Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Session: April 21, 2019

Branford Marsalis
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:

* Arturo O’Farrill’s ‘Fandango at the Wall’ Transcends Borders (
* 'People who sing it want the world to know they exist': 50 years of My Way (The Guardian)
* New Orleans trumpeter celebrates personal rebirth at French Quarter Festival (New Orleans Advocate)
* Best Jazz Albums: 50 Essentials You Need To Hear (
* Louis Armstrong: ‘more important than Picasso’ (Jazz Journal)
* Gerald Clayton Talks About Jazz and the Creative Process (San Francisco Classical Voice)
* Home Taping Is Killing Music: When the Music Industry Waged War on the Cassette Tape in the 1980s, and Punk Bands Fought Back (
* The Shape-Shifting Music of Tyshawn Sorey (The New Yorker)
* Icons: Michael Beinhorn is Preventing Bad Music by Promoting Pre-Production (
* A Visit to John Cage’s 639-Year Organ Composition (
* Chris Potter Has His ‘Circuits’ Rewired (DownBeat)
* Concord Jazz Festival Returns for 50th Anniversary (Jazz Times)
* The Crimson King Seeks a New Court (Rolling Stone)
* Stanley Crouch, Bob Dorough, Abdullah Ibrahim, Maria Schneider Honored at NEA Jazz Masters Tribute (DownBeat)
* How a world-renowned cellist used Bach to blast Trump (
* Branford Marsalis Discusses the Genre, Teaching Music and Getting Up Early (DownBeat)
* Why is jazz unpopular? The musicians 'suck', says Branford Marsalis (Sydney Morning Herald)
* Unplugged: Is the Guitar Solo Finished? (Rolling Stone)
* Impulse For Change: The Story Of Impulse! Records (
* Integral to Over a Century of Piano Culture, Steinway & Sons Looks to the Future (Billboard)
* 12 Women Influencing the Future of Jazz (Paste)
* Iyer, Taborn Build Something Majestic on New ECM Album (DownBeat)
* Space is the Place: an introduction to the music of jazz visionary Sun Ra (
* the musical genre is dead, gen z killed it (
* The All-Female Big Bands That Made History During World War II (NPR)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Boney James

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring saxophonist Boney James, who's coming to St. Louis to perform next Friday, April 26 at The Pageant.

Born in Massachusetts, James was raised in upstate New York,then Los Angeles, and attended UCLA, where he earned a degree in history. After graduating, he got into the music business in the mid-1980s as a sideman, playing saxophone and keyboards in support of R&B and funk performers including Morris Day, the Isley Brothers, Bobby Caldwell, Randy Crawford, Teena Marie, and others.

James released his first album as a leader on a small independent label in 1992, which led to him being signed to Warner Brothers records a couple of years later. His time at Warners established him as a headliner and festival and major venues in the USA and around the world, with three of his albums for the label earning gold records.

In all, James has put out 16 albums, the most recent being 2017's Honestly, and earned four Grammy nominations as well as a number of other awards along the way. He last performed here in St. Louis in July 2018 as part of the Gateway Jazz Festival at Chesterfield Amphitheater.

Though he's often categorized as a smooth jazz performer and his repertoire includes some obligatory slow jams, James' experiences in funk and R&B help make his music a bit grittier than many others in the genre. You can see and hear some of that in today's videos of recent live performances by James and his band, starting with the first clip up above, the set opener "Up All Night" as recorded last Sunday, April 14 at the Buffalo State Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, NY/

After the jump, you can see three more performances from that show, starting with "Butter," then "On The Prowl," and finally, an excerpt in which James fakes out the audience with a brief snippet of Grover Washington Jr.'s "Mister Magic," then segues directly into "Batucada," featuring a solo by drummer Omari Williams.

Next, there's a version of "Tick Tock," recorded in October 2018 at a show in Newport Beach, CA, followed by an extended excerpt from James' set at the 2017 San Diego Smooth Jazz Festival.

For more about Boney James and Honestly, read his 2018 interview with and his Q&A from 2017 with

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

Friday, April 19, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Pianist Peter Martin is doing an "Ask Me Anything" Q&A session at 2:00 p.m. Central time today (Friday, April 19) via the Facebook page of his company Open Studio.

* Singer Denise Thimes (pictured) has been chosen for the cast of The Black Rep's upcoming production of Nina Simone: Four Women, a play-with-music by Catherine Ham that will run Wednesday, May 15 through Sunday, June 2 at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus.

* Drummer and educator Bernard Long Jr. has received the St. Louis Suburban Music Educators Association Certificate of Merit Award for his work as band director at Normandy High School.

* Saxophonist Dave Stone's upcoming move to Oregon is detailed in a feature story by the Riverfront Times' G.M.H. Thompson. Stone's trio will play their final gig at their longtime home Mangia Italiano tonight.

* Bassist Bob DeBoo's recent serendipitous find of a sitar, seemingly in working condition, in an alley near his south St. Louis home is recounted in a brief St. Louis magazine feature by Thomas Crone.

* Pianist and St. Louis native Tom McDermott, who's made his home for many years in New Orleans, has a new album, Tom McDermott Meets Scott Joplin, out this month on the Arbors label.

* Last weekend's Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival was the subject of a story on the University of Missouri-St. Louis' official blog UMSL Daily.

* This year's local celebration of Record Store Day was spotlighted in a feature story by HEC-TV's George Sells.

* On The Corner Live! The Music of Miles Davis, the new release featuring an all-star band gathered by saxophonist and former Davis sideman Dave Liebman, was reviewed in Jazz Journal and Jazz Times.

* If you've been wondering what's happening with seemingly-defunct music festival LouFest's legal battle with their former sound and lighting contractors Logic Systems, there's an update via a story in the trade publication Projection Lighting and Staging News by St. Louis writer and musician Kevin Mitchell.

* The deadline for local student musicians in grades 6-12 to apply for Jazz St. Louis' JazzU program for the 2019-20 school year is next Friday April 26. Audition and application details are online at

* And in a related story, current JazzU student Joanna Serenko, a singer, guitarist and senior at Kirkwood High School, last week was announced as the winner of this year's St. Louis Teen Talent Competition sponsored by the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Jazz this week: Revisiting Louis Armstrong's early works, Julian Vaughn, a celebration of John Coltrane, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes events celebrating the music of two of the most important improvisers in jazz, an evening of smooth jazz in a historic concert venue, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, April 17
Jazz St. Louis ends their "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series for the 2018-19 season with a program about Louis Armstrong's Hot 5 and Hot 7, featuring a talk by noted Armstrong expert Ricky Riccardi followed by a live performance of some of the music recorded by the trumpeter's early groups.

Also on Wednesday, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra performs at the Ozark Theatre, and Cabaret Project of St. Louis presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" , relocated for this month only from Sophie's Artists Lounge to The Dark Room.

Thursday, April 18
The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University wraps up for the semester with a free concert featuring Wash U jazz performance students playing the music of Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Bill Evans and more.

Elsewhere around town, singer Erin Bode returns to Cyrano's, and saxophonist Andy Ament leads a trio at The Pat Connolly Tavern.

Friday, April 19
Bassist Julian Vaughn (pictured, top left) headlines a concert of smooth jazz at The Sheldon, with saxophonist Phil Denny and keyboardist Mark Harris II also on the bill.

Also on Friday, saxophonist Freddie Washington (pictured, bottom left) and pianist Adam Maness' trio will be "Celebrating Coltrane" for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis; and saxophonist Dave Stone plays the final gig of his long-running residency at Mangia Italiano before his upcoming move to Oregon.

Saturday, April 20
Keyboardist Mo Egeston and friends play the late show at The Dark Room.

Sunday, April 21
Miss Jubilee performs for brunch at Evangeline's, while singer and guitarist Tommy Halloran returns to The Dark Room.

Monday, April 22
The Webster University Jazz Singers, directed by Debby Lennon, will perform in their final concert of the semester at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

Tuesday, April 23
Dizzy Atmosphere plays vintage swing and Gypsy jazz at Evangeline's.

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, April 14, 2019

Sunday Session: April 14, 2019

Amina Claudine Myers
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:

* Nenette Evans: My Life With Bill (
* The Eclectic Mr. Klein (Jazz Times)
* Harold Danko: His Own Sound, His Own Time (
* ECM @ 50 (* “The most in depth concert in over 35 years”: Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck to reunite on stage (
* Ed Palermo Enjoys a ‘Lousy Day’ with New Album (DownBeat)
* Alan Lomax’s Massive Music Archive Is Online: Features 17,000 Historic Blues & Folk Recordings (
* Interview: Pianist Amina Claudine Myers (
* Knocking on doors in search of Philadelphia’s jazz history (WHYY)
* Jazz Heavyweights Herbie Hancock And Kamasi Washington Announce Joint Tour (NPR)
* Keystone Korner Club Revived in Baltimore (Jazz Times)
* Emmet Cohen Wins American Pianists Association Competition (DownBeat)
* Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks Dig Deep (DownBeat)
* George Benson talks back (Offbeat)
* Inside the Barry Harris Method (Jazz Times)
* Ambient in Outer Space: Seven Artists Exploring the Final Frontier (
* Works of Wadada Leo Smith Celebrated at Third CREATE Festival (DownBeat)
* Four-year legal battle over estate of legendary blues musician Muddy Waters continues in DuPage courtroom (Chicago Tribune)
* AIM’s Gee Davy on the future of generative Artificial Intelligence in music (
* Angel of Harlem: How a patron saint to a forgotten generation of musicians came to face her greatest challenge yet (ABC News)
* Space for the Wrong: An Interview with Frederic Rzewski (
* Jazzman Dave Douglas finds inspiration in Dizzy Gillespie (Houston Chronicle)
* Hi-Fi Cocktail Bars Aren’t Just for Tokyo Anymore (
* Holographic Frank Zappa Plays Guitar Solo in New Tour Promo (Rolling Stone)
* Berklee's Institute Of Jazz And Gender Justice Aims To Combat Sexism In Jazz (WBUR)
* The Songsmiths of Sesame Street (The Atlantic)
* Spotify, the Decline of Playlists and the Rise of Podcasts (Music Industry Blog)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The percussive prowess of Pedrito Martinez

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martinez, who's coming to St. Louis to perform Wednesday, April 24 through Sunday, April 28 at Jazz St. Louis.

Martinez, 45, was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where he learned to play popular Cuban styles as well as Afro-Cuban folkloric and religious music on a variety of percussion instruments. He came to the U.S. from Havana in 1998, and over the past 20 years has compiled an extensive resume of credits with well-known musicians in several genres.

In all, Martinez has contributed to more than 50 recordings as well as live performances by jazz musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D'Rivera, Steve Turre, Bill Summers, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, Brian Lynch, Stefon Harris, Jane Bunnett, Eliane Elias, Stefon Harris, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Conrad Herwig, Eddie Palmieri, Esperanza Spalding, and Los Hombres Calientes.

He's also lent his talents to rock and pop performers including Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Sting, Angélique Kidjo, Edie Brickell, Rubén Blades, and Elton John. Before starting his own group, Martinez was a founding member of the band Yerba Buena, which released albums in 2003 and 2005, and he's also is a member of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nuevo Jazz Latino program.

More recently, Martinez earlier this year teamed up with pianist and fellow Cuban Alfredo Rodriguez on an album called Duologue, a collaboration that actually got started here in St. Louis when the two played a duo gig in February 2017 at Jazz St. Louis. That was Martinez's second gig at the Bistro, having previously brought his group here for a two-night stand in May 2015.

The Pedrito Martinez Group, which began in in 2005, has put out two albums to date, releasing their first recording in 2013, and the follow-up Habana Dreams in 2016. Along with Martinez on percussion and lead vocals, the group includes Sebastian Natal on bass and vocals, Jhair Sala on percussion and vocals, and Issac Delgado Jr. on keyboards and vocals.

You can see and hear them in action in the first video up above, an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert recorded just a couple of months ago.

After the jump, you can see and hear three selections recorded in 2018 at Galeria Cafe Libro in Bogota, Colombia: "La Luna," "Amor de Mi Vida" and "Yo Si Quiero Estar Contigo."

Next up is a video performance of "Recuerdos," recorded in August 2018 at a gig in Bologna, Italia.

Finally, you can get a close-up look at some of Martinez' techniques via a brief instructional video released earlier this year by The Drum Channel.

For more about Pedro Martinez, read his 2016 interviews with and Billboard.

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

Friday, April 12, 2019

Sheldon Concert Hall announces
schedule for 2019-20 season

The Sheldon Concert Hall's just-announced 2019-20 season will include four concerts featuring touring artists in a newly renamed "Rhythm and Jazz" series, plus various local jazz performers as part of its mid-week "coffee concerts" and Saturday matinee series.

Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (pictured) will be the first jazz artist to perform next year, kicking off the series with a concert on Saturday, October 5.

Salvant will be followed by the NYC-based band Mwenso & the Shakes with guest singers Brianna Thomas and Vuyo Sotashe and dancer Michela Marino Lerman on Saturday, November 9.

Though perhaps not as well-known as many of the other acts booked for next year, the Shakes have earned a following in New York with late night sessions at Dizzy's in Jazz at Lincoln Center featuring a mix of jazz, blues, R&B, and other genres.

After that, the new year will bring pianist Christian Sands’ trio in a tribute to Errol Garner on Saturday, February, followed by the SFJAZZ Collective, who will perform on Saturday, March 14 with a program drawing on music from two albums released 50 years ago, Miles Davis' In a Silent Way and Sly and the Family Stone's Stand.

The current edition of the Collective's ever-evolving lineup includes trumpeter Etienne Charles, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Edward Simon, guitarist Adam Rogers, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Obed Calvaire, plus vocalist Martin Luther McCoy.

The Sheldon's mid-morning "coffee concerts" for the 2019-20 season will include singer Kim Fuller and pianist Carolbeth True on Tuesday, October 5 and Wednesday October 17; guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran’s Guerilla Swing on Tuesday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 13; pianist Adam Maness' trio doing a tribute to Dave Brubeck on Tuesday, January 28 and Wednesday, January 29; and non-subscription performances by Miss Jubilee on Tuesday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 22.

The Saturday matinee series will offer performances by singer Feyza Eren in a Valentine's Day themed show on Saturday, February 13, and The 442s on Saturday, May 9.

Finally, programs designated as "special concerts" will include the annual Friends of the Sheldon Benefit, which will feature trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and singer Jane Monheit on Saturday, October 26; and a performance by The 442s on Wednesday, October 30.

Subscription tickets for the Sheldon's various 2019-20 series will go on sale next month, with single tickets for most concerts available starting at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 10 via Metrotix.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold was among the featured performers at "A Great Night in Harlem," held recently at the Apollo Theater to honor singers Harry Belafonte and Tony Bennett and to raise funds for the Jazz Foundation of America. DownBeat's article about the evening includes a quote from Harrold, who, along with fellow trumpeter Wallace Roney, performed "Grazing In The Grass" as a tribute to the late Hugh Masekela.

* Harrold also has been tapped as a member of New Masters, “a rotating ensemble of today’s leading, up-and-coming and established jazz musicians” assembled by Sony Music Masterworks to record jazz interpretations of contemporary hits "originally performed by the likes of Cardi B, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and SZA."

The group, which also includes pianist Sullivan Fortner, drummer Eric Harland, guitarist Gilad Hekselman, bassist Burniss Earl Travis, saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins and percussionist Bashiri Johnson, will release their debut album ReWORKS Volume 1 on Friday, July 12.

* "Why Jazz Still Matters" is the title of an article in the spring 2019 issue of Daedalus magazine co-authored by Washington University professor Gerald Early with Ingrid Monson, professor of African American Music at Harvard University.

* Seven musicians who worked with Miles Davis during the trumpeter's electric period, including bassist Michael Henderson, saxophonists Dave Liebman and Gary Bartz, and drummer Lenny White, talked about their experiences at a Jazz Congress conference panel this past January in NYC, which now has been transcribed for an article in Jazz Times.

* In more Davis news, the trumpeter's landmark album Birth of the Cool will be re-released in a deluxe 70th anniversary edition (pictured) on Friday, May 17. The vinyl and digital set will include the complete studio and live recordings made in 1949-50 by Davis' nine-piece ensemble.

* Lastly, in a story published on April 1 by the Alton-area weekly Riverbender, Davis' ghost is credited with saving the lives of three area residents in separate incidents.

* Trumpeter Clark Terry's mentoring of young musicians, particularly pianist Justin Kauflin, is the subject of a recent article in Vail Daily.

* In an article in the Edwardsville Intelligencer, vibraphonist Lee Roth credits the sounds of radio station WSIE with helping him recover from recent brain surgery.

* Jazz St. Louis, The Dark Room and Broadway Oyster Bar are among the spots mentioned in a Post-Dispatch feature about local venues offering "dinner and a show."