Saturday, August 30, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
2014 fall jazz preview, part 1



This week, StLJN presents the first part of our video preview of the fall 2014 season of jazz and creative music in St. Louis. Today's installment covers the touring bands and musicians visiting during the month of September.

First up is a clip featuring Roomful of Teeth, the Grammy winning new music vocal ensemble, performing Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw's "Passacaglia" in June 2009 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. They'll be in St. Louis for a concert next Friday, September 5 at 560 Music Center.

After the jump, you'll find a video of the trio Thumbscrew performing bassist Michael Formanek's "Still...Doesn't Swing" at a gig in April 2012 at Sycamore in Brooklyn, NYC. Formanek, drummer Tomas Fujiwara and guitarist Michael Formanek will play here on Friday, September 12 at Joe's Cafe in a concert presented by New Music Circle.

Below that, it's Pieces Of A Dream jamming out on their "Mount Airy Groove" in January of this year at the Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The group, which in this clip includes original members Curtis Harmon (drums) and James Lloyd (keyboards) plus Tony Watson Jr. (saxophone, keyboard), Rohn Lawrence (guitar), and David Dyson (bass), will be the headlining act at the free outdoor U City Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 13 in Heman Park.

In the fourth slot, you can see a full set by saxophonist Joe McPhee, cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and percussionist Michael Zerang, aka Survival Unit III, recorded in December 2013 at the Jazzhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark. The trio will be in St. Louis on Friday, September 19 to play at Joe's Cafe.

Next up, it's a full set from the eclectic groove band Snarky Puppy recorded live at the 2014 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia. They'll return here to perform on Sunday, September 21 at the Old Rock House.

The next clip features singer Storm Large, who will kick off the fall edition of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival on Saturday, September 27 at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups. Large is seen here singing "Angels In Gas Stations" in June of this year at the Faculty Club of the University of California - Berkeley.

Today's final video features percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and a performance of his Gong Orchestra project in 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Nakatani will return on Tuesday, September 30 to Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center for another performance of the Gong Orchestra, for which he recruits a cast of musicians in each city where the work is performed.

Look for part two of the 2014 fall jazz preview next week. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, August 29, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Saxophonist Greg Osby did a brief Q&A for the website of the Pew Foundation, which made him one of their Pew Fellows in 2012.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake (pictured) has announced some major NYC gigs for this fall, including a show with his big band on Saturday, September 13 at Iridium and a week of performances leading various ensembles from October 21 through October 26 at The Stone.

* In other Lake-related news, here's a review of the reissue compilation Oliver Lake: The Complete Remastered Recordings on Black Saint and Soul Note from Tim Niland of the blog Music & More.

* Pianist Jay Oliver has put online a video of "Incantation," a solo improvisation he recorded for Convergence, the new album from drummer Dave Weckl. The album, which also features fellow St. Louis native Tom Kennedy on bass, as well as Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Gary Meek, Dean Brown, Brandon Fields and more, can be obtained via Weckl's website.

* Former St. Louisan Benjamin Cawthra, author of the book Blue Notes in Black and White, blogged some thoughts about the situation in Ferguson.

* Most of the remaining jazz-related artwork from the collection of the late Richard McDonnell, founder of the indie label MAXJAZZ, now are scheduled to be sold in an auction to be conducted by Link Auction Galleries on Saturday, September 13. You can see items from McDonnell's collection that will be in the sale (and place online bids) starting here.

* Lindy Hop St. Louis was featured in a short video produced by the Riverfront Times.

* Singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black were interviewed last week on KMOX (1120 AM) by "Route 66" host Ron "Johnny Rabbit" Elz.

* Bassist Mark Wallace is the latest subject of St. Louis magazine's recurring feature "Seven Questions With..."

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis' “Somethin’ Else,” host Calvin Wilson spotlights the music of pianist Cecil Taylor. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.

Meanwhile, over across the river in Edwardsville, WSIE (88.7 FM) has scheduled a new program called "St. Louis Jazz Talk" that will air at 11:00 a.m. Sundays beginning September 8. The show will be hosted by WSIE's Dick Ulett and musicians Mike Silverman, Robert Silverman, and Erika Johnson, and will feature interviews with and recordings by St. Louis musicians.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jazz this week: Gateway Jazz Festival,
MOAJE jam session, and more

As the dog days of August wind down and we look forward to the start of the fall presenting season, here's a look at some of the more noteworthy live jazz performances happening in and around St. Louis this Labor Day weekend.

On Friday night, singer Ann Dueren's trio will provide the music for the annual Queeny Park Art Fair; The Sidemen will play at Evangeline's; guitarist Tom Byrne's trio will perform at Thurman Grill; saxophonist Kendrick Smith leads a trio at Cigar Inn; and Boisiac will do a late-night set at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Saturday afternoon, British clarinet phenom Julian Bliss will present a free public clinic/workshop at Saxquest.

Saturday evening, singer Feyza Eren and pianist Carolbeth True will duet at The Wine Press; singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Randy Bahr will perform at Mahogany Grille in the Omni Majestic Hotel downtown; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will take the stage at Thurman Grill; and drummer Montez Coleman leads a trio at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club will present their second "Gateway Jazz Festival" at the DoubleTree Hotel St. Louis at Westport, featuring sets from Cornet Chop Suey (pictured), Red Lehr's Powerhouse Five, St. Louis Stompers, Miss Jubilee and more during two sessions on Sunday and a daytime session on Monday. 

Also on Sunday, the Missouri Association for Jazz Education will sponsor a jam session at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company; saxophonist Jim Stevens returns to The Loading Dock in Grafton; and vibraphonist 
Peter Schlamb will be back in town to lead a trio in a concert at the Kranzberg Arts Center

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the St. Louis Jazz Club's "Gateway Jazz Festival" continues during the day; and that evening the improvising ensemble Numbers, featuring pianist David Parker and drummer Charles "Bobo" Shaw, will perform at the Tavern of Fine Arts. 

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.)

Fall edition of Gaslight Cabaret Festival
starts Saturday, September 27

The fall season announced by cabaret producers The Presenters Dolan will include return performances from singers Steve Ross, Storm Large, and Karen Mason, as well as a weekend of shows from Chicago-based performers; encores and new shows from several St. Louisans; and more.

Billed once again as the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, the slate encompasses 19 performances by 15 different acts over eight weekends. Storm Large (pictured) will kick off the festivities at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 27 with a performance of her show "Le Bonheur (Good Times)" at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

The rest of the performances will be presented at the Gaslight Theatre, starting with a reprise of Katie McGrath's "Love in the Desert: Romance in an Age of Scarcity" on Saturday, October 11. Next up is Mason with "Secrets of the Ancient Divas" on Friday, October 17 and Saturday, October 18.

"An Evening with Steve Ross" will be presented on Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25, while the weekend of Chicago performers will include Beckie Menzie & Tom Michael's "That 60's Show" on Friday, November 7 and Joan Curto singing songs by Cole Porter on Saturday, November 8.

The following weekend will feature shows by New York-based performers Sheri Sanders, a veteran of numerous Broadway rock musicals, on Thursday, November 13; and Carole J. Bufford, who will present her show "Body & Soul" on Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15.

St. Louis performers in the festival will include Ken Haller, Joe Dreyer & Rosemary Watts, Christopher Limber, Meghan Kirk (who recently returned from Los Angeles), Antonio Rodriguez (who recently moved to Chicago), and Lara Teeter, who will wrap things up with an encore of his show "Lucky To Be Me" on Saturday, November 22.

All shows (except for Storm Large) will start at 8:00 p.m. at the Gaslight Theater. Ticket prices range from a top of $45 for Large to $35 and $40 for the other visiting performers and $22 or $25 for local acts. You can see a complete schedule of shows and prices here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Summer 2014 jazz film festival, part three



The original plan for this week to post some videos of Spyro Gyra and Mindi Abair, the headliners of the Eco Music Festival that had been scheduled for next Saturday at the Chesterfield Amphitheater.

But since that show was canceled a couple of days ago under somewhat mysterious circumstances, and the first of this year's "fall jazz preview" posts isn't ready yet, we're going to extend our summer jazz film festival for one more week, starting with a thorough look at one of Miles Davis' most important collaborators, the composer, arranger and pianist Gil Evans.

The first video up above is a 1997 documentary film about Evans, who arranged the music for Davis' Sketches of Spain, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and other recordings in the late 1950s and early '60s.

After the jump, you can see two full shows of Evans' own orchestra. The first is from 1976 in Barcelona, Spain, and featuring Evans on electric piano with a band including Jon Faddis and Lew Soloff (trumpets), Janice Robinson (trombone), Bob Stewart (tuba), George Adams (tenor sax), John Clark (French horn), Pete Levin (synthesizer), Van Manakas (guitar), Mike Richmond (bass) and Sue Evans (drums).

The second was recorded just a couple of month before Evans' death in 1988 at the NYC club Sweet Basil, where the orchestra held forth every Monday night for more than five yeas in the 1980s.

Along with Evans himself, this expanded version of the band including his son Miles Evans, Lew Soloff and Shinzo Ono on trumpets; Dave Taylor and Dave Bargeron (trombones); Alex Foster (tenor sax); Chris Hunter (alto sax), John Clark (French horn), Tom "Bones" Malone (baritone sax, tuba), Gil Goldstein and Pete Levin (synthesizers); Hiram Bullock (guitar); Mark Egan (bass); and Danny Gottlieb (drums).

After that, it's Different Drummer, a brief 1979 documentary about drummer Elvin Jones that was produced and directed by filmmaker Edward Gray; and Earl Hines, a biographical look at the classic jazz pianist from 1975 that was directed by the Scottish TV documentarian Charlie Nairn and photographed by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges.

We wrap up today's collection of clips with The Sound of Jazz, which was recorded in 1957 for the CBS television series Seven Lively Arts and was one of the first major programs featuring jazz to air on American network television.

The film features a veritable galaxy of jazz stars of the time, including Count Basie, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Billie Holiday, Jo Jones, Coleman Hawkins, Henry "Red" Allen, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Russell, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Giuffre, and more.

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Keep On Keepin' On, the documentary film about the relationship between trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry and his student, the blind 23-year-old pianist Justin Kauflin, gets an official theatrical release starting Friday, September 19 with a premiere at the Arclight Theater in Los Angeles. Before that, though, the movie, which already has been shown at several film festivals, will play on Friday, August 29 at the Vail Jazz Festival in Colorado.

The film also is the subject of a feature story this week in USA Today, and the official trailer released this week was featured on on the film site IndieWire. (You can see it in the embedded video window below.)



* Get the lowdown on the Music Record Shop, an all-vinyl store that's the latest addition to the Grove district, via the Riverfront Times' Rick Giordano.

* Here's a video excerpt from drummer Andre Boyd's recent clinic at Sound Attak in London.

* KDHX (88.1 FM) is collecting items today and tomorrow for St. Stephens Food Bank in Ferguson. In addition to food, St. Stephens also has a need for paper goods, diapers and baby wipes, and toiletries. Items can be dropped off from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday at the Magnolia Café in the station's new HQ at 3524 Washington Ave in Grand Center.

* One of three men charged in the fatal shooting of Patrice Thimes, sister of singer Denise Thimes, pleaded guilty Thursday in the crime and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Patrice Thimes was killed on St. Patrick's Day in 2011 when she unknowingly drove into the middle of a gun battle in midtown. Two other defendants are awaiting retrial after jurors in May could not reach a verdict.

* Jazz radio update: On Saturday night's episode of “Somethin’ Else,” on Radio Art Foundation - St. Louis, host Calvin Wilson will be spinning the music of Brazil's Antonio Carlos Jobim as interpreted by Esperanza Spalding, Nellie McKay, Javon Jackson, and more. The program con be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, and online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen

Then Sunday on KWMU, "Jazz Unlimited" will feature the eighth part of host Dennis Owsley's 10-part documentary series on the history of St. Louis jazz. "The 1990’s-Rebuilding the Scene” covers events including the founding of the MAXJAZZ label and Just Jazz, the club in the Hotel Majestic that eventually evolved into the Jazz at the Bistro series. "Jazz Unlimited" can be heard from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays over the air at 90.7 FM and online at http://www.stlpublicradio.org/listen.php.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jazz this week: Trebor Tichenor memorial concert, Dave Dickey Big Band, and more

With tensions easing somewhat even as protest demonstrations continue in Ferguson, and hot, steamy weather settling in for a few days, it's starting to seem a bit more like a typical late August in St. Louis. And while the weather forecast has prompted cancellations of a couple of outdoor shows, there's still jazz happening around town during these "dog days." Let's go to the highlights...

On Friday, singer Anita Rosamond will be performing a free outdoor concert at Ferguson CityWalk, which is located in the old downtown area of Ferguson. Though the concert was scheduled long ago as part of a series of monthly shows promoting the downtown district, it should provide a welcome opportunity for people in the community to come together and, we hope, peacefully enjoy some of Rosamond's pop, R&B and jazz stylings.

Also on Friday, singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet at Nathalie's; Miss Jubilee plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; jazz/fusion group Boisiac performs at Cigar Inn, singer Ann Dueren's trio will be back at Il Bel Lago; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to C.J. Muggs in Webster Groves.

On Saturday, while the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has scrubbed their show at Kirkwood Park Amphitheater in anticipation of a heat index of more than 100 degrees, performances taking place in air-conditioned comfort that evening will include singer Wendy Gordon at Choice Restaurant, saxophonist Rod Tate at DeLeo's Cafe & Deli, and saxophonist Jim Stevens with keyboardist Rocky Mantia at the River City Casino's 1904 Steakhouse

Outdoors on Sunday, Dizzy Atmosphere will play a set of string-band swing and Gypsy jazz at the Festival of Nations in Tower Grove Park, an event that also features many other musical performances; and Cornet Chop Suey will be playing traditional New Orleans style jazz and swing in a free concert at Carondelet Park.

Indoors that afternoon, ragtime pianists and enthusiasts from all over will gather for an event paying tribute to the late pianist, historian and St. Louis native Trebor Tichenor (pictured) at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Performers will include pianists David Thomas Roberts, Terry Parrish, Rich Egan, Brian Keenan, Dave Majchrzak and John Hancock; Tichenor's long-running band, the St. Louis Ragtimers; his son Andy, a trumpeter, and daughters Virginia, a pianist, and Anna, a violist; and more.

Also on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band plays their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, with an intermission set from the Columbia Jazz Orchestra.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday singer Dean Christopher will be bringing his "Rat Pack & More" show back to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar, while saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

On Tuesday, singer/pianist Jesse Gannon continues his weekly residency at the Engine Room, and jazz-fusion band Common Time will be at BB'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 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.)

Concert with Spyro Gyra, Mindi Abair canceled; Ferguson unrest cited

Promoters of the Eco Music Festival have canceled the event, which was to have featured Spyro Gyra, Mindi Abair (pictured) and two St. Louis acts in concert on Saturday, August 30 at the Chesterfield Amphitheater.

No replacement date was announced, and although a story by Calvin Wilson on STLtoday.com refers to the event as "indefinitely postponed," an email from a representative of promoters Sky Promotions used the word "canceled," suggesting that none will be forthcoming.

The email also stated that "the processing of refunds on Eventbrite is underway," but the Eventbrite page for the concert still had no mention of any cancellation, postponement or refund procedure as of 12:15 p.m. Thursday. However, the show has been removed from the Chesterfield Amphitheater site, and the URL ecomusicfestivals.org that originally was used to promote the event is now redirecting to the EventBrite page.

Wilson's story says that the promoters are citing the current unrest in Ferguson as the reason for the cancellation; the story also drily notes that the Chesterfield Amphitheater is located more than 20 miles away from Ferguson.

Given that promoters were still soliciting vendors for the event via Twitter as recently as this past Tuesday, August 19 - 11 days after people took to the streets to protest the shooting of 18-year-old Mike Brown by a Ferguson police officer - and tensions on the ground there seem to have eased somewhat since then, one can't help but wonder what's happened in the last two days to prompt the cancellation now. Perhaps a report indicating poor advance ticket sales?
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