Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Session: August 28, 2016

Wadada Leo Smith
Some interesting music-related items that have landed in StLJN's inbox over the past week:

* Reimagining Josephine Baker's Music in the Era of Black Lives Matter (New York Times)
* Is Sleep Music a Real Genre? (The Daily Beast)
* How Bad Urban Planning Led To The Birth Of A Billion-Dollar Genre (
* Harmonica Virtuoso Toots Thielemans Dies at 94 (DownBeat)
* “Champeta is liberation”: The indestructible sound system culture of Afro-Colombia (
* Zorn & Collaborators Hold Court in Engaging Vanguard Residency (DownBeat)
* Remembering Lou Pearlman: The Ponzi Schemer Who Spawned the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC & More (Billboard)
* A Visual History of Rock and Roll, Room by Empty Room (The New Yorker)
* How Sam Phillips Invented the Sound of Rock and Roll (Popular Mechanics)
* Grandmaster Flash on ‘The Get Down’ and how he used science to pioneer DJ techniques (Washington Post)
* ‘Sunday Night at the Vanguard’ by Fred Hersch Review - Looking at the special bond between a club and a composer (Wall Street Journal)
* Photography Book Documents Young Sinatra in New York (DownBeat)
* Divine disco: the beatific sub-genre that delivered sermons on the dancefloor (The Guardian UK)
* Why Japan has more old-fashioned music stores than anywhere else in the world (
* Sample Clearance Expert Pat “The Detective” Shannahan is The Avalanches’ Secret Weapon - The behind-the-scenes force for records by the Beastie Boys, Janet Jackson, Beck and more on 20 years of tracking down samples (
* See the Photographs That Captured the Icons of Jazz (TIME)
* Wadada Leo Smith Celebrates National Parks with Double Album (DownBeat)
* Legendary Jazz Recording Engineer Rudy Van Gelder Dies at 91 (DownBeat)
* Postscript: Rudy Van Gelder (1924-2016), Modern Jazz’s Listener of Genius (The New Yorker)
* Herb Alpert Foundation to donate $10.1 million to LACC — making studies for music majors tuition-free (Los Angeles Times)
* Watch Dr. John Praise James Booker's Piano Genius (Rolling Stone)
* Angelo Badalamenti Reveals How He and David Lynch Composed the Twin Peaks‘ “Love Theme” (
* Keeping the Blues Alive (Smithsonian)
* The Ballad of Big Freedia: How the New Orleans Bounce Icon Was Betrayed By Her City’s Housing Crisis (

Saturday, August 27, 2016

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2016 jazz preview

This week, it's part one of StLJN's Fall 2016 jazz preview, in which we present videos featuring various touring jazz and creative music performers who will be visiting St. Louis in the next several months.

Going in chronological order, the first clip showcases Chicago-based singer Tammy McCann, who will be presenting her cabaret show "Ella Loves Gershwin" on Saturday, September 15 at The Emerald Room at The Monocle under the auspices of the Presenters Dolan. McCann can be seen in the first video up above, which shows an excerpt from a set she did at Birdland in NYC in January of this year.

After the jump, you can see a video of organist Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Evolution, who will be in town from Wednesday, September 21 through Saturday, September 24 to kick off the fall season at Jazz at the Bistro.

Named after Smith's most recent album, which features a horn section and second drummer added to the organist's usual trio, Evolution is seen here playing "Straight No Chaser" in October 2015 at BRIC JazzFest in Brooklyn. (Alas, the touring version of the band is a five-piece that only includes one drummer, so St. Louis audiences won't get a chance to hear the sort of interplay between the percussionists that's featured here.)

Right after Smith concludes his run at the Bistro, guitarist Pat Metheny will return to St. Louis with a brand new quartet featuring drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Linda Oh, and pianist Gwilym Simcock for a performance on Sunday, September 25 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Metheny is seen here with his Unity Group (Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams and saxophonist Chris Potter) performing the song "Kin" in 2014 at the the Five Angels Theater in New York.

Next up is pianist Bill Charlap, who will perform with his trio on Wednesday, September 28 and Thursday, September 29 at Jazz at the Bistro. The third clip after the jump shows Charlap's entire set from the 2015 Jazz San Javier festival in Spain.

That same week, the Bistro features one of their major "gets" of the season, as singer Al Jarreau checks in for two evenings of intimate duo performances on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. In today's video, you can see Jarreau singing "Take Five" with an all-star band at the 2016 International Jazz Day concert, held in April at the White House in Washington DC.

That particular weekend is shaping up to be a busy one, as percussionist Jason Marsalis' Vibes Quintet also will be performing here on Saturday, October 1 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Marsalis, who recently moved from his native New Orleans to France, is seen here playing "Offbeat Personality" in 2015 at the Blue Note in Milano, Italy.

And as if those two shows weren't enough for one evening, New Music Circle also will begin their season on Saturday, October 1 with a concert featuring duo performances by pianists Craig Taborn and Kris Davis at the 560 Music Center.

Since the Taborn/Davis tour hasn't even started yet, there's no video of the two of them playing together. So instead, in the next two clips you can see Taborn with his trio in 2015, playing "All True Night" and "Future Perfect" at the Salle Poirel in Nancy, France; and Davis and her trio playing in January 2015 at Klaviersalon MERTA in Linz, Austria.

Today's penultimate video features drummer, singer and songwriter Jamison Ross, who will be making his St. Louis debut as a leader with shows from Wednesday, October 5 through Saturday, October 8 at Jazz at the Bistro. The clip features Ross and his band performing "These Things You Are to Me" in February of this year at the studios of KPLU in Tacoma, WA.

The final video features guitarist Dweezil Zappa, who will return with his band to perform on Thursday, October 13 at The Ready Room. Though currently fighting a legal battle with his family over the rights to perform his father Frank Zappa's music, Dweezil is using the current tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of FZ's debut album Freak Out. You can hear what that sounds like in the video, an entire show show as shot by an audience member on July 8, 2016 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.

Part two of the Fall 2016 jazz preview will appear next week in this space. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, August 26, 2016

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* According to posts on social media, Music Record Shop has relocated from the Grove neighborhood to Grand Center.

The retailer will take up residence in temporary space at 3526 Washington (right next door to KDHX) until January, when they'll move into a permanent home in the district's new "arts incubator" .ZACK - and yes, it's pronounced "dot zack" - in the former Cadillac Building at 3224 Locust St (pictured).

* The website has published online a photo set from last Saturday's Hermann Wine & Jazz Festival.

* Dan Connor, drummer and bandleader for Miss Jubilee, was profiled in the Belleville News-Democrat.

* The MAXJAZZ catalog of jazz recordings has been acquired by the Detroit-based Mack Avenue label. The St. Louis based independent label had been essentially dormant since the death of founder Richard McDonnell in February, 2014.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jazz this week: A tribute to 1970s fusion,
trad jazz from Red Lehr, and more

With summer winding down and the fall presenting season yet to begin, it's not a particularly busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, but there still are some performances worth noting that are happening over the next few days.

Let's go to the highlights....

Thursday, August 25
Dizzy Atmosphere will play swing and Gypsy jazz as part of the "Sensational Summer Nights" series at Missouri Botanical Garden; and the Bruxism experimental music series continues at the Schlafly Tap Room, this month featuring Wiggpaw, Brett Williams, and UFO vs USA

Friday, August 26
An ad hoc quintet of St. Louis musicians will join forces to present "Weather Forever: The Music of Weather Report & Return to Forever," featuring music from two of the most popular jazz-fusion groups of the 1970s, for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro.

The ensemble attempting to bridge the disparate styles of these two iconic bands will include bassist Zeb Briskovich, drummer Montez Coleman (pictured, top left), keyboarist Adaron “Pops” Jackson, guitarist Eric Slaughter, and saxophonist Jason Swagler.

Also on Friday, singer Joe Mancuso brings a quartet to Nathalie's, and the Midwest Jazz-tette will play cool jazz in the West Coast style at Cigar Inn

Saturday, August 27 
Pianist Phil Dunlap's trio will play an early evening show at The Dark Room; trumpeter Danny Campbell returns with his Jazz Collective to Troy's Jazz Gallery; and Franglais will perform at Evangeline's

Sunday, August 28
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents sousaphonist Red Lehr's Powerhouse Five (pictured, lower left) playing traditional jazz and swing at the Doubletree Hotel St. Louis at Westport.

Monday, August 29
Trumpeter Jim Manley continues his Monday night residency at Momo's Greek Restaurant.

Tuesday, August 30
The Sidemen return to Evangeline's, and saxophonist Joe Bayer has a new weekly duo gig at Scarlett's Wine Bar in the Central West End, teaming up this week with bassist Glen Smith.

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.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gaslight Cabaret Festival
announces Fall 2016 series

Gaslight Cabaret Festival impresario Jim Dolan has announced the festival's schedule for Fall 2016.

The series will feature six different performers over five weekends in October and November at the Gaslight Theatre, starting with the return of Marilyn Maye (pictured), the "grand dame of cabaret," on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15.

Next up will be singer Storm Large, who will present her third festival performance here in as many years on Friday, October 21, followed by Broadway actress and singer Tova Feldshuh and her show "Aging Is Optional" on Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29.

After that, singer Karen Irwin will present "A Janis Joplin Tribute" on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, followed by singer and pianist Judy Carmichael on Friday, November 11 and closing out the series, St. Louis' own Ken Haller on Saturday, November 12.

Ticket for the Gaslight Cabaret Festival Fall 2016 series are priced from $30 to $55, depending on the performer and the date, and are on sale now.

Brand X reunion tour includes show on Thursday, October 20 at Wildey Theatre

The British jazz-fusion band Brand X has announced a reunion tour for Fall 2016 that includes a performance at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, October 20 at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville.

Originally active from the mid-1970s into the early '80s, Brand X made six recordings and fielded 11 different lineups of musicians in a six-year period, including for a couple of albums Phil Collins, then the drummer for prog-rock band Genesis and subsequently a major pop star.

A reunion in the 1990s, featuring founding members Percy Jones on bass and John Goodsall on guitar, yielded two more albums, the last of which was Manifest Destiny in 1997.

The 2016 edition of Brand X (pictured) includes Jones and Goodsall, as well as drummer Kenwood Dennard, who wasn't an original member but played on the band's second album and subsequent tours.

Playing music from the first three Brand X albums, they'll be joined for the reunion tour by keyboardist Chris Clark, whose credits include the John Entwistle Band, and percussionist Scott Weinberger, who's played with Adrian Belew and King Crimson's Trey Gunn. To promote the tour, the band has made a short video, which you can see in the embedded player below.

Tickets for Brand X at the Wildey Theatre are $35, and are on sale now.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Miles on Monday: New "Bootleg Series" box set to feature "second great quintet," and more

This week in Miles Davis news:

* Columbia/Legacy Recordings announced last week the upcoming release of Miles Davis Quintet: Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series, Vol 5, a three-CD set featuring more than two hours of previously unreleased studio recordings made from 1966 to 1968 that feature the band known as Davis' "second great quintet," with Wayne Shorter on tenor saxophone, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass and Tony Williams on drums.

The box set (pictured), which has been "newly mixed and mastered in high resolution audio" will include the complete session reels from Davis' album Miles Smiles, with "rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, studio conversation and more." The set's release is scheduled for Friday, October 21 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original release of Miles Smiles.

* Rolling Stone magazine published a feature story titled "Miles Davis: 15 Essential Albums".

* In a new interview with Jazz Times, guitarist John McLaughlin recalls his work with Davis, along with other highlights of his career.

* The latest episode of the podcast To My Future Vinyl Collectors features an extended discussion of Davis' landmark album Bitches Brew.

Music Education Monday: A master
class with pianist Oscar Peterson

This week for Music Education Monday, you can sit in via video on a master class with the late, great pianist Oscar Peterson (pictured).

One of the most acclaimed and popular jazz pianists of his generation. Peterson, who died at age 72 in 2007, was known as a technical master in the tradition of Art Tatum, capable of executing elaborate flights of pianistic fancy while still retaining the essential elements of blues and swing.

He was best known for working in a trio format, most notably with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen, and later in his career with guitarist Joe Pass and bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen. Peterson also recorded and performed with many of the major jazz musicians active during his lifetime, including St. Louis' own Clark Terry, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, Ben Webster, and numerous others.

He gave this presentation in 1997 in Marciac, France, accompanied by Ørsted Pedersen, drummer Martin Drew, and guitarist Ulf Wakenius. The video, shot by an audience member, isn't exactly professional quality, but if you have some interest in the subject matter, it's worth the effort of adjusting the volume control from time to time to hear what Peterson has to say about developing solos, ensemble playing, arranging, and more.

For those who'd like a little more OP, after the jump you can see a bonus video, a 1995 biographical documentary about Peterson titled Music in the Key of Oscar.