Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Jazz this week: Freddy Cole & Houston Person, Arturo Sandoval & Jane Monheit, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes two shows featuring two visiting headliners for the price of one, plus a Middle Eastern instrumental virtuoso and the usual assortment of performances in various styles from our hometown's own.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, October 23
Pianist and singer Freddy Cole and his quintet with special guest saxophonist Houston Person (pictured, top left) will perform for the first of five nights continuing through Sunday at Jazz St. Louis.

Cole, the brother of the legendary Nat "King" Cole, shares his late sibling's general air of suavity and his good taste in songs and musicians, but has established his own identity as a performer, as defiantly noted in his original song "I'm Not My Brother, I'm Me." Person, a veteran steeped in bebop, blues and ballads, seems a fine match for Cole, as both not only are of the same generation but share an old-school musical sensibility.

Also in Grand Center, this week's "Wednesday Night Jazz Crawl" includes pianist Ethan Leinwand at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session hosted by bassist Bob DeBoo, and singer Erika Johnson, debuting her new organ trio at The Dark Room.

Thursday, October 24
Guitarist Brian Vaccaro leads a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, and keyboardist Andrew Stephen returns to The Dark Room.

Friday, October 25
Guitarist Dave Black, recovered from a serious cycling accident this summer that took him out of action for a couple of month, plays solo at The Dark Room; and Iraqi-American oud player Rahim Al Haj brings his trio, plus guest pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson, to the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Also on Friday, the Ambassadors of Swing play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and the Oîkos Ensemble teams up with SkyStone Conservatory Dance Ensemble and the Logos Readers for "Earth Walk Returns," a multi-disciplinary performance at the First Congregational Church of Webster Groves.

October 26
The annual "Friends of the Sheldon Benefit" features trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, his band, and guest singer Jane Monheit (pictured, bottom left) in a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Sandoval, the Cuban-born protege of Dizzy Gillespie turned multiple Grammy Award winner, certainly can bring the pyrotechnics on trumpet when the situation calls for it, while Monheit belongs in any discussion of the top women jazz singers working today.

Both usually headline their own shows, though they have done some select gigs in this configuration, and so it should be interesting to hear what musical ground brings them together, and how they choose to navigate it.  You can see some recent performances by Sandoval on video in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, The Gaslight Squares return to the Frisco Barroom.

Sunday, October 27
Miss Jubilee performs for jazz brunch at Evangeline's; and bassist Ben Wheeler’s Sketchbook plays an evening concert at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Monday, October 28
Dizzy Atmosphere plays vintage swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck, and pianist Kim Portnoy leads a big band playing original works in a concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster University campus.

Elsewhere around town, the Folk School of KDHX has moved their Traditional Jazz Jam Session to Monday nights, and made it a weekly event.

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, October 20, 2019

Sunday Session: October 20, 2019

Nat "King" Cole
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Remembering the Weirdest Album Launch Stunts of the 2010s (
* Frank Zappa Marks 50th Anniversary of ‘Hot Rats’ With Massive Reissue (Rolling Stone)
* Jazz legend John Surman on a well-travelled career and why he's angry about Brexit (Irish Examiner)
* “It Was Beyond My Wildest Dreams” Pianist Ahmad Jamal Recalls ‘At The Pershing’ (
* Percussionist Adam Rudolph Crafts a Tapestry of Sounds (DownBeat)
* Diverse Curation Sustains Belgrade Jazz Festival (DownBeat)
* Art Blakey: Praise the Messenger (Jazz Times)
* Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Reveals 2020 Nominees: Soundgarden, Whitney Houston & More (Billboard)
* Steve Miller cracked the code of 1970s radio. But he’s still raging against the music industry (Washington Post)
* Why Everything Is Getting Louder (The Atlantic)
* What will a music company look like in 2025? (
* INTERVIEW: Morton Subotnick And Lillevan (
* Finalists Announced in 8th Annual Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition (DownBeat)
* Why MLK Believed Jazz Was the Perfect Soundtrack for Civil Rights (
* Before & After: Leon Parker (Jazz Times)
* Oscar nom, opera at the Met, a move to L.A.: New Orleans trumpeter Terence Blanchard's big year (
* What lost photos of Blue Notes say about South Africa’s jazz history (
* How ‘Almost Famous’ Foretold the Future of Music Journalism (
* The Transformative Power of Nat ‘King’ Cole (DownBeat)
* An actual bear broke into a woman’s house and started playing piano (
* Matana Roberts’s Memphis (
* The Tragic Story of America’s First Black Music Star (Smithsonian)
* ECM Records: Curating A New World Of Music (
* Ronnie Scott’s at 60 (
* Humanity is Not an Algorithm: What We Lose with WNYC’s Cancellation of New Sounds (
* How Liverpool’s first girl band dubbed ‘the female Beatles’ had run-in with John Lennon (

Saturday, October 19, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Arturo Sandoval

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who will perform with his band and vocalist Jane Monheit for the annual "Friends of the Sheldon" benefit next Saturday, October 26 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. It will be Sandoval's first local appearance since a weekend in October 2017 at Jazz St. Louis; Monheit last performed here in November of that year, also at Jazz St. Louis.

Born in Cuba, the 69-year-old Sandoval first gained recognition in the USA in the late 1970s as a member of Cuban jazz-fusion band Irakere. Around that same time, he met fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, who became a friend, mentor, and eventually, employer of Sandoval via Diz's United Nations Orchestra.

Thanks in part to Gillespie's mentorship, Sandoval's solo career took off, resulting in offers to record in the USA and tour around the world. He eventually defected to the United States in 1990 while touring with Gillespie, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1998.

In all, Sandoval has released more than 30 recordings as a bandleader, and continues to tour regularly, playing jazz and occasional symphonic gigs, as well as scoring films. He's won a total of ten Grammy Awards to date, plus a Presidential Medal of Freedom and many other honors.

You can see and hear various aspects of the trumpeter's musical personality in today's collection of videos, starting up top with a version of the venerable standard "Peanut Vendor" recorded in 2017 at the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia.

After the jump, there are two clips recorded in November 2017 at the studios of KNKX radio in Tacoma, WA, as Sandoval performs "Here's That Rainy Day" and "Soca Beat."

Next, you can see two videos of Sandoval last year at the Jazz Trumpet Festival in Brazil, performing his mentor Gillespie's signature song "A Night In Tunisia" and "Funky Cha-Cha" with the Speaking Jazz Big Band.

The final video shows Sandoval in June of this year performing his second original trumpet concerto with the Prague National Orchestra.

For more about Arturo Sandoval, read his May 2019 interview with, and listen to his 2018 interview with KIOS radio in Omaha, and his September 2019 interview on the "Get Happy with Dr. Marissa" podcast.

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

Friday, October 18, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Guitarist Eddie Roberts (pictured) of The New Mastersounds, who will perform tomorrow night at Atomic Cowboy Pavilion, was interviewed by KDHX's Chris Lawyer.

* Saxophonist David Sanborn was a guest Tuesday morning on KMOX's Charlie Brennan program, and was interviewed about his performance tonight at The Sheldon.

* The collaborative production of "Such Sweet Thunder" staged earlier this month in Grand Center, which featured music from the Jazz St. Louis Big Band, was reviewed on HEC-TV's Two on the Aisle.

* Stanley Nelson, director of the new documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, was interviewed by Arts Today magazine.

* On a related note, the latest reviews of Nelson's film include pieces by Adam Sieff of London Jazz News and Josh Terry for Deseret News.

* Also on the Miles Davis beat, Jazz Times magazine is conducting a reader giveaway, offering a package of Davis-related prizes including a copy of his new album Rubberband, a T-shirt, and more. You can enter the giveaway here.

* Finally, an article on the website Something Else! looks back and asks, "50 Years Ago: Who Tried to Kill Miles Davis on a New York City Street?"

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Nu-Art Series returning with poet Gerald Nicosia, River City Sound Clinic on Saturday, November 2 at Kranzberg Arts Center

Trumpeter and impresario George Sams' Nu-Art Series is returning to action next month with "Jazz n' Tongues: Musical Improvisation to the poetry of Gerald Nicosia," which will be presented at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, November 2 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

The event, which is presented in conjunction with the St. Louis University music department, is free and open to the public. It will feature Sams and Nicosia (pictured) plus an ensemble of St. Louis improvising musicians dubbed the River City Sound Clinic, including cellist Tracy Andreotti, violinist Alyssa Avery, percussionist Henry Claude, clarinetist Eric Mandat, pianist Greg Mills, bassist Darrell Mixon, and saxophonist Aaron Parker.

Gerald Nicosia, who lives in Marin County, CA, is a poet, critic, and writer best known as the author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac; a historian of the Beats, the Sixties, and the Vietnam War; and the author of the 2001 book Home to War, about the experiences of Vietnam veterans returning to the US. His fourth and most recent collection of poetry, Night Train to Shanghai, was published in 2014 by Grizzly Peak Press.

As for the Nu-Art Series, Sams tells StLJN that he's got more events planned for the 2019-20 presenting season, most notably a residency and concert by trumpeter Eddie Henderson in the spring. Watch this space for more details as they become available...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Jazz this week: David Sanborn, Norman Brown's "Summer Storm," The New Mastersounds, Diego Figueiredo, and more

It's a jam-packed week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with notable shows including a homecoming for one of our city's favorite sons, plus sounds from a visiting Broadway star, a British funk band, a Brazilian guitarist, and much more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, October 16
Singer and actress Rachel Bay Jones, known as one of the stars of the Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen, performs for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis as part of their series of co-presentations with Cabaret Project of St. Louis.

Nearby in Grand Center, the weekly "Wednesday Night Jazz Crawl" features Sweet & Low (guitarists Adam Wilke and Celia Shacklett) at The Stage at KDHX; the jam session hosted by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center; and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, October 17
Guitarist Bob Lanzetti of Snarky Puppy will perform at Pop's Blue Moon; and the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a free concert of Argentinian and Brazilian music, featuring pianist Ken Kehner, guitarist William Lenihan, bassist Joseph Lepore, and drummer Steve Davis with Amy Greenhalgh (violin), Ranya Iqbal (cello), and Victoria Voumard (viola).

Also on Thursday, saxophonist Andy Ament leads a trio at The Pat Connolly Tavern, and keyboardist Ryan Marquez returns to The Dark Room.

Friday, October 18
Saxophonist David Sanborn (pictured, top left) will be back home again for a performance at The Sheldon, helping to celebrate the completion and official debut of a plaza, walkway and vertical garden on the west side of the hall.

Also on Friday, Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo (pictured, center left) will perform with backing from bassist and singer Janet Evra's quartet at the Grandel Theatre; and Jazz St. Louis will be "Celebrating Ella Fitzgerald" for the first of two nights with singer Anita Jackson, pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson, bassist Jahmal Nichols, drummer Montez Coleman and saxophonist Ben Reece.

Elsewhere around town, the Original Knights of Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; singer Jan Shapiro returns to the Ozark Theatre; and trumpeter Jim Manley will play a late evening gig at Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club.

Saturday, October 19
British funk/jazz group The New Mastersounds (pictured, bottom left) returns for a performance at the Atomic Cowboy Pavilion.

They're celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band with a new album, Shake It, released last month, and a tour featuring guest vocalist Lamar Williams, Jr. For more about Shake It plus some videos of recent performances, take a look at this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Norman Brown and his "Summer Storm" show, featuring saxophonist Euge Groove, singer Lindsay Webster, and the Coleman Hughes Project, will play two shows at the Grandel Theatre; pianist Geoffrey Keezer leads a trio in a concert at Open Studio in Grand Center's Centene Center for the Arts; and the New Orleans Suspects are back in town to play at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

Sunday, October 20
Miss Jubilee performs for jazz brunch at Evangeline's, while guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran returns to The Dark Room.

Also on Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents the Arcadia Dance Orchestra at the Moolah Shrine Center's Oasis Room.

Tuesday, October 21
Pianist and singer Jesse Gannon plays at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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, October 13, 2019

Sunday Session: October 13, 2019

Art Blakey
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Ain’t No Limitations: The Soul Rebels pave the roads and knock down the doors (Offbeat)
* Are Albums Dying? ⁠— 15% of Music Fans Under 25 Have Never Listened to a Full Album (
* Harry Nilsson’s Animated Film ‘The Point!’ Gets 50th Anniversary Digital Release (Rolling Stone)
* Remembering Ginger Baker (DownBeat)
* Ginger Baker: A Jazz Drummer With a Rock Reputation (Billboard)
* Bill Frisell Remembers Ginger Baker: ‘Nobody Sounded Like That’ (Rolling Stone)
* Ginger Baker’s Best: A Deep Dive Into the Late Drummer’s Hidden Gems (Listen) (Variety)
* Cold Gettin’ Dub: Rap 12"s and the Forgotten Artform of Bonus Beats (
* Sean Jones: A Challenging Life (Jazz Times)
* John Anderson, World's Greatest Soul Record Dealer, Is Dead (The Daily Beast)
* Live Review: 2019 Monterey Jazz Festival (Jazz Times)
* A new ‘Porgy and Bess’ raises old questions about race and opera (
* An AJMF Conversation with Jimmy Heath (
* Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood: 'Instead of cocaine, hook me up with a recorder group!' (The Guardian)
* Cut Your Own Vinyl Records With This $1,100 Machine (Wired)
* On ‘Fly Or Die II,’ Jaimie Branch Lets the Music Breathe (DownBeat)
* Deutsches Jazzfestival Frankfurt Celebrates 50 Years of Fruitful Collaborations (DownBeat)
* Art Blakey's Legacy: A Rallying Cry And A Gathering Place (NPR)

Saturday, October 12, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
"Shake It" with The New Mastersounds

This week, we're checking out some videos featuring The New Mastersounds, who will be coming to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, October 19 at the Atomic Cowboy Pavilion.

A funk/jazz quartet with a stripped-down sound that's been compared to the Meters, Booker T and the MGs, and St. Louis' own Grant Green, The New Mastersounds - guitarist and bandleader Eddie Roberts, drummer Simon Allen, bassist Pete Shand, and keyboardist Joe Tatton - last played here in May 2016, also at Atomic Cowboy.

This time around, they're celebrating their 20th year as a band, plus the release of a new album, Shake It, which came out in September on Roberts' new Color Red label. The new album and their current tour also are their first to feature vocalist Lamar Williams Jr. (whose dad played bass with the Allman Brothers Band and Sea Level).

You can see the Mastersounds with Williams in the first video up above, a mini-set recorded in May of this year at Paste Studio in NYC that features the songs "Let's Go Back," "Shake It" and "Love They Deserve."

After the jump, there's a full set of music, recorded in September at Terminal West in Atlanta, that includes all the songs from Shake It.

That's followed by another full set of music, recorded in July at Ardmore Music Hall in Philadelphia.

The last three videos depict live-in-the-studio performances that were part of the Mastersounds' immediately previous album The Nashville Sessions 2, released last November. Like the original Nashville Sessions album, it was recorded live-to-tape in a single session before a small audience at Welcome to 1979 Studios in Nashville, with the results including the tracks seen here, "Yokacoka," "All I Want (Right Now)" and "3 on the B."

For more about The New Mastersounds, check out Eddie Roberts' interview last year with and an interview he did around the same time with "The Sound Podcast with Ira Haberman."

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