Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jazz this week: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Hermann Wine & Jazz Festival, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a diverse lineup of shows featuring female vocalists, plus a free festival out in Missouri wine country, a return appearance from saxophonist/vocalist Karl Denson and band, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, August 15
Cabaret Project St. Louis presents this month's edition of what they're now calling the "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club in the .ZACK building in Grand Center.

Also on Wednesday, guitarist Joe Park leads a trio at Yaquis on Cherokee; Wright's Project returns to Al's Lounge; and the weekly, free "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features guitarist Travis Lewis leading a trio at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session hosted by bassist Bob DeBoo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter  Kasimu Taylor's band at The Dark Room.

Thursday, August 16
Singer Anita Jackson performs at 50/Fifty Kitchen; singer Cheri Evans and CEEJazzSoul are back at the Chase Club, and bassist Chano Cruz leads a trio at The Dark Room.

Friday, August 17
Saxophonist and singer Karl Denson brings his band Tiny Universe (pictured, top left) back to the Atomic Cowboy Pavilion, with opening sets from locals The Grooveliner and Brother Francis & The Soultones.

In addition to some funky favorites from their back catalog, you can expect to hear some material from KDTU's soon-to-be-released next album, as well as a few Allman Brothers covers. For more about the Allmans connection and some video samples from recent shows, check out this post from last Saturday.

Also on Friday, singer Denise Thimes, who relocated to Chicago earlier this year, is back home for the weekend and will sing the music of Roberta Flack for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Elsewhere around town, the Hard Bop Messengers will spread the gospel of Art Blakey at Evangeline's; trumpeter Jim Manley returns to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; and Focal Point begins a several-weeks-long slate of vintage jazz shows with at "Django Reinhardt Tribute" featuring guitarists Joe Park, Eric Slaughter, Gary Hunt, Paul Davis and John Miller.

Saturday, August 18
Singer and impresario Wendy Gordon presents "Jazz Heaven: Under The Rainbow II," the latest installment in her long-running series of tribute shows, with a cast including Jeanne Trevor (pictured, bottom left), Kim Fuller-Barnes, Dean Christopher, Eugene Johnson, and more, at the Florissant Civic Center Theater.

Also on Saturday, you can head west to wine country for the annual Hermann Wine & Jazz Festival, a free, day-long event featuring music from drummer Montez Coleman's quartet, SpaceShip, Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7, the Joe Mancuso Organ Trio, Bach to the Future and more at the Hermann Amphitheater.

Elsewhere around town, singer Feyza Eren will perform at Evangeline's; singer Mary Dyson returns to Troy's Jazz Gallery; and the Chicago Cellar Boys will be in town to play their brand of traditional jazz and swing at the Focal Point.

Sunday, August 19
Although Sunday's concert by trumpeter Herb Alpert and his wife, singer Lani Hall, at the Grandel Theatre has been sold out for several weeks now, you can catch guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran playing for brunch at The Dark Room, then check out an exhibit of some of Alpert's visual art in the Grandel lobby.

Elsewhere on Sunday, the Genesis Jazz Project returns to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; or if you're on the east side (or can get there), Miss Jubilee is playing a free, all-ages show at Bobby's Frozen Custard in Maryville.

Monday, August 20
Drummer Keith Bowman and his quartet continue their Monday night residency at The Dark Room.

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, August 12, 2018

Sunday Session: August 12, 2018

Jason Moran
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:

* Randy Weston: Music is Life Itself (New Music Box)
* Houston celebrates jazz legend Arnette Cobb’s 100th birthday with music (Houston Chronicle)
* The Weirdest Musical Instruments Ever (
* Alice Coltrane Concluded Trilogy with ‘Lord Of Lords’ (DownBeat)
* John Cage's ten rules for students and teachers (
* Wisdom from a Master (
* How music has responded to a decade of economic inequality (
* An Interview with Jason Moran (The Believer)
* Four Pro Tips For Touring With Paul Simon (Billboard)
* These tiny, stretchy speakers and microphones let your skin play music (Science)
* These LA Artists Are Keeping Jazz Raw as Hell (
* The Rise and Decline of Guitarist Emily Remler (Jazz Times)
* Musicians Only Get 12 Percent of the Money the Music Industry Makes (Rolling Stone)
* 2018 Newport Jazz Festival: Special Recap (Jazz Times)
* Warner Music Group Sells Its Entire Stake in Spotify (Variety)
* Henry Threadgill’s sonic worlds (
* 'Hipster kryptonite': will CDs ever have a resurgence? (The Guardian)
* The Band's Robbie Robertson Looks Back On 50 Years Of 'Music From Big Pink' (NPR)
* This Band Launched a Business Writing Theme Songs for Tech Companies (Time)
* The Strange David and Goliath Saga of Radio Frequencies (Wired)
* Coming of Age in the Loft Jazz Scene (New York Times)
* In Various Constructs: Remembering Cecil Taylor (Viewpoint)
* The 50 most influential dance music albums of all time (
* Ghost Man at the Player Piano (
* Delayed Trane: John Coltrane’s Lost Album (Jazz Times)
* Jazz em Agosto Spotlights Zorn’s Panoramic Work (DownBeat)
* Q&A with Chris Potter: Crossing Currents with Dave Holland and Zakir Hussain (Jazziz)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Karl Denson's Tiny Universe

This week, let's check out some videos featuring saxophonist and vocalist Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Friday, August 17 at the Atomic Cowboy Pavilion.

KDTU, as they're known to fans, last played here in July 2017 at the same venue. Since then, Denson went to Europe with the Rolling Stones - he's been part of their touring band since 2016 - and KDTU did a series of shows paying tribute to the Allman Brothers Band under the name "Karl Denson's Tiny Universe presents Eat A Bunch of Peaches."

Here in St. Louis, KDTU will be playing material from their forthcoming studio album, plus some music from their back catalog and, more than likely, a few tunes from the Allman tribute as well.

You can see them perform some of those songs today's collection of videos, though the first clip up above is of "Everybody Knows That," a tune from their 2014 album New Ammo, as performed in April of this year on Adult Swim's FishCenter. (Why KDTU appeared on what's billed as "the world’s only LIVE marine-themed, call-in show" is an exercise left to the reader.)

After the jump, you can see some examples of their tribute to the Allmans, in the form of covers of "One Way Out," recorded last November, and "Whipping Post," from this year's Telluride Jazz Festival, followed by a full set of ABB songs recorded in April of this year at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta.

If you're in the mood for more after that, you can check two more full sets from 2017, recorded at Levitt Pavilion in Denver and Ardmore Music Hall in Philadephia.

For more about Karl Denson and Tiny Universe, read Denson's interview with the Telluride News and a feature story about the band published on

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

Friday, August 10, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Veteran drummer Gary Sykes, who currently plays with pianist Ptah Williams' trio, the STL Free Jazz Collective, and others, continues to face some serious health issues, most recently making a trip this week to St. Mary's Hospital to have two stents installed.

While Sykes said in a Facebook post that he's feeling better post-surgery, the GoFundMe page to raise money to help with expenses while he's unable to work is still active. Find out more and, if you wish, donate here.

* Singer Valerie Kirchhoff and pianist Ethan Leinwand of Miss Jubilee (pictured) were guests on a recent episode of Rock Paper Podcast.

* The Dark Room has begun live-streaming video of performances on their Facebook page, and archiving the streamed videos on a new YouTube channel.

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold was interviewed about his musical influences by Jamie Cullum for BBC Radio Two's "Take Five."

* Get It How You Live, the new album by trumpeter Russell Gunn's Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, was reviewed by DownBeat magazine.

* Guitarist Nels Cline was interviewed about his show tonight at Delmar Hall by the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson. (Link is to Google cache.)

* Also in the Post, Tower of Power saxophonist and bandleader Emilio Castillo was interviewed by P-D freelancer Daniel Durchholz. (Link is to Google cache.) TOP performs this Saturday, August 11 at River City Casino.

* Grant Green Jr. talks about his dad, St. Louis-born guitarist Grant Green, on the latest episode of the web series The Pace Report.

* Trumpeter and philanthropist Herb Alpert was interviewed by St. Louis Public Radio. While Alpert's concert with his wife, singer Lani Hall, on Sunday, August 19 at the Grandel Theatre already is sold out, some of his visual art will be on display at the Grandel from Friday, August 17 through Sunday, August 19.

An opening reception will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, August 17. The public also can view Alpert's abstract mixed-media paintings and large and small-scale bronze sculptures from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 18, and from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 19 before the concert and for 30 minutes after the show.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Jazz St. Louis expands Whitaker Jazz Speaks series for 2018-19 season

Clockwise from top left: Blackburn, Gioia, Kahn, Riccardi
Jazz St. Louis has expanded their "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series for the 2018-19 season, and will present seven different free programs during the year featuring an impressive lineup of authors and scholars.

Four of the events will be co-produced with local libraries, with the other three taking place at Jazz St. Louis' headquarters in Grand Center.

The series begins on Wednesday, September 12 downtown at the St. Louis Public Library's Central Branch auditorium with "The Crisis in Music," featuring author and critic Ted Gioia.

Gioia, whose books include The History of Jazz and Delta Blues, will discuss "disruptions that are changing -- and perhaps destroying -- the fragile music infrastructure in America" and "will provide predictions on how our songs and performances might change over the next ten years."

Next up is "1950: The Year Jazz Changed on Two Coasts," which will be presented by Marc Myers on Wednesday, October 10 at the Ferring Jazz Bistro in Grand Center. Myers, who blogs at, is a Wall Street Journal contributor, and the author of Why Jazz Happened, will discuss the development of West Coast and cool jazz, followed by a performance of Miles Davis’s complete Birth of the Cool and music from Dave Brubeck, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and Gerry Mulligan.

The final program of 2018 will feature author and NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead previewing his book Play the Way You Feel on Wednesday, November 14 at the St. Louis County Library's Grant's View Branch. The book "examines how fiction and biographical films from 1927 to 2016 tell stories about jazz music and musicians," with Whitehead’s talk focused on "screen representations of early jazz in such films, illustrated with clips from Birth of the Blues (1941) and Syncopation (1942)."

The new year starts with a program featuring Julia Blackburn, author of With Billie: A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day on Wednesday, February 13 at the St. Louis County Library headquarters. Blackburn will discuss her biography of Billie Holiday, which was compiled entirely from interviews with people who knew the singer, including "piano players and dancers, pimps and junkies, lovers and narcs, producers and critics, each recalling intimate stories of the great Lady Day."

The following month, the Jazz St. Louis Big Band and pianist Reggie Thomas will honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nat "King" Cole with a performance of music associated with the pianist and vocalist on Wednesday, March 20 at the Bistro.

Then in April, author Ashley Kahn will present "A Love Supreme: The Music and Message in John Coltrane's Magnum Opus" on Wednesday, April 10 at the St. Louis Public Library's Schlafly Branch auditorium. Kahn, who has written books about both A Love Supreme and Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, will conduct "a deep dive into the mind and process of the man that gave us one of the most important recordings in jazz."

The final program of the 2018-19 season will feature Ricky Riccardi, author and director of research collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, on Wednesday, April 17 at the Bistro. Riccardi will discuss Armstrong's early works, focusing on his Hot 5 and Hot 7 ensembles, followed by a performance of some of the most famous material from those two bands.

All the Whitaker Jazz Speaks programs begin at 7:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public, but because of limited seating capacity, RSVPs are requested for the three programs held at the Bistro. For more information or to reserve a spot, visit the series page on the JSL website

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Jazz this week: Nels Cline 4, Tower of Power, free outdoor concerts, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis is somewhat busier than usual for late summer, with a couple of significant touring acts in town as well as a number of noteworthy shows from the hometown contingent.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, August 8
This week's free "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" will feature bassist Guy Cantonwine and Willem von Hombracht doing duets at The Stage at KDHX; the jam session led by bassist Bob DeBoo at the Kranzberg Arts Center; and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's band at The Dark Room.

Thursday, August 9
Miss Jubilee and The Gaslight Squares will play traditional jazz and swing on a double-bill at Joe's Cafe, and Dean Christopher will bring his "Rat Pack and More" show to 50/Fifty Kitchen.

Also on Thursday, saxophonist Dave Stone's plays at Element Restaurant and Lounge, and trumpeter Keith Moyer's quartet returns to The Dark Room.

Friday, August 10
The Nels Cline 4, featuring Cline (pictured, top left) and fellow guitarist Julian Lage, performs at Delmar Hall. Touring in support of their recent Blue Note album Currents, Constellations, they're getting good notices both for the recording and for their live shows, which feature plenty of interplay between the two star guitarists. You can see some samples of recent performances on video in this post from two Saturdays ago.

Also on Friday, drummer Montez Coleman will celebrate his birthday with the first of two nights of performances at Jazz St. Louis, and you can take in one of three free outdoor concerts, as the Funky Butt Brass Band plays for the "Ferguson CityWalk" at Plaza At 501; The Bosman Twins perform at the Dellwood Recreation Center, and Miss Jubilee will provide the music for the St. Louis Zoo's "Jungle Boogie".

Saturday, August 11
Celebrating 50 years of the "Oakland Stroke" and supporting a new album release with a summer tour, the singular funk band Tower of Power (pictured, bottom left) stops in St. Louis for a show at the River City Casino Event Center. 

You can see some previous performances from the 50th anniversary tour and more in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, keyboardist Marvin Cockrell and Focus play smooth jazz, R&B and more at the Grandel Theatre, and the Joe Bozzi Band returns to Evangeline's.

Elsewhere around town, The Wire Pilots wll play original jazz, fusion and world music at the Ozark Theatre, and percussionist Herman Semidey and his Orquestra son Montuno will make their debut at Club Diamonds.

Sunday, August 12
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents Red Lehr & the St. Louis Rivermen playing traditional jazz at the  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport.

Monday, August 13
Dizzy Atmosphere performs Gypsy jazz and swing for diners at The Shaved Duck.

Tuesday, August 14
Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo and her band host "The Tuesday Night Hit" at The Dark Room.

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, August 05, 2018

Sunday Session: August 5, 2018

Gregory Porter
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:

* Sax player Charles Lloyd, Newport Jazz Festival’s artist-in-residence, is a ‘bluesman on a spiritual path’ (Providence Journal)
* A jazz legend’s Philadelphia home fading away (WHYY)
* Jazz.FM workers say the CEO harassed them. Now, they’re accused of plotting a coup (Toronto Star)
* The Top 10 Jazz Album Covers of All Time (Jazz Times)
* Where are musicians making money these days? On the road — and that’s about it (
* Why young people have fallen in love with jazz (The Telegraph)
* Lost Neil Young, Joni Mitchell Concert Recordings From 1968 Unearthed (Rolling Stone)
* Trumpeter Tomasz Stańko Dies at 76 (Jazz Times)
* Tomasz Stanko, A Trumpeter Whose Music Spoke To Freedom, Has Died (NPR)
* Gregory Porter: Soul Connections (
* Jazz and Pop Worlds Collide in Molde (DownBeat)
* How we made Steppenwolf's Born to Be Wild (The Guardian)
* Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios set to close in September (
* French Media Giant Vivendi Announces Plans To Sell As Much As Half Of Universal Music (NPR)
* Watch out Billboard: Variety and Rolling Stone owner buys into Nielsen rival BuzzAngle for ‘aggressive’ music charts push (
* Bettye Lavette: Soul Survivor (Rolling Stone)
* The Alphabet Of Dewey Johnson 1939–2018 (The Wire)
* What’s Behind the New Jazz Resurgence? (Rolling Stone)
* The Rolling Stones curate album of inspirational blues classics (
* Are Record Labels Facing an A&R Crisis? (Music Industry Blog)
* Reclaiming The Rhyme: How Black Women and Latinas Have Reshaped Pop Music (NPR)
* How Carol Kaye Became the Most Prolific Session Musician in History (
* Broken Time - “Nardis” and the Curious History of a Jazz Obsession (The Believer)
* BeatCaffeine’s 100 Best Jazz-Funk Songs (
* As Umbria Jazz Marks 45 Years, as Quincy, Iverson Evolve (DownBeat)
* Alan Braufman, Cooper-Moore, and Nabil Ayers: Return to the Valley (
* Work, Money Worries Leave Many Musicians Singing the Blues (
* Newport Festivals Sign 25-Year Agreement (Jazz Times)
* How Steely Dan Went Through Seven Guitarists and Dozens of Hours of Tape to Get the Perfect Guitar Solo on “Peg” (

Saturday, August 04, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
50 years of Tower of Power

This week, our video spotlight is focused on Tower of Power, who will be coming to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, August 11 at River City Casino.

Touring this summer to celebrate 50 years as a band and to support a newly released album called Soul Side of Town, TOP under the direction of co-founder and tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo has maintained its signature sound through dozens of personnel changes and shows no sign of slowing down.

You can see the current edition of the band in today's collection of videos, all but one of which come from the 50th anniversary tour. The first clip up above features a performance of the title track from Soul Side of Town, recorded in May for the BBC Two program Later… with Jools Holland.

After the jump, you can see three audience-made clips from the band's 50th anniversary shows presented the first weekend of June at the Fox Theater in their hometown of Oakland, CA: a medley of "What is Hip?" and "Soul Power"; the instrumental "Squib Cakes"; and a medley of "Do You Like That?" and "Drop It In The Slot."

That's followed by another medley, including "Soul with a Capital S," "You Ought To Be Having Fun," and "On The Soul Side Of Town," recorded in May in Tucson, AZ.

Last but not least, the final video offer a retrospective look at the band's past, documenting TOP's 40th anniversary show in 2008 in Oakland.

For more about Tower of Power and Soul Side of Town, read Castillo's interview with Billboard from April of this year; his interview published last week in Denver's Westword; and this review of a show in March in Lake Tahoe, NV.

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