Saturday, December 20, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Winter/spring 2015 jazz preview

Today, it's the first part of StLJN's winter/spring 2015 jazz preview, in which we bring you music videos from jazz and creative music performers who will be visiting our city in the first part of next year.

First up are The Bad Plus, who will be back in St. Louis from Wednesday, January 7 through Saturday, January 10 to play at Jazz at the Bistro. The group has been visiting the Bistro early in January for nearly a decade now, and since their last trip here, they've put out a new recording of all original music, Inevitable Western. In the video up above, you can see them playing a song from that album, "Gold Prisms Incorporated," during a gig in September at the Blue Note in Milano, Italy.

After the jump, you'll see the Stooges Brass Band playing "Hot." They'll be in town on Thursday, January 15 at the Broadway Oyster Bar; the video was recorded in July of this year in New Orleans for the web series "Jam in the Van."

Below that you can see their fellow New Orleanians Bonerama, who will be here the very next night, Friday, January 16, also at the Broadway Oyster Bar. The clip is an audience-shot video of them performing "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do" last month at the Cutting Room in NYC.

That same weekend, the Bistro will feature a band being billed as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Group, an ad hoc assemblage made up of musicians doing week-long educational residencies for Jazz St. Louis that will culminate in public performances on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17. The front line features two familiar faces, trumpeter Terell Stafford and saxophonist/clarinetist Victor Goines - both of whom have fronted their own bands here - along with trombonist Chris Crenshaw, with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra drummer Alvin Atkinson quarterbacking the rhythm section with a bassist and pianist TBA.

In the fourth clip, you can see Stafford performing a very nice version of Billy Strayhorn's "Day Dream" at the 2013 International Trumpet Guild convention, backed by pianist Bruce Barth. Below that, there's a clip of Goines working out on his composition "Turning Points" during a 2011 gig with pianist Aaron Diehl, bassist Phillip Kuehn, and drummer Marion Felder. Crenshaw is represented by a clip compiling excerpts from a concert for a Smithsonian traveling exhibit that the trombonist played in March 2013 in his hometown of Thomson, GA; the rhythm section is Josef Patchen (keyboard), Travis Shaw (bass), and Edwin G. Hamilton (drums).

Today's final video features the Arturo O'Farrill Sextet, who will visit St. Louis Wednesday, January 21 through Saturday, January 24 to play at Jazz at the Bistro. O'Farrill, a pianist, composer/arranger and son of the famous bandleader Chico O'Farrill, was here a decade ago with his Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra to play the long-defunct St. Louis Jazz Festival in Clayton, but this will be his first visit here since. To get an idea of what to expect, check out the video of O'Farrill's octet recorded in September 2013 for an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.

Look for the second part of StLJN's winter/spring 2015 jazz preview in this space next week. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stooges Brass Band, No BS! Brass Band
set for shows at Broadway Oyster Bar

The Broadway Oyster Bar, home to monthly gigs from the Funky Butt Brass Band and frequent host to various New Orleans acts, has booked two more brass bands for gigs early next year.

New Orleans' Stooges Brass Band (pictured) will return to St. Louis to play the BOB on Thursday, January 15, while the No BS! Brass Band , an eleven-piece group based in Richmond, VA, will perform on Sunday, February 8.

The Stooges have played in St. Louis before, most recently in August of this year at the Oyster Bar, but as best as we can tell, this will be the first local show for the No BS! Brass Band. (We'll have videos of both groups in StLJN's winter/spring 2015 jazz preview, which starts tomorrow.)

Admission for the Stooges Brass Band will be $10 at the door. There's no ticket price for the No BS! Brass Band listed yet on either the Broadway Oyster Bar site or the Facebook page for the event, but given the BOB's usual pricing, it likely will be the same or similar.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The Funky Butt Brass Band has released online a new song, "Because It's Christmas." Proceeds from the sale of downloads of the tune will benefit Music for Lifelong Achievement, a St. Louis not-for-profit organization that collects and refurbishes used musical instruments and then distributes them to local students in need.

* Also just in time for Christmas, trumpeter Jeremy Davenport, who grew up in U City and now lives in New Orleans, made a music video of "Silent Night" as one of a series of holiday songs sponsored by the New Orleans Times-Picayune

* St. Louis native Andre Boyd (pictured), who's been drumming for Cirque du Soleil's touring production Quidam for the past four years, is number six on the UK drum magazine Rhythm's list of the "10 best new drummers in the world right now."

* Vintage Vinyl was featured on the vinyl-record enthusiast website Cooking With Vinyl.

* Jazz St. Louis is looking for feedback from patrons who have visited the remodeled Jazz at the Bistro this fall. If you'd like to weigh in with your opinion of the new digs, you can complete the online survey here.

* Photos of Clark Terry's 94th birthday celebration this past weekend have been posted to the trumpeter's official Facebook page.

* Also posted to Facebook, a photo album from new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound's performance last week at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson will present jazz recordings dealing with issues of social injustice from Billie Holiday, Ben Allison, Wallace Roney, and more. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at

Edited after posting to add the Jeremy Davenport link. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jazz this week: Roy Hargrove, "Holiday Brasstravaganza," Ellington's "Nutcracker,"
a big band murder mystery, and more

For this last week before Christmas, the calendar of jazz and creative music performances in and around St. Louis features the long-overdue return of a top touring trumpeter, plus several holiday-themed shows and some other special presentations from local performers. Let's go to the highlights....

Wednesday, December 17
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove returns to Jazz at the Bistro to begin his first St. Louis gig as a leader in more than a decade.

When he last played here, Hargrove (pictured) already had recorded several well-regarded albums of hard-bop-inspired sounds and was tagged as a rising star. Since then, he's gained a good deal of additional recognition for leading groups influenced by Latin-jazz (the Grammy-winning Crisol) and funk (RH Factor), but during his four nights in St. Louis, Hargrove will be fronting a quintet playing in a more straight-ahead style.

For more about what Hargrove's been up to, and some video samples of his quintet performing earlier this year on tour in Europe, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also on Wednesday, singer Tony Viviano presents his "Christmas in St. Louis" show at Vito's in the Valley; the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra plays at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company; Cabaret Project St. Louis will hold their monthly "Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts: and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play at The Feasting Fox.

Thursday, December 18
Miss Jubilee plays an early show at the Blues City Deli; guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Erika Johnson will pair up at Evangeline's; and guitarist Dave Black will be joined by a rhythm section and guest vocalist at Nathalie’s.

Friday, December 19
The Funky Butt Brass Band will present the first of two nights of their sixth annual "Holiday Brasstravaganza" at Off Broadway, featuring a long list of guest performers and various seasonal hijinks.

Also on Friday, the St. Louis Big Band adds a theatrical element to their usual program of danceable swing and pop, staging an retro-themed, audience-participation "murder mystery" at Casa Loma Ballroom; and singer and multi-instrumentalist Alan Ox pays tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes with his show "Straight-Up, A Shot of Sinatra" at the Sheldon Concert Hall, backed by pianist  Dave Venn, drummer Miles Vandiver, bassist Dave Troncoso, and Dave Black on guitar.

Saturday, December 20
Trumpeter Jim Manley duets with guitarist Randy Bahr at One 19 North Tapas and Wine Bar.

Sunday, December 21
The Ambassadors of Swing perform at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 10126 E Watson; and BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups has a double bill with singer/guitarist Tommy Halloran playing the matinee, and percussionist Joe Pastor and the Legacy Jazz Band taking the night shift.

Monday, December 22
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band, stocked with many alumni of the jazz program at SIUE, will present Duke Ellington’s famous arrangement of Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker” along with other selected Ellington favorites at Jazz at the Bistro. The show is one set only, but if you can't make it on Monday, you should know that the program also will be repeated on Tuesday.. The program repeats on Tuesday, and while tickets for the first sets are nearly sold out, there are seats remaining for the second sets on both nights.

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, December 15, 2014

Music Education Monday: A Benny Golson master class, and the Saxophone Museum

This week, Music Education Monday is all about the saxophone, starting with a master class from the veteran saxophonist and composer and former Jazz Messenger Benny Golson.

In the first video below, Golson, writer of well-known tunes such as "Killer Joe," "Whisper Not," and "Along Came Betty," discusses his career with author Tom Piazza as part of a master class held in 2005 at Loyola University in New Orleans. In the second video, Golson gives a performance of "Along Came Betty" and discusses how he wrote the song.

In between videos, you might want to take a break for a virtual visit to the Saxquest Saxophone Museum. While the museum is located physically right here in St. Louis inside the Saxquest shop, you can see photosets online detailing many of the vintage instruments in the collection, including the 1921 King saxello pictured in this post as well as saxes made by Selmer, Buescher, Conn, Grafton, Keilwerth, LeBlanc, Martin, and even a couple of 19th century instruments from Adolphe Sax himself.

Miles on Monday: Cookin' with Miles Davis

For this week's edition of Miles on Monday, we bring you a brief look at Miles Davis as chef.

As the story goes, Davis taught himself to cook by consulting various cookbooks and trying recipes he found in magazines, and compiled his favorites for future reference. “He had a little cookbook about the size of a phone book that you could hold in the palm of your hand. We’re still trying to find that,” his nephew Vince Wilburn told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2011.

While the cookbook has yet to be found, a couple of recipes purported to be Davis' made the rounds on the internet back in August, but given that they were both for chili, perhaps they weren't the most appropriate cuisine for the heat of summer.

Now that fall is about to turn into winter, though, perhaps you might might be interested in trying "Miles Davis' South Side Chicago Chili Mack," and a variant recipe for chili also attributed to Davis, as recounted by the website Open Culture.

One slight problem for the novice cook is that the recipes as originally recorded in Davis' autobiography and by his sister lack some specifics on the steps of preparation. Fortunately, a site called The Recipe Diva has broken down one of the recipes into sequential instructions (which presumably could be followed, making adjustments as needed, for the other).

Of course, in cooking as in music, there are few absolutes. You can start with some ingredients and a basic recipe, and add your own touches, techniques and flavors to suit. Whether you follow Miles' recipes to the letter, or decide to do some improvising, we do have a suggested soundtrack: the 1956 album Cookin' With The Miles Davis Quintet, which you can play from the embedded video window below.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Happy birthday, Clark Terry!

Today, we wish a most happy birthday to one of the greatest St. Louis jazz musicians ever, trumpeter Clark Terry, who turns 94 tomorrow.

A recipient of honors and awards too numerous to count, and enshrined in halls of fame ranging from that of Vashon High School in St. Louis to Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in NYC, Terry has had a prolific career stretching from the 1940s into the 21st century, encompassing hundreds of recordings and many thousands of performances.

Among his accomplishments, he's often noted as one of the few musicians to have played in the orchestras of both Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and in the early 1960s he broke the color barrier in network television by becoming the first African-American member of the band on NBC's Tonight Show.

Later, Terry became known as a jazz educator and ambassador, teaching master classes at colleges and universities around the world and serving as a personal mentor to particularly promising musicians, including such current notables as singer Dianne Reeves and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He continued to travel and perform throughout his seventies and eighties until just a few years ago, when a series of health problems finally forced him to retire from the road to his home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Even after losing his eyesight and both legs to diabetes, Terry has continued to teach from a hospital bed via telephone and Skype. And though his body may be frail, his spirit remains indomitable, as shown in the recent documentary film Keep On Keepin' On, which follows the story of Terry's relationship with a talented young pianist named Justin Kauflin.

Of course, this is just the barest outline of his storied career. There's so much more to say about Clark Terry - enough to fill a book, and in fact, he's written one himself, which you should read if you have any interest in jazz (or the history of St. Louis, for that matter) - that it's futile to even try to fit it all into one simple blog post. So let's get the birthday party started, and move on to the videos.

We begin with three songs recorded more than 50 years ago in Europe by a band led by Terry and saxophonist Phil Woods. As the story goes, the group originally was assembled by Quincy Jones as the backing band for a touring musical show that went bankrupt, leaving the performers stranded and forcing them to line up a series of gigs to earn enough money to return home to the USA.

In addition to Terry on trumpet and fluegelhorn and Woods on alto sax, the group included Sahib Shihab (baritone sax), Quentin Jackson (trombone), Patty Bown (piano), Buddy Catlett (bass), Joe Harris (drums). You can hear them in the first clip playing "Undecided," recorded in late 1969 in the Netherlands, and after the jump, "Steeplechase" and "A Night in Tunisia," which are from a Paris gig early in 1960.

After that, there's a short set featuring Terry with pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Ed Thigpen, recorded in 1965 in Finland. The foursome had made a well-regarded and commercially successful recording together the previous year, Oscar Peterson Trio + One, and this show draws on some of the songs they recorded for that album.

One of those tunes was what some consider to be the definitive version of Terry's signature tune, the mush-mouthed, scat-singing jump blues "Mumbles," and a brief but spirited version of that crowd-pleaser finishes the set.

After that, you can hear four songs featuring Terry's Big Bad Band, recorded in 1974 in England, with a lineup including one of Terry's oldest musical friends from St. Louis, trombonist Jimmy Wilkins, as well as iconic musicians such as saxophonist Jimmy Heath, drummer Grady Tate, and pianist Horace Parlan.

They start off with "Et Toi," followed by "Take The A Train," "Rock Skipping (at the Blue Note)," and "On The Trail" (a jazz arrangement of material adapted from Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite).

We finish up with three more recent clips that pay tribute to Terry in different ways. Today's fifth video is a complete show by one of his proteges, Dianne Reeves, that was presented as a tribute to the trumpeter back in 2000 in Bern, Germany. After an improvised vocal by Reeves telling the story of how they met, Terry appears on stage and plays for a bit, and the warmth between them is obvious. (Though he stays for just a couple of numbers, Reeves and band are in typically good form for the rest of the set as well.)

Next, there's an interview with Alan Hicks, director of Keep On Keepin' On, in which he talks about the film and his relationship with Terry - he started as a student, then was hired to play drums on some of the trumpeter's gigs - and shows a couple of short excerpts.

Last but not least, we hear more about Keep On Keepin' On, this time from Justin Kauflin and Quincy Jones, a longtime friend of Terry's and the film's executive producer. Though the film has already screened in St. Louis back in October, it has made the first cut for Academy Award eligibility and no doubt will be available on home video at some point in the not-too-distant future.

You can read more of StLJN's past coverage of Clark Terry here, and you can see the rest of today's videos after the jump.

Friday, December 12, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Clark Terry just got a birthday-week visit from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, who detoured between scheduled stops on their current trek through the southern USA to perform for the legendary trumpeter at his bedside in a Little Rock hospital.

You can read JaLCO leader Wynton Marsalis' account of the visit here, and see more photos here. (In case you didn't know, Terry turns 94 on Sunday; StLJN will be paying tribute in this week's Saturday Video Showcase.)

* Speaking of photo albums, we've got links to several more today, starting with some shots from last week's New Music Circle concert featuring saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell and pianist Craig Taborn.

* Also from last week, the Dave Dickey Big Band has posted some pics to Facebook of their most recent gig at Jazz At the Bistro.

* Lastly, the Kevin Mitchell 4 is one of several local groups and musicians tapped during the holiday season to serenade Metrolink riders from inside their train car, and they've posted the photographic evidence on Facebook here.

* The Lindbergh High School jazz ensemble was featured on Fox 2's Thursday morning newscast. The band heads to Chicago next week to perform at the Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference, but first, they'll play for the hometown crowd in a free preview concert at 7;00 p.m. this coming Monday, December 15 at Lindbergh HS, 5000 S. Lindbergh Blvd.

* The recently rediscovered recording of singer and East St. Louisan Leon Thomas performing with the British jazz-fusion group Nucleus at the 1970 Montreux Jazz Festival has been reviewed again for, this time by AAJ's Bruce Lindsay.

* And speaking of "recently rediscovered," a 43-minute video of St. Louis-born guitarist Grant Green playing live in 1969 in Paris has been made available online as a paid download. (A copy of the show briefly posted to YouTube was removed after a take-down notice from Green's son.)

Given that up until now, any video of Green (pictured) has been scarcer than the proverbial hen's teeth, it's certainly a welcome find, though $19.99 for a download - no packaging, no extra materials, just a video file - seems a bit steep, even for something of this relative rarity.

* John Fornaszewski, longtime owner of Fornaszewski Music in Granite City, drummer, and father of drummer and bandleader Stan Fornaszewski, died this past Saturday at age 74 after suffering a heart attack. Our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues...

* Jazz radio update: WSIE (88.7 FM) aka "The Jazz Station" is conducting another fund-raising drive today, tomorrow and Sunday. You can tune in to the broadcast or check out the live online stream for details on pledge premiums, and to listen throughout the weekend for special guests, interviews and more.

Meanwhile, this Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, Calvin Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” program will feature the songs of Harold Arlen (composer of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," "Blues In The Night," and many more jazz and pop standards) as interpreted by Nicholas Payton, Max Roach, Dominique Eade, and others.

Right after that, Jason Church's The Jazz Collective will be in a holiday mood with season sounds from Harry Connick, Jr., Lynne Fiddmont, Candy Dulfer, Dave Koz, Vibraphonic, Manhattan Transfer, Mindi Abair, Al Hammerman, Dawn Weber, Funky Butt Brass Band, Jim Manley, and more.

Wilson's program can be heard at 8:00 p.m., followed by Church at 9:00 p.m., on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...