performance at .ZACK; and singer Ken Haller wraps up the Gaslight Cabaret Festival's fall series with one last performance of his show "Happy Haller Days!" at the Gaslight Theater.

Monday, November 19
Faculty members in the Webster University Jazz Collective will perform 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.)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ahmad Jamal to perform for The Sheldon's benefit gala on Saturday, March 30

Pianist Ahmad Jamal will be the featured performer for the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries' annual benefit gala at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 30 at The Sheldon.

Now 88 years old, Jamal (pictured) plays only a select handful of concert dates a year, so his performance here should be especially anticipated by local jazz fans.

He's been a fixture on the music scene since the late 1950s, winning just about every honor that can be given to a jazz musician, including being named an NEA Jazz Master back in 1994 and getting a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Jamal's most recent recording is Marseille, released in 2017, and he last appeared in St. Louis in November 2011 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Patron tickets for the gala can be purchased now by calling the Sheldon at 314-533-9900. Prices start at $500 per person, and include pre-concert cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, dinner, preferred concert seating, complimentary valet parking, and a tax deduction.

Concert-only tickets will be $50 for orchestra seats, $45 front balcony, $40 rear balcony, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Friday, February 15 via MetroTix and the Sheldon box office. Proceeds from the event benefit The Sheldon's concerts, gallery exhibitions and educational programs.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Session: November 11, 2018

Charles Mingus
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:

* Edgefest 2018: The Chicago Connection (
* Release of Live Mingus Recordings to be Celebrated at Jazz Standard (DownBeat)
* A Great Day in Harlem, Revisited (Wall Street Journal)
* In Memoriam: Roy Hargrove (DownBeat)
* Blown away: will we miss the sweet sound of school recorders? (The Guardian)
* Myra Melford: Taking Flight Where Life Leads Her (
* Roy Hargrove 1969 – 2018 (Jazz Times)
* Everything Adds Up for Lorraine Feather (DownBeat)
* Novelist Jeff Jackson on the 4 Best Rock Chronicles You’ve Never Heard of (
* Aretha Franklin doc ‘Amazing Grace’ to finally see the light (Associated Press)
* Engineer Al Schmitt on Winning 23 Grammys and Working With Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney & Steely Dan (Billboard)
* Has stadium rock been unplugged? (BBC)
* Inside the booming business of background music (The Guardian)
* Sound decision: Why studios still matter in the age of smart phones (Toledo Blade)
* Aaron Parks Crafts a New Context (DownBeat)
* Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to be Renamed in 2019 (DownBeat)
* The Free Music Archive is closing this month (
* 26 Abandoned Discos (
* At Tampere Jazz Happening, History and Revolution (DownBeat)
* Guitar Center Unveils Remodeled Hollywood Store and How It Plans to Come Back From the Brink (Billboard)
* Spotify debuts an analytics service for music publishers (
* L.A.’s air raid sirens are blaring this week. Why composer Lawrence English says you should listen (Los Angeles Times)
* Blanchard Premieres New, Poignant Commission in Cleveland (DownBeat)
* Eliot Zigmund: A Sideman Moves to the Front (Jazz Times)
* Cécile McLorin Salvant: Wide Open Window (Jazz Times)
* Dianne Reeves: Christmas Time Is Here (
* There Was No Song of the Summer This Year — and There Won't Be Ever Again (Rolling Stone)
* 'Mingus: Jazz In Detroit' Catches A Giant At A Moment Full Of Possibility (NPR)
* Monsters of Rock Criticism: Greil Marcus Interviews Robert Christgau (Rolling Stone)
* Bar Four: A Vibraphone Summit (Jazz Times)
* A Jazz Legend Out of the Shadows (
* Tyshawn Sorey Unveils a 3-Disc Extravaganza (Jazz Times)

Saturday, November 10, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Dee Dee Bridgewater goes back to Memphis

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Saturday, November 17 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Long known as one of the top female jazz singers of her generation, Bridgewater went in a different musical direction for her most recent album, Memphis... Yes, I'm Ready, which came out last year and features her takes on famous soul and blues tunes associated with her hometown.

On the album and on tour, she's accompanied by a eight-piece band dubbed the Memphis Soulphony, configured like a vintage show band with rhythm section, horns, and background singers. Though Bridgewater's interpretations of the material mostly are faithful to the spirit of the originals, she and the band add some of their own touches to both update and personalize the material.

You can see and hear what that's like starting with the first clip up above, which features Bridgewater and the Soulphony performing two tunes, "Giving Up" and "Going Down Slow," recorded June 22, 2018 at the Royal Theatre in Victoria, BC, Canada.

After the jump, you can see Bridgewater's recent appearance on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert," recorded April 2, 2018 at NPR studios in Washington, DC. The three-song set includes "Hound Dog," "Why (Am I Treated So Bad)?" and "B.A.B.Y.".

Next, you can check out Bridgewater and company doing an extended version of "The Thrill Is Gone," as recorded in March of this year by an audience member at the Blue Note Hawaii.

If those samples have whetted your appetite for more, you then can check out two full sets of Bridgewater's Memphis show, as performed in May 2018 at Ronnie Scott's in London, and an earlier iteration of the show from August 2017 at the Montclair Jazz Festival in New Jersey.

The final video is a short biography of Bridgewater, produced by the National Endowment for the Arts last year when she was named an NEA Jazz Master.

For more about Dee Dee Bridgewater and her tribute to Memphis music, read her interviews from last year with DownBeat and with Jazz Times.

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

Friday, November 09, 2018

Geoffrey Keezer to perform Thursday, December 13 at Open Studio

Pianist Peter Martin's company Open Studio, which to date has specialized in the production of jazz education videos featuring well-known musicians, is expanding into concert presentation. Their first show will feature pianist Geoffrey Keezer leading a trio at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, December 13 at Open Studio's space in the Centene Center for Arts & Education, 3547 Olive St.

Keezer (pictured), who turns 48 in a couple of weeks, first gained wide recognition as a teenager, joining Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers when he was just 18. He subsequently has gone on to play with a number of notable musicians, including David Sanborn, Chris Botti, Christian McBride, Joe Locke, singer Denise Donatelli, and many others.

Keezer also has recorded frequently as both a sideman and a leader, most recently releasing a trio album, On My Way To You, earlier this year. For his St. Louis show, he'll be accompanied by NYC-based drummer Jon Wikan and St. Louis' own Bob DeBoo on bass.

Tickets for Geoffrey Keezer at Open Studio are $25 each, and are on sale now.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Bassist and Washington University faculty member Paul Steinbeck - author of Message To Our Folks, a history of the Art Ensemble of Chicago - has received the 2018 Steve Larson Award for Jazz Scholarship from the Society for Music Theory's Jazz Interest Group.

* Pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True have released a new album for the holidays called True Christmas. The album (pictured) features True's original arrangements of 14 favorite seasonal songs, and is on sale now as a digital download, with CDs available soon.

* Keyboard player David Grelle was the subject of a feature on the newscast of local NBC affiliate KSDK. Grelle and his group, the Playadors, perform tonight and tomorrow night at Jazz St. Louis.

* This weekend's homecoming of singer Kate McGrath, the St. Louis expat whose show "Aunt of The Year" is a sell-out tonight at the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, was the subject of an item by Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Holleman.

* An exhibit of visual art created by trumpeter Miles Davis opened this week at Jackson State University in Jackson, MI. The exhibit, which features 15 of Davis' paintings and photos, continues through November 30.

* Keyboardist and Metro East native David Garfield was interviewed on the Inside Musicast podcast.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

2019 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival set for Friday, April 12 & Saturday, April 13

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival this week announced its dates for 2019, with public concerts set for 8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Friday's concert will feature the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, the all-woman big band led by drummer Sherrie Maricle. Based in NYC, DIVA (pictured) celebrated 25 years as a band earlier this year with the album 25th Anniversary Project.

Saturday's show will feature the "Ultimate Jazz All-Stars Big Band," an ad hoc assembly directed by drummer Gregg Field, and will serve as a tribute to bassist and UMSL director of jazz studies Jim Widner, who founded the GSLJF and is retiring from teaching next year.

Although a complete lineup of musicians isn't available yet, players mentioned in the promotional email as participants on Saturday include saxophonists Tom Scott and Eric Marienthal, multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Gordon Goodwin, bassist Carlitos del Puerto, pianist Shelly Berg, and drummer Scotty Barnhart.

Tickets for the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival are $35 per night, $33 for seniors, $15 for students, and are on sale now via the Touhill box office.

Michael Bublé returning for concert
on Friday, March 22 at Enterprise Center

Singer Michael Bublé will return to St. Louis for the first time in more than five years for a concert at 8:00 p.m. Friday, March 22 at the Enterprise Center.

Bublé (pictured) last performed here in September 2013, when the same venue still was called the Scottrade Center. He recently made headlines for an interview in which he discussed his five-year-old son Noah's battle with cancer and his possible retirement from the music business.

That talk of retirement then was walked back by his representatives almost immediately, as the singer prepares to launch a tour in support of his upcoming album Love, which will be released next Friday, November 16.

Tickets for Michael Bublé are priced from $65 to  $135 and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Monday, November 19 via Ticketmaster and the Enterprise Center box office.