Both men have headlined individually at the venue before - Bucky was there most recently in 2007, while John has been a regular visitor to St. Louis, last playing at the Bistro in November 2012 and also appearing in recent years at the Sheldon Concert Hall and at the Touhill Performing Arts Center for the the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.
While the Pizzarellis don't work together primarily or even regularly, making this engagement a bit more of a special occasion, of course they've joined forces before many times for specific live performances, radio and TV appearances, and recording sessions. Today, let's take a look at some online videos capturing just a few of those live collaborations over the years, working in reverse chronological order.
The first two clips are from 2008. Up above, you can see the Pizzarellis playing the Billy Strayhorn/Duke Ellington standard "Satin Doll" at Birdland in NYC. Down below, in a video recorded at the Tilles Center on Long Island, Bucky does a solo version of "Stars In Your Eyes" and then the two of them play "Nuages."
The third clip, from 2002, shows them performing "Honeysuckle Rose" and "Route 66" at the 2002 Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs (MAC) Awards. Below that, in a couple of undated but clearly much older clips recorded in informal settings, are "Sweet Georgia Brown" and then a rather frenetic version of "Pick Yourself Up."
To round out today's program, there's "The Seventh String: The Life and Tales of Bucky Pizzarelli," a short documentary about the elder Pizzarelli, and in clip number seven, a seasonal lagniappe of sorts, with John and his band playing "Sleigh Ride" in 2011 on Conan O'Brien's TV show.
* Saxophonist Eric Person's big band gig last month at NYC's Jazz Standard was reviewed in the December issue of the New York City Jazz Record by Russ Musto, who found the leader's work "inventive" and said the group "had a supple airy sound not often heard in a big band." You can download the mag for free in .pdf format here.
* Meanwhile, The Atlantic has a short feature about Never My Love, a new CD box set collecting the work of singer/songwriter, keyboardist, and St. Louis native Donny Hathaway(pictured). For additional perspectives, the set was the subject of a feature story here by the Philadephia Daily News' Mister Mann Frisby, and reviewed here by Wax Poetics' Eric Luecking.
* Evangeline's Bistro and Music Hall, a new eating and drinking spot in the Central West End promising live jazz and blues several night a week, will celebrate its grand opening tonight. Located at 512 N. Euclid (the corner of Euclid and Washington, Evangeline's will feature Creole and Cajun-style cuisine, with music for the opening festivities provided by guitarist John Farrar and Park Avenue Jazz.
* Jazz radio update: On this week's "Somethin' Else" program on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, host Calvin Wilson features standard tunes composed by jazz musicians, performed by saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, pianist Marcus Roberts, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, and more. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.
Whether you're looking for jazz explicitly flavored with a bit of holiday spirit, or not, there's plenty to choose from on this week's menu of jazz and creative music performances in St. Louis. Let's go to the highlights...
Tonight, guitarist Pat Martino(pictured) returns to St. Louis for the first time since 2010 to begin a four-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Though he's worked in other contexts, Martino generally favors the organ trio format, and for this visit, he'll be accompanied by organist Pat Bianchi and drummer Carmen Intorre.
For much more about Martino, and some videos of him in action, please see this post from a couple of weeks ago.
Also tonight, singer and St. Louis native Lynne Fiddmont and her saxophonist brother Keith Fiddmont are back in town for a homecoming performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall; trombonist/singer Doug Burns and pianist Pauline Stark will play for diners at the Feasting Fox, 4200 S Grand; and singer Brian Owens will present his holiday show "Soul of the Season," with guest appearances from pianist Peter Martin and The 442s, at Centene Center for Arts and Education, 3547 Olive. (For an overview of all the holiday jazz shows this month in St. Louis, please see this post.)
Tomorrow night, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a free concert of performances from Wash U jazz students at Ridgley Hall on campus; Miss Jubilee plays at Thaxton Speakeasy downtown; and trumpeter Jim Manley continues his weekly gig at Joyia Tapas, 4501 Manchester Ave in the Grove neighborhood.(Update - 4:00 p.m. 12/5/13: Jim Manley has posted on Facebook that tonight's gig at Joyia is canceled due to the possibility of a winter storm hitting St. Louis this evening.)
On Friday, Jazz at Holmes will wrap up their fall semester schedule with a ticketed concert featuring pianist Marc Copland, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Joey Baron at 560 Music Center. Though not a regular working unit as such, all three players have a stellar list of individual credits, and the result should be a superior evening of music. For more on that, please see this post.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Webster University Jazz Singers will present their semester-ending concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus, and Latin jazz band Clave Sol plays at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.
(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.)
The holiday season always brings with it plenty of thematic music, and those who like to mix some jazz with their jingle bells will have plenty of opportunities this month in St. Louis. Here's a quick look at some noteworthy holiday shows planned by local jazz musicians:
Brian Owens - "Soul of the Season"
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 4
Centene Center for Arts & Education, 3547 Olive
Though Owens at one point a couple of years ago explicitly denied being a jazz singer, he's included here due to the presence of his special guests, pianist Peter Martin and The 442s, who seem likely to infuse at least a bit of improvisational sensibility into the proceedings. $20 & $30.
Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes at the Anheuser Busch Holiday Lights Walking Tour
6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, December 6
Anheuser Busch, 1200 Lynch St.
Tours of the annual light display at the St. Louis HQ of A-B are something of a local holiday tradition, and this year's lineup of musical accompaniment includes the swing and jump blues of singer Sarah Ulrich and her band. They'll perform again at the same time on December 21 and 28. Free and open to the public.
Sarah Jane & Friends - "All Holiday Revue"
8:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7 Robbie's House of Jazz
Continuing in the holiday spirit, Ulrich also has assembled a cast of Blue Notes and special guests for a holiday themed show at the Webster Groves jazz club. $10, $5 for students with ID.
"Follow That Star: A Jazz Nativity" featuring Oikos Ensemble
7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 7
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 10 W. Lockwood Ave., 63119
Now that saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie is based here in St. Louis, his group Oikos Ensemble is performing regularly as part of a monthly series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, and this year they'll also be bringing their Christmas concert to several churches in the area. In addition to the Rev. Aerie on sax and his daughter, singer Arianna Aerie, the group includes singer Kim Fuller, pianist Carolbeth True, trumpeter Danny Campbell, bassist Dave Troncoso, and drummer Kevin Gianino.
They'll perform "Follow That Star" again at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8 at Parkway United Church of Christ, 2841 N. Ballas Rd., and at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 14 at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, 20 E. Fifth St. in Washington. Performances are free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted.
UMSL's Jazz for the Holidays
3:00 p.m. Sunday, December 8
Touhill Performing Arts Center
UMSL's annual presentation "showcases upbeat holiday classics with a jazzy flair," performed by UMSL's Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Jim Widner; choral ensemble Vocal Point, conducted by Jim Henry; and the University Orchestra, conducted by Robert Charles Howard. Free and open to the public.
Jazz St. Louis Big Band plays Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite"
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 11
Jazz at the Bistro
The newly formed Jazz St. Louis Big Band, featuring numerous alumni of the jazz program at SIUE, will perform Ellington’s re-imagining of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker as well as other Ducal classics including “Take the A-Train,” “Cottontail,” “Koko,” “The Mooche,” and more, all played from the original charts.
"Feliz Navidad" with Musica Slesa
7:30 p.m. & 9::30 p.m., Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 Jazz at the Bistro
The Latin-jazz band made up of area music educators offers their take on some seasonal favorites. $25, $10 for students with ID.
John McDaniel - "Home For The Holidays"
7:00 p.m. & 9:00 p.m., Friday, December 20 Kranzberg Arts Center
The Kirkwood native, who's known for his successes in cabaret and on Broadway as well as his six-year, Emmy Award-winning stint as pianist and musical director for Rosie O'Donnell's TV show, returns home with a show featuring guest singers Mary Beth Black and Cindy Degnan. $25.
Funky Butt Brass BandHoliday Brasstravaganza
9:00 p.m., Friday, December 20 & Saturday, December 21 Off Broadway
St. Louis' own New Orleans-style brass band stages the fifth annual edition of their holiday show, now expanded to two nights and no doubt featuring additional seasonal shenanigans and related tomfoolery. Advance tickets are $12 for 21+, $15 for under 21; day of show prices are $15 and $18.
Joe Pastor Christmas Jazz Show
8:00 p.m. Sunday, December 22 BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups
The percussionist, his trio, and perhaps some special guests will offer their take on songs of the season, all for the cost of BB's usual cover of $5 - $10.
Do you know of any holiday jazz shows in St. Louis that we missed? If so, please share the relevant info in the comments.
Edited after posting to add the "Nutcracker Suite" info.
It's been a while since we've checked in over at StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, which features a different music video each day, drawn from genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental and more.
Recent posts have included a couple of rarely seen full shows from the early 1970s, featuring Tony Williams Lifetime at the Montreux Jazz Festival and Frank Zappa and the Overnight Sensation-era Mothers in Stockholm.
Other bands and musicians featured over the last month have included Clark Terry, the Allman Brothers Band, Stan Getz, Randy Newman, Lou Rawls, Dizzy Gillespie, Peter Brötzmann, Hank Jones, Vandermark 5, Wayne Shorter, Matthew Shipp, Maceo Parker, Eddie Harris, Kenny Burrell, Sun Ra Arkestra, Pharoah Sanders, Dr. John, Joe Pass, Van Morrison, Jon Hassell, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Johnny Winter, Paul Motian, Oliver Lake, John Scofield, Don Pullen & Marvin "Smitty" Smith, the Beatles, Warren Zevon, and Trombone Shorty.
If you missed them when originally posted, you can catch up on all these clips and see thousands more from the carefully curated archives, just by visiting http://heliocentricworlds.blogspot.com/.
When Dennis Owsley wrote a history of jazz in St. Louis a few years ago, he titled his book City of Gabriels in recognition of the trumpeters from the area, including Miles Davis, Clark Terry and Lester Bowie, who have had a significant impact on jazz music, both here and around the globe.
While that trumpet tradition continues through the work of nationally and internationally recognized musicians like Jeremy Davenport, Russell Gunn, Keyon Harrold, Jim Manley, and others, in recent years St. Louis area drummers from both sides of the Mississippi have made their mark as well - so much so that if Owsley were to write a history of the last decade, it might be tempting to name it after the drumming equivalent of the Biblical trumpeter who blew down the walls of Jericho.
For that, one might nominate Raijin, "a god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology." According to Wikipedia, his name is derived from the Japanese words for "thunder" and "god," and he typically is depicted as "a demon-looking spirit beating drums to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums."
While we're certainly not suggesting that any of the St. Louis drummers featured in today's videos are demonic, they definitely can bring the thunder. So with that in mind, today let's take a quick look at some of the most noteworthy drummers from our "City of Rajins" who currently are making noise on the national and international scene.
Dave Weckl, who grew up in St. Charles and is seen in the first clip above performing a solo at Montreal Drumfest 2012, likely is the best known of the bunch, thanks to his high-profile stint with the Chick Corea Elektrik Band and successful career as a bandleader in his own right. Weckl also has worked frequently with guitarist Mike Stern, and has appeared on record with Paul Simon, Madonna, George Benson, Robert Plant, the GRP Big Band, and many others.
Next is Marcus Baylor, seen in the first clip below playing a solo in a show last December here at Jazz at the Bistro. Baylor was a member of the popular fusion band Yellowjackets for nearly ten years, and also has worked with trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, saxophonists Greg Tardy and Kenny Garrett, and others. He and his wife, singer Jean Baylor, recently launched a new band called, appropriately enough, The Baylor Project.
In the third clip, there's an interview with Mark Colenburg, who currently drums with the talked-about pianist Robert Glasper and is featured on Glasper's new album Black Radio, Volume 2. Colenburg also has worked with hip-hop and R&B performers such as Common, Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, and Erykah Badu as well as jazz players including Chico Freeman, Stefon Harris, George Coleman, and more.
Then in video number four, Kimberly Thompson plays a solo as part of her appearance at the 2011 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Thompson first came to wide attention as a member of pop singer Beyonce's all-female band, and subsequently has branched out into songwriting and production as well as working with Mike Stern, Jay-Z, Wallace Roney, Meshell N'Degeocello, Richard Bona, Jason Moran, and numerous others.
The fifth clip features Terreon Gully, who was part of the acclaimed music program at East St. Louis High School and has gone on to play with singer Dianne Reeves, bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist Ron Blake, vibraphonists Stefon Harris and Joe Locke, and many others. Gully is seen here in a gig a couple of years ago with Locke's band in Italy, trading fours with the leader and pianist Robert Rodriguez.
Montez Coleman, who's seen in the sixth clip, can still be heard performing in St. Louis with some regularity, as the East St. Louis HS grad lives here when not on the road with the likes of trumpeter Roy Hargrove (with whom he spent nearly five years) or the legendary pianist McCoy Tyner. Coleman is seen here during a gig with Hargrove's quintet in October 2010 at Macc Jazz Maastricht in the Netherlands.You can catch him around town working with saxophonist Willie Akins and guitarist Eric Slaughter and sometimes leading Tuesday night jam sessions at Herbie's Vintage 72 in the Central West End.
Last but not least, we'd be remiss not to mention Charles "Bobo" Shaw, whose work was foundational to the funky yet free sounds of Black Artists Group, Human Arts Ensemble, Lester Bowie and others. After recording and touring prolifically during the 1970s and 1980s, Shaw has maintained a much lower public profile in recent years, but turned up in St. Louis a couple of years ago for a performance for the Nu-Art Series at the Metropolitan Gallery. That concert, with fellow drummers Jerome "Scrooge" Harris, Gary Sykes, and Johnny Johnson, is excerpted in the seventh and final clip.
One last thing: As the presence of Harris, Sykes and Johnson in the last clip suggests, the pool of drumming talent from St. Louis is by no means limited to the seven musicians featured today. For example, there's U. City native Ronnie Burrage, who certainly belongs on any list of notable St. Louis drummers thanks to his work with Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Archie Shepp, Bowie, Hamiet Bluiett, and many others. He was featured here previously in a video showcase post of his own back in 2011. Which St. Louis drummers will be the next to step into the national spotlight? Please use the comments to share your opinion.
According to said email, The Wee Trio, with St. Louis native Dan Loomis on bass, will be coming back to town in April to celebrate the release of their album recorded earlier this year at the Bistro, and trumpeter Terell Stafford(pictured) will close out the 2013-14 season in May by serving as special guest for a weekend of perofrmances with students from Jazz St. Louis' JazzU program.
As for local players, bassist Jahmal Nichols and singer/guitarist Tommy Halloran have been booked to make their Bistro debuts as bandleaders, and several other hometown favorites will make return appearances there during the winter and spring. Here's the schedule of additional concerts as currently listed by Metrotix.
Friday, January 17 & Saturday, January 18: Jahmal Nichols CD Release Saturday, March 1: Willie Akins & Dave Venn Friday, March 14 & Saturday, March 15: Phil Dunlap Quintet plays the music of Miles Davis Friday, March 28 & Saturday, March 29:Jim Stevens & Good 4 the Soul play the music of David Sanborn Friday, April 11 & Saturday, April 12: The Wee Trio CD Release Event celebrating Live at the Bistro Tuesday, April 22: SIUE Concert Jazz Band/Alumni Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26: Tommy Halloran's Guerilla Swing Friday, May 9 & Saturday, May 10: "Great Guitars 2014" with Shaun Robinson & Eric Slaughter Friday, May 23 & Saturday, May 24: JazzU with Terrell Stafford
All the performers will play sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., except for the SIUE Concert Jazz Band, who will play one show at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket prices are $5 for Terell Stafford and JazzU; $15 for the SIUE Concert Jazz Band; $25 for The Wee Trio, Akins & Venn, and Jim Stevens' Sanborn tribute; and $20 for all other performances. Tickets for all shows go on sale at 10:00 a.m. next Monday, December 2 via Metrotix.
Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:
* News comes this week of a fund-raising campaign on behalf of pianist and Maplewood native Ray Kennedy(pictured), brother of bassist Tom Kennedy and formerly part of John Pizzarelli's band.
After being diagnosed with the neuro-muscular disease MS a few years ago, Ray Kennedy's condition now has progressed to the point where he no longer is able to perform and earn a living. As a result, friends and fans have set up a fund to assist with medical expenses and support for his family, which includes two young daughters. You can find out more about Ray Kennedy and make a contribution here.
* On a similar note, today's St. Louis Beacon has an article by Terry Perkins about the efforts to help another former St. Louisan, nonagenarian trumpeter Clark Terry, remain in his home by assisting with the cost of his daily home care visits.
* In this week's Miles Davis news, the CD box-set reissue of Davis' Original Mono Recordings for Columbia/Legacy was reviewed by Music and More blogger Tim Niland, and an article by Sonia Saraiya for the AV Club examines the contrast between Davis' musical excellence and his history of spousal abuse.
* If you're a musician or artist looking for help getting health insurance and understanding the Affordable Care Act, the St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) and the Community Action Agency of St. Louis (CAASTL) will be offering free, in-person guidance from trained certified application counselors from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 11 at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar.
The one-on-one sessions are designed to provide unbiased information and de-mystify the Healthcare.gov enrollment process so you can compare plan prices and coverage details and see if you qualify for subsidies. Appointments will be made on a first -come, first-served basis, and reservations are required. To make an appointment, please send an email including your name and phone number to vlaa at stlrac dot org.
* Jazz radio update: The weekend lineup on WSIE (88.7 FM) now includes "Saturday Night at The Chase Park-Plaza," a weekly broadcast of music from singers of the 1960s and 1970s featuring selections drawn from vinyl albums in the WSIE vault. The program, hosted by Evan Johnson, Kelly Hoffman and John Uzell, airs from 7:00 p.m to 10:00 p.m..
This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" delves into the Cole Porter songbook with tracks from singer Dianne Reeves, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and trumpeter Wallace Roney. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.