Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Jazz this week: "Celebrating George Benson," Willie Akins Scholarship Concert, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a tribute to one of the most popular guitarists and singers in jazz; a concert raising money for scholarships in the name of a longtime local favorite saxophonist; a gathering of cabaret singers from around the nation, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 17
Pianist and St. Louis native Matt Villinger will be back in town for a visit from his current home in Kansas City to promote the release of his new album All Day with a performance at The Dark Room.

Also on Wednesday, the Cabaret Project of St. Louis, which this week is hosting attendees for around the country at its annual Cabaret Conference, presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" night at Sophie's Artist Lounge.

Thursday, July 18
Author, radio host, and photographer Dennis Owsley will promote his new book St. Louis Jazz: A History via "A Conversation and Book Signing with Dennis Owsley" at UMSL at Grand Center. The event, which is free and open to the public with registration, will include brief performances by singer Jeanne Trevor and singer/percussionist Don Cunningham, both veterans of the Gaslight Square era.

Also on Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University continues their "Jazz in July" schedule with a free concert featuring guitarist Vincent Varvel's trio; and Cabaret Project of St. Louis will present their "2019 Cabaret Gala" fundraiser at Jazz St. Louis, with music from Marilyn Maye, Faith Prince, Jeff Harnar, Peisha McPhee, Jim Caruso and Christine Pedi.

Friday, July 19
With George Benson having recently released an album that includes five songs by St. Louis' own Chuck Berry, it seems fitting somehow that Jazz St. Louis is "Celebrating George Benson" for two nights this weekend.

Guitarists Eric Slaughter (pictured) and Matt Sewell and singer Brian Owens are fronting the ensemble, with support from Adam Maness and Adaron “Pops” Jackson on keyboards, Bob DeBoo on bass, and Montez Coleman on drums.

(No word as to whether or not they'll be including any Berry-via-Benson arrangements in their sets, but they should be well-equipped otherwise to handle Benson's extensive catalog of popular favorites.)

Saturday, July 20
The "Willie Akins Scholarship Benefit Concert" will feature music from the groups of saxophonists Harvey Lockhart, Matt McKeever, and Kendrick Smith (pictured), plus guest appearances by singers Joe Mancuso and Erika Johnson, Akins' widow Sandra, and more at the Grandel Theatre.

Also on Saturday, the Cabaret Conference will present their "Professional Track Showcase" at The Stage at KDHX.

Sunday, July 21
If you'd like some music with your Sunday brunch, the options this week include The Gaslight Squares at the Angad Arts Hotel; pianist Adam Maness at Thurman's in Shaw; Miss Jubilee at Evangeline's; and guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran at The Dark Room.

Then on Sunday evening, the Cabaret Conference wraps up with a "Closing Night Showcase and Celebration," also at The Stage at KDHX.

Tuesday, July 23
Singer Arvell Keithley reunites with trumpeter Jim Manley and the Wild Cool & Swingin' Horns for a concert at the Gaslight Theater.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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, July 15, 2019

Dennis Owsley to discuss, sign new book Thursday, July 18 at UMSL at Grand Center

Radio host, jazz historian and photographer Dennis Owsley will discuss and sign copies of his new book St. Louis Jazz: A History at an event at 7:00 p.m. this Thursday, July 18 at UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St.

At the event, Owsley will discuss the book (pictured), which recounts the history of jazz in St. Louis, with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jeremy Goodwin.

A reception and book signing will follow, and copies of St. Louis Jazz: A History will be available for purchase from Left Bank Books.

Owsley, whose radio program "Jazz Unlimited" is broadcast weekly on Sunday nights by St. Louis Public Radio, previously authored another history of local jazz, City of Gabriels; The History of Jazz in St. Louis, 1895-1973, which came out in 2006.

In an email to StLJN, Owsley said that singer Jeanne Trevor and singer/percussionist Don Cunningham, both veterans of St. Louis' storied Gaslight Square era, plan to attend Thursday's event and will offer a brief acapella performances.

The event is free and open to the public, but because space is limited, online registration at St. Louis Public Radio's website is required.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Session: July 14, 2019

Abdullah Ibrahim
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* All hail young blues aristocrat Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram (Guitar)
* An evening with João Gilberto, the bright wallflower of bossa nova (The Guardian)
* Burning Its Way Toward A Musical Sweet Spot - Interview With Burnt Sugar Founder Greg Tate (SFJAZZ.org)
* How Richmond jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith is bridging generations (WTVR)
* Herbie Hancock still experimenting after six musical decades (Vancouver Sun)
* When Mingus met Mitchell (Jazz Journal)
* The Black Swan: A History of Race Records (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Snapshot NY: Tiny Harlem Apartment Home To Popular Jazz Parlor (NewYork.CBSLocal.com)
* Artist Spotlight: Vijay Iyer (Jazz Times)
* An Eight-Second Film of 1915 New Orleans and the Mystery of Louis Armstrong’s Happiness (The New Yorker)
* Kamasi Washington Says Security Guard Assaulted His Father at Austria Show, Cuts Set Short (Pitchfork.com)
* ‘Getz At The Gate’: A Scintillating Performance By A Dynamic Stan Getz (UDiscoverMusic.com)
* Sun Ra: The Philadelphia Years (RedBullMusicAcademy.com)
* Sisters of Swing (Vanity Fair)
* 'We need to put inclusion at the start of the process': the disabled musicians making their own instruments (The Guardian)
* Ernest Dawkins on AACM, Conduction and Dictators (DownBeat)
* Seamus Blake Is Playing Between Many Worlds (Jazz Times)
* Steps Taken That Could Determine The Fate Of The Former Home Of Jazz Musician Cab Calloway (Baltimore.CBSLocal.com)
* Finding 'The Balance': Jazz Legend Abdullah Ibrahim Looks To Past, Present And Future (NPR)
* Ban Brass Bands On Frenchmen? (Offbeat)
* Mini model of Stonehenge created by scientists could reveal how the ancient monument SOUNDED during the mysterious rituals held at the site more than 2,000 years ago (Daily Mail)
* A jazz legend said he was in desperate need of money. His friends had questions (Washington Post)
* An Alternate Canon of Afrofuturist Classics (RedBullMusicAcademy.com)
* Jimmie Vaughan Digs into Covers (DownBeat)
* Flutes you: Lizzo and the woodwind renaissance (The Guardian)
* The Legacy of Live Aid, 30 Years Later (The Atlantic)
* The Science of Sound: An Interview with Alvin Lucier (SecondInversion.com)
* In Conversation: The Fast-Paced Life of Bill Frisell (Jazz in Europe)
* Janis Siegel: Answering the Calling of Vocal Jazz (Jazz Times)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Charlie Hunter Trio with Lucy Woodward



This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring guitarist Charlie Hunter's latest trio with singer Lucy Woodward and drummer Keita Ogawa, who are coming to St. Louis to perform on Sunday, July 28 at Off Broadway.

Hunter, whose distinctive technique on the seven-string guitar lets him play leads, bass lines and accompaniment more or less simultaneously, has played St. Louis a number of times in recent years with various configurations of musicians. And while he's frequently used the trio format, most often it's been with a saxophonist out front, so bringing in a vocalist instead definitely puts a different spin on his sound.

Hunter and Woodward first connected more than a year ago, when she stepped up to perform on a tour Hunter originally had booked with Mexican singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada, whose visa application was denied at the last minute by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

They've followed up that first tour with more live dates and, in April of this year, an album, Music!Music!Music!, which includes their interpretations of songs from a variety of sources, from Blind Willie Johnson and Bessie Smith to Nina Simone and Terence Trent D’Arby.

Today's videos show them performing most of the material from that album and more, starting in the first video up above with "Spoonful," the Willie Dixon tune made famous by Howlin' Wolf.

That performance was recorded in 2018 at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City, as was “Can’t Let Go," the first video after the jump.

Next is the Hunter/Woodward version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You," recorded in February 2018 at the GroundUp Music Festival in Florida.

If you're up for more after that, the last three videos all show full sets of music - the first recorded in April 2019 at Ambrose West in Asheville, NC, the second in February, 2018 at The Acoustic in Bridgeport, CT, and the last one at the Red Light Cafe in Atlanta, also in February 2018.

For more about Charlie Hunter, Lucy Woodward and Music!Music!Music!, read the review of the album from AllAboutJazz.com's Doug Collette; the review of their show in April of this year at Indianapolis' Jazz Kitchen by AAJ's Patrick Burnette; and Woodward and Hunter's joint interview published in April in the Greenville (SC) Journal.

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* In conjunction with the release earlier this year of the Miles Davis set The Complete Birth Of The Cool, UDiscoverMusic.com gathered a panel in Los Angeles for a discussion of the album's impact, legacy and lasting influence; working with the master tapes to produce the new reissue; and Davis' fight for African-American rights. You can hear highlights from the discussion here.

* Drummer Dave Weckl (pictured), who was back home here last month to play at rthe Chesterfield Jazz & Wine Festival, has added a new 2.5 hour drum recording course to his online school at daveweckl.teachable.com.

* Radio station WSIE and its general manager Jason Church were the subjects of a feature story in the Alton-area news site Riverbender.com

* Saxophonist Carlos Brown Jr. was interviewed about his gig this weekend at Jazz St. Louis by the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson. (Link is paywalled.)

 * As reported by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn, multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo is one of three local musicians featured in Nature of Sound, a new short film produced and directed by St. Louisan Jon Alexander.


* Nearly a decade after ending their first attempt at podcasting, Jazz St. Louis is trying again with a podcast called "Jazz Happens," with production outsourced to Konfluenz Studios, a St. Louis based company that produces several other podcasts, none music-related.

Unfortunately, while the format is on point - interviews with touring musicians who are in town to play gigs at the Bistro - and the production values are solid enough, the podcast's hosts* seem to know very little about jazz, or even the basics of how to conduct an interview. Even worse, they seem to have done very little to no research about their subjects.

The results, as sampled in brief snippets of various episodes by yr. humble editor, range from insipid to awkward to downright cringeworthy, as in the interview with Anat Cohen, which begins with one of hosts asking her if she still lives in Tel Aviv (her hometown).

Cohen, clearly not amused, replied that, no, she's lived in the USA for more than 20 years - a fact both essential to her current career, since it was her move here in 1996 to study at Berklee that set up her subsequent accomplishments, and easily gleaned from the bio on her website, most of the interviews and feature stories published about her, or her Wikipedia page.

To sum up, while StLJN's journalistic mission compels us to inform you of this podcast's existence, it is not recommended that you listen to it. If you must, the eight episodes produced to date are archived on the Jazz St. Louis website.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Jazz this week: Tom McDermott, "Jazz in July" at Wash U, Carlos Brown Jr., and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features the return of a local expat who's become a popular practitioner of New Orleans piano styles; the start of a (brief) summer series of free music; the debut of a young saxophonist and bandleader at the city'stown's showcase club venue, and more. Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 10
This week's "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" will include Miss Jubilee at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session led by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and what is being touted on social media by trumpeter Kasimu Taylor as his group's final Wednesday night appearance at The Dark Room, at least for the time being.

Also on Wednesday, singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black are back at Scarlett's Wine Bar, now starting a recurring gig on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

Thursday, July 11
Pianist Tom McDermott (pictured, top left) will be back from New Orleans to visit his hometown and play a gig at Joe's Cafe & Art Gallery.

Also on Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents the first of three free "Jazz in July" concerts at Holmes Lounge, this week featuring the trio of pianist Kara Merhmann, bassist Ben Wheeler and drummer Jerry Mazzuca.

Elsewhere around town, singer and impressionist Dean Christopher bring his "Rat Pack and More" show to LoRusso's Cucina on the south side, and saxophonist Kendrick Smith and his trio will perform at The Dark Room.

Friday, July 12
Saxophonist Carlos Brown Jr (pictured, bottom left) plays for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis, singer Erin Bode performs at Focal Point, and trumpeter and vibraphonist Joe Bozzi and his band return to Evangeline's.

Saturday, July 13
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents their monthly jam session matinee, hosted by pianist Bob Row and drummer John Gillick at J P's Corner.

Later on Saturday, pianist Christopher Parrish plays a dinner set and keyboardist Andrew Stephen's Texturz takes the stage for the late show at The Dark Room; and singer and bassist Janet Evra performs at Evangeline's.

Sunday, July 14
Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes play for brunch at the Angad Arts Hotel (south of Powell Hall at the corner of Grand and Samuel Shepard Dr), while pianist Adam Maness is at Thurman's in Shaw.

Then on Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents Miss Jubilee in concert at the Oasis Room of the Moolah Shrine Center.

Monday, July 15
Keyboard player Ryan Benthall leads a trio at The Dark Room.

Tuesday, July 16
In what would seem to be an inevitable pairing of performers and venue, The Gaslight Squares will play a concert at the Gaslight Theater.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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, July 07, 2019

Sunday Session: July 7, 2019

Duke Ellington
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* Mo’ Fess: Professor Longhair’s band brings the magic back (Offbeat)
* Fight The Power: The Most Provocative Song Ever (BBC)
* The Lighthouse celebrates 70th year as bastion of jazz in Hermosa Beach (The Beach Reporter)
* Remembering American Roots Inspiration Delaney Bramlett (UDiscoverMusic.com)
* Ivan Conti’s Been Combining Jazz, Rock, Samba for Decade (DownBeat)
* Suzanne Ciani Gets Loud at the Library (Pro Sound News)
* Epidemic Sound raises $20M at a $370M valuation for its soundtrack music discovery and licensing platform (TechCrunch.com)
* The story of Duke Ellington’s Anatomy of a Murder score (Little White Lies)
* Rick Lawn: The Evolution of Big Band Sounds in America (AllAboutJazz.com)
* Spotify ends direct music uploads for indie artists (Engadget.com)
* Jazz Community Takes Action for Kenny Burrell (Jazz Times)
* Jimmie Vaughan: Emperor of Tone (Premier Guitar)
* Gibson Guitar Declares Shift In IP Enforcement After Most Recent Public Backlash (TechDirt.com)
* Stevie Wonder has ongoing medical issue but remains in 'great spirits,' friends say (Detroit Free Press)
* Stevie Wonder Announces Plans for Kidney Transplant Surgery: 'I Have a Donor, It’s All Good' (People)
* How music about space became music about drugs (MIT Technology Review)
* Dr. John: A Pianist’s Remembrance (Jazz Times)
* JazzTimes 10: Very Late Duke Ellington Albums (Jazz Times)
* João Gilberto, a pioneer of bossa nova, has died at 88 (CNN)

Saturday, July 06, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A jazz documentary film festival



Though this weekly feature typically previews concerts by bands and musicians coming to St. Louis in the near future, the next couple of weeks, alas, are pretty much devoid of touring acts of interest. So we're taking the opportunity to offer some programming for a lazy summer weekend in the form of a mini-festival of jazz documentaries available online.

The first selection, seen in the video window up above is 1959: The Year That Changed Jazz, a well-received BBC documentary that looks at the changes in jazz that started in 1959 as exemplified by four recordings released that pivotal year: Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um, and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come.

After the jump, you can see A Great Day in Harlem, a 1994 documentary about one of the most famous photos of jazz musicians in history - a picture taken by photographer Art Kane in 1958 for Esquire magazine, in which he depicted 57 of the top musicians of the time in front of a building on 126th Street in New York City. The film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

That's followed by To Bop or Not To Be: A Jazz Life, a 1990 documentary about Dizzy Gillespie by Norwegian director Jan Horne; The Universal Mind of Bill Evans a 1966 documentary featuring the famed pianist talking about the creative process; Music In The Key Of Oscar, a 1992 Canadian biographical documentary about pianist Oscar Peterson; and Saint John Coltrane - A Love Supreme, a BBC film about the saxophonist from 2004.

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