Monday, August 31, 2015

Miles on Monday: The latest on the Miles Davis memorial statue, and more

This week in Miles Davis news:

* In anticipation of the unveiling of the Miles Davis memorial statue in downtown Alton, IL - now less than two weeks away - the statue's sculptor Preston Jackson was the subject of a feature story in the Alton Telegraph.

* Meanwhile, Alton's Miles Davis Jazz Festival has posted to Facebook some new photos from the memorial statue site on Third Street.

* After a recent gig with singer D'Angelo at the FYF Festival in Los Angeles, St. Louis-born trumpeter Keyon Harrold got a chance to hang out with actor/director Don Cheadle and Miles Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn Jr (pictured). Harrold performs on the soundtrack of Cheadle's upcoming film Miles Ahead, for which Wilburn is a co-producer.

* In an interview recorded earlier this month at the Newport Jazz Festival, popular trumpeter Chris Botti talks about Miles Davis and his influence on subsequent generations of musicians.

* The recently unearthed "unofficial release" Miles Davis Live in Tokyo 1975 was reviewed by Tim Niland at his blog Music and More.

* Does Miles Davis belong in the St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Fame? If you think so, you can cast your ballot for Davis (and various other St. Louis musicians of note) here. Voting ends on September 15.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday Session: August 30, 2015

Michael White
For your Sunday reading, here are some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* The Soulful Genius of Stevie Wonder: How ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ Changed Music Forever (The Daily Beast)
* “It’s not just a party, it’s our life”: Jazz musicians led the way back to the city after Katrina — but what is this “new” New Orleans? (
* Dr. Michael White lost everything in Hurricane Katrina except what mattered most: New Orleans jazz (New Orleans Times-Picayune)
* It Was New Orleans’ Musicians—Not Its Politicians—Who Saved The City Post-Katrina (The Daily Beast)
* Review: Jason Moran in Edinburgh (Jazz Journal UK)
* The invisible instrument: the theremin (The Guardian UK)
* Electronic Sturm und Atonal Drang in Berlin (Counterpunch)
* Music, paid fairly (
* The One Real Problem With Rolling Stone's 'Greatest Songwriters Of All Time' (NPR)
* How Can Frank Zappa's Colorful Life Possibly Fit in a Documentary? (Rolling Stone)
* ‘For Those Who Are, Still’ Review: Jazz Bassist William Parker Expands His Vision (Wall Street Journal)
* Hackers Are Sabotaging My Spotify Playlists With Awful Ambient Music (
* Inaugural Rhodes Fest Celebrates Great American Keyboard (DownBeat)
* Carlos Santana Talks Reuniting Santana IV, New Band With Wayne Shorter & Herbie Hancock (Billboard)
* The Birthplace of American Music Has Been Handed Over to Real-Estate Speculators (Alternet)
* Kamasi Washington Talks Jazz in the 21st Century (The Talk House)
* Complete edition of John Cage's Diary to be published (The Wire UK)
* How Flying Lotus Built Brainfeeder, His Spiritual Little Empire (
* How The 'Kung Fu Fighting' Melody Came To Represent Asia (NPR)
* A memorial for Paul Jeffrey, Duke's late jazz champion (Indy Week)
* George Walker: the great American composer you've never heard of (The Guardian UK)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2015 jazz preview, part 3

Today, it's the third part of StLJN's video preview of jazz and creative music performers coming to St. Louis this fall. (You can see part 1 here, and part 2 here.)

Continuing from last time in chronological order, we resume in mid-October with the
New Mastersounds, who will be here Tuesday, October 20 to play at the Old Rock House. You can see them at the top of this post jamming on the tune "Dusty Groove" in a video recorded in June of this year at a gig in Oakland, CA.

After the jump, there's a video featuring guitarist Kevin Eubanks, who will perform with his trio Wednesday, October 21 through Saturday, October 24 at Jazz at the Bistro. It's an episode of the Voice of America's program "Beyond Category" that features footage of Eubanks playing with his trio as well as an interview with former "Tonight Show" bandleader.

Next up is singer Banu Gibson, who will perform a program of Randy Newman songs in a matinee on Sunday, October 25 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The video shows Gibson singing "It's A Jungle Out There" - written by Newman as the theme for the TV show "Monk" - earlier this year at The Mint, in New Orleans, accompanied by former St. Louisan Tom McDermott on piano and Matt Perrine on sousaphone.

The next two clips feature performers from the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, starting with singer Lina Koutrakos and singer/pianist Rick Jensen, who will return to St. Louis to perform Sunday, October 25 at the Gaslight Theater. The first clip features Koutrakos singing "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" with Jensen on piano, and was recorded in 2013 at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Then it's singer Kat Edmonson, who's booked to appear on Thursday, October 29 and Friday, October 30 at the Gaslight Theater. This version of her singing "Rainy Day Woman" was recorded in March 2015 for radio station WNRN in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Last but certainly not least, it's the veteran tenor saxophonist Houston Person, who will be coming back to town for gigs on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31 at Jazz at the Bistro. In this clip, Person and pianist Joe Alterman's trio, with James Cammack on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums, work out on "Kelly's Blues" at a gig back in August 2012 at Jazz At Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

Look for part 4 of StLJN's Fall 2015 jazz preview here next week. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, August 28, 2015

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter Bobby Shew was interviewed by the Alton Telegraph about his upcoming appearance in Alton on Saturday, September 12 in conjunction with the unveiling of the Miles Davis memorial statue.

* You can take a look back at last Saturday's Hermann Wine and Jazz Festival via a short video posted on Facebook this week by the Hermann Advertiser-Courier.

* Also on Facebook, some photos of saxophonist Oliver Lake's big band's performance at last weekend's Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in NYC.

* Saxophonist Greg Osby has a new entry up on his blog, offering some back story and a reappraisal of  his 1998 album Banned in New York, which began as a Mini-Disc field recording and wound up being issued as an "official bootleg" by Blue Note .

* The Jazz at Holmes series of free concerts at Washington University has announced their schedule for Fall 2015, starting with a return appearance from Italian pianist Antonio Figura (pictured) on Thursday, September 10. The series continues most Thursdays until the semester finale on December 10, featuring students from Wash U's jazz performance program. You can see the whole schedule here.

* Pianists Peter Martin and Adam Maness and The 442s will be among the featured performers at the "Soul of Ferguson Community Festival" on Sunday, September 6 on the grounds of Ferguson Heights Church of Christ.

* The St. Louis Low Brass Collective is organizing a fund-raising "trivia night" on Saturday, September 12 at Shrewsbury City Center. For details or to reserve a spot, visit

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jazz this week: Garfield, Ligertwood & Friends, "A Jazz Heaven," and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music performances in and around town features the returns of several notable St. Louis expat musicians as well as shows paying tribute to both local and all-time jazz greats.

Let's go to the highlights...

Thursday, August 27
Tonight, guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Erika Johnson will perform at Evangeline's; and the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music.

Friday, August 28
Keyboardist David Garfield and singer Alex Ligertwood (pictured, top left) return to join forces with guitarist Marvin Horne, saxophonist Jim Stevens, and friends for a performance at at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

Garfield, a Metro East native who's toured extensively with George Benson, and Ligertwood, a Scotsman who's sung with Brian Auger and Santana, have teamed up with Stevens and band for a couple of previous gigs here, and with the addition of Horne, another former St. Louisan, this show should offer plenty of funk and fireworks.

Also on Friday, singer, songwriter, guitarist and former St. Louisan Javier Mendoza (pictured, center left) returns from his new home in Nashville to front Estereotipo, the latest iteration of his Latin/jazz project, for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

Elsewhere around town, singer Tony Viviano will perform in concert at the St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre, and guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Glen Smith return to Thurman Grill.

Saturday, August 29
Trumpeter Randy Holmes leads "A Tribute to Charlie Parker" at the Ozark Theatre; Wack-A-Doo performs at Thurman Grill; Tim Cunningham returns to Troy's Jazz Gallery; and Herman Semidey and Orquesta Son Montuno will play salsa and Latin music for dancing at Club Viva.

Sunday, August 30
Wendy L. Gordon (pictured, lower left) will present the sixth annual show in her "Jazz Heaven" series at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre, this time offering a "Tribute to St. Louis Legends" with help from a cast including Linda Kennedy, Jeanne Trevor, Joe Mancuso, Uvee Hayes, J Samuel Davis and more.

Monday, August 31
"Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Tuesday, September 1
The First Tuesday Composers Club will spotlight new works for saxophone quartet at The Dark Room.

Wednesday, September 2
Erin Bode will sing standards for the first of two nights to kick off the fall presenting season at Jazz at the Bistro.

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, August 24, 2015

Music Education Monday: New Orleans piano with Jon Cleary and Tom McDermott

Given that old adage about converts being the most zealous believers, perhaps it should come as no surprise that two of the most prominent current custodians of the New Orleans piano tradition are transplants to the city.

Jon Cleary originally from is England, while Tom McDermott is from right here in St. Louis, but both have made New Orleans their home and have immersed themselves in the history and practice of the city's indigenous music. For today's Music Education Monday, we've got master classes on video from each of them in which they share their knowledge of and perspective on New Orleans piano styles.

Cleary (pictured, top left) has worked as a sideman with John Scofield, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, B.B. King, Ryan Adams, and Eric Burdon, and also leads his own group, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. His video was produced by Artists House Music, and features Cleary discussing important New Orleans pianists such as James Booker, Professor Longhair and Jelly Roll Morton, and addressing a variety of other topics including songwriting technique and collaborating in the studio,

Tom McDermott (pictured, top right) has lived in New Orleans since 1984. In addition to recording 10 albums as a leader and numerous appearances in film and on TV and national radio, he has performed with the Dukes of Dixieland, arranged music for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and co-founded the New Orleans Nightcrawlers and the the Danza Quartet. His video "New Orleans Piano Traditions" was recorded in 2012 at Tulane University.

You can see both videos after the jump...

Miles on Monday: An excerpt from the upcoming Bitches Brew book, and more

This week in Miles Davis news:

* The publishers of the 33&1/3 series of books have put online a short excerpt from their upcoming volume about Bitches Brew. The book (pictured) was written by George Grella Jr, and will be released in October.

* With the hip-hip biopic Straight Outta Compton debuting last week to big box office results, an article in the Kansas City Star considers the prospects of other upcoming real-life music stories, including Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle's film about Miles Davis that will premiere in October at the New York Film Festival.

* While Davis was being remembered at this year's Newport Jazz Festival, the trumpeter also was the subject of a tribute on the other side of the world at the XVIII Hermitage Garden Jazz Festival in Moscow, courtesy of US trumpeter Jason Palmer and Alexey Podymkin’s quartet.

* A new Tumblr called Milestones is compiling photos, videos and other online material about Miles Davis. While much of the content will be familiar to fans who have been online for a while, there are some nice finds, too, including rarely seen photos and musical transcripts.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Session: August 23, 2015

Diana Krall
For your Sunday reading, here are some interesting music-related items that have hit StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* A Radical Plan to Save the Big Music Labels: Shrink the Big Music Labels (ReCode)
* A Classic 1970s Synthesizer Is Reborn for the 21st Century (Wired)
* The Quest for Fire Music: Documenting the Free Jazz Revolution (New York Observer)
* The wonders of the internet – listen to John Cage and Morton Feldman in conversation (The Guardian UK)
* The 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time (Rolling Stone)
* Does ‘Rolling Stone’ Know It Declared Songwriting Dead? (FlavorWire)
* Review: Diana Krall aces jazz, struggles with pop in Oakland (Contra Costa Times)
* The Least Historically Accurate Music Biopics Ever Made (Vulture)
* Gene Kelly as jazz icon: Widow’s program celebrates his art (SF Gate)
* Curtis Institute and the case of Nina Simone (Philadelphia Inquirer)
* Jazz Heavyweight Terence Blanchard Won't Turn a Blind Eye (Mother Jones)
* Spirit Of Protest Spun From Blues And Avant-garde (Classical Voice America)
* 'We’ll retire at 106. What else can we do?' The rockers who won't call it a day (The Guardian UK)
* Organized chaos - A Q&A with Alvin Fielder (Arkansas Times)
* Hurricane Katrina and the Healing Power of Jazz (Time)
* 10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans' Brass Bands March On (NPR)
* The 250 Best-Selling Musicians of All Time (Digital Music News)
* How 'Playola' Is Infiltrating Streaming Services: Pay for Play Is 'Definitely Happening' (Billboard)
* A Rational Conversation: Does Anybody Even Have Time For An 80-Minute Album? (NPR)
* Studies Show that the Brains of Jazz, Folk and Classical Musicians Are Not Equal (
* From Nation Time to management time (The Wire UK)
* Javon Jackson Still Learns from the Masters (DownBeat)
* How Widespread Is Ghostwriting in Music and How OK With It Should You Be? (
* How John Birch helped inspire a Dizzy Gillespie presidential run (Boston Globe)
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