Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Session: March 24, 2019

Kahil El'Zabar
Here's a roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* What Happens if Google Buys the World’s Biggest Music Company? (Rolling Stone)
* Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (Jazz Journal)
* Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes review – pristine doc of tonal clarity (The Guardian)
* Dick Dale, godfather of surf guitar, dies aged 81 (The Guardian)
* Nat King Cole Still Remains 'One Of The Great Gifts Of Nature' 100 Years Later (NPR)
* Myspace lost all the music its users uploaded between 2003 and 2015 (Boing Boing)
* Verve Celebrates Norman Granz’s Vision (DownBeat)
* ‘It Was A Social Revolution’: The Turkish Embassy’s Surprising Role In Desegregating D.C. Jazz (WAMU)
* Lionel Loueke’s Winding Musical Journey (Jazz Times)
* On the Road With Jacob Collier (Mother Jones)
* Avant garde jazz and black rights activism in 1960s Cleveland, Ohio: an interview with Mutawaf A Shaheed (The Wire)
* Andre Williams: farewell to R&B's raunchiest raconteur (The Guardian)
* Bacon fat, corn liquor, and tail feathers: remembering R&B legend Andre Williams (Chicago Reader)
* Dick Dale, the Inventor of Surf Rock, Was a Lebanese-American Kid from Boston (The New Yorker)
* Class Struggle at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Jacobin)
* “Music Is A Portal”: Sophie Huber On Blue Note Documentary ‘Beyond The Notes’ (
* Brian Auger: Bridging the gap (Jazz Journal)
* Here are some of the weirdest musical instrument ideas from NAMM (Create Digital Music)
* E.J. Strickland – A warrior for peace (Jazz in Europe)
* ‘Contours’: How Sam Rivers Hit New Heights Of Creativity (
* Boz Scaggs Premieres 'Little Miss Night and Day' Video, Talks Next Moves (Billboard)
* History Disappeared When Myspace Lost 12 Years of Music, and It Will Happen Again (
* Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies Acquires Chico O'Farrill Music & Archives (Billboard)
* Kahil El’Zabar on the Expansiveness of Music History (DownBeat)
* Bright Moments with William Parker (Jazz Times)
* "It identifies what I believe from here": Sam Moore reflects on his hit "Soul Man" (CBS News)
* What Does A New Orleans Music Industry Actually Mean? Guest Editorial (Offbeat)
* Interview: Factory Manager Forrest White on the Truth Behind "Fender Fiction" (
* Rosanne Cash Opens Up About Her #MeToo Experiences -- And How The Industry Can Avoid Further 'Collateral Damage' (Billboard)
* Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift (
* Adonis Rose: To Swing Toussaint (Jazz Times)

Saturday, March 23, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Ahmad Jamal

This week, let's check out some videos featuring pianist Ahmad Jamal, who will be performing Saturday, March 30 at the annual benefit gala for the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries.

Jamal, who's now 88 years old and plays only a select number of dates per year, is a native of Pittsburgh who began his musical career in the late 1940s, reaching international stardom a decade later with the release of his album Live at the Pershing. Recorded at a Chicago hotel lounge where Jamal had a house-band gig, the album featured a version of what would become his signature song, "Poinciana," and stayed on the charts for more than two years.

Jamal's sparing approach, making ample use of long vamps and space within the music, caused some to deride him at the time as a mere "cocktail pianist," but he also made many fans, including Miles Davis, who praised Jamal's "concept of space, his lightness of touch, his understatement."

And as we now know, history would seem to have proven the naysayers wrong, as Jamal has enjoyed continued influence and popularity to this day and has earned many honors around the world, including being named an NEA Jazz Master in 1994, entering DownBeat's Hall of Fame in 2011, and winning a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

You can see and hear Jamal perform "Poinciana" in the first video up above, recorded in 2012 at the Olympia in Paris with bassist James Cammack, percussionist Manolo Badrena, and drummer Herlin Riley.

After the jump. you can see how Jamal applies his distinctive approach to the familiar standard "Autumn Leaves," as performed in 2017 in Paris with the same band.

That's followed by a version of "Blue Moon," recorded in 2014 at the Jazz in Marciac festival in France, with Riley, Badrena, and Reginald Veal on bass, and then a performance of Jamal's own "Autumn Rain" with the same musicians at the 2012 Les Nuits D'Istres festival in France.

The last two videos go quite a bit farther back, providing an opportunity to see how Jamal's style has evolved over time. The fifth video documents a full set by Jamal in 1999 at a festival in Germany, while the sixth and final clip is from 1971, when Jamal was the featured performer in an episode of the French TV program Jazz Session.

For more about Ahmad Jamal, read his 2017 interview with DownBeat; writer Ashley Kahn's 2002 feature about Jamal that was republished in 2017 by JazzTimes; and Jamal's 2018 interview with Wax Poetics.

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

Friday, March 22, 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 their ongoing series of features about the best record stores in every state, has named Vintage Vinyl (pictured) as the "Best Record Store in Missouri."

* As part of a group of "in memoriam" articles in the March issue of Jazz Times, saxophonist Oliver Lake offered a poetic tribute to his late friend and bandmate Hamiet Bluiett. Lake performs tonight at Xavier Hall on the St. Louis University campus.

* Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, in town last weekend for a series of events promoting the premiere of his opera Fire Shut Up In My Bones later this year at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, was interviewed by Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio.

* Also on St. Louis Public Radio, singer Beverly Brennan was interviewed about her cabaret show "Love and Marriage," which she'll perform tonight at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

* Pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio has posted to YouTube a full-length video of last week's concert featuring guitarist Romero Lubambo, pianist Helio Alves, drummer Edu Ribeiro, and bassist Bob DeBoo.

* Voting in St. Louis magazine's annual "A-List" poll is now open, and while there are no jazz-specific categories, you can cast a ballot for your favorite music venues, festivals, and more here.

* Two former Miles Davis sidemen are getting attention for new projects paying tribute to their old boss, as saxophonist Dave Liebman was interviewed in DownBeat about his new album re-visiting Davis' music from On The Corner, while multi-instrumentalist/producer Marcus Miller was featured in Parade magazine for two Davis-related concerts this month at Jazz at Lincoln Center..

* Phil Dunlap, who has run education and community outreach programs for Jazz St. Louis for the past 12 years, is leaving the organization to take a new job as director of cultural affairs for Broward County, FL, running that county's equivalent to the Regional Arts Commission. Dunlap will depart JSL at the end of April; there's been no announcement yet about a successor.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Jazz this week: Ralph Towner, MarchFourth, Oliver Lake, Bonerama, Michael Bublé, Oz Noy, Dave Weckl & Jimmy Haslip, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis is jam-packed with so many noteworthy shows that it defies easy summary, so in the interest of getting to the good stuff as soon as possible, let's go to the highlights...

March 20
Guitarist Ralph Towner returns to play a solo concert at Graham Chapel on the Washington University campus. (For more about Towner and some video samples of his work, see this post from before his last appearance here in 2017.)

Also on Wednesday, the eclectic mutant-marching-band MarchFourth returns for a performance at the Old Rock House; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge; and pianist Reggie Thomas and the Jazz St. Louis Big Band celebrate the "Nat "King" Cole Centennial" with a free performance as part of the the "Whitaker Jazz Speaks" series at Jazz St. Louis.

Thursday, March 21
The 442s play original instrumental music at Joe's Cafe, and guitarist Billy Barnett will perform in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Friday, March 22
The Nu-Art Series and St. Louis University  present saxophonist Oliver Lake (pictured, top left) in concert at Xavier Hall on the SLU campus.

The former St. Louisan and co-founder of the Black Artists Group and the World Saxophone Quartet will be reciting some of his poetry as well as playing music, with some help from pianist Greg Mills, trumpeter and Nu-Art Series impresario George Sams, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd.

For more about Lake and his artistic pursuits in music, poetry, and painting, see this post from last Saturday. 

Also on Friday, Bonerama (pictured, center left) presents their Led Zeppelin tribute show at The Bootleg at Atomic Cowboy; pop-jazz crooner Michael Bublé will perform at the Enterprise Center; and the Funky Butt Brass Band plays for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Saturday, March 23
NYC-based band The Bailsmen will play vintage swing and Gypsy jazz at Focal Point, and a series of shows celebrating the release of the new book St. Louis Sound kicks off with "St. Louis Sound: Experience Jazz," featuring sets from Tonina, the Adam Maness Trio, and trumpeter Danny Campbell with guest vocalist Anita Jackson, at the Grandel Theatre.

Also on Saturday, pianist Carolbeth True and Two Times True return to the Parkside Grille, and trumpeter Jim Manley leads a quartet at Evangeline's.

Sunday, March 24
Israeli-born jazz-fusion guitarist Oz Noy wraps up his current tour with drummer and St. Charles native Dave Weckl (pictured, bottom left) and bassist Jimmy Haslip with two shows at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Monday, March 25
Singer and impressionist Dean Christopher returns with his "Rat Pack and More" show to One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; and Webster University's Student Jazz Combos perform at Webster's Community Music School.

Tuesday, March 26
Nashville-based ensemble The Cosmic Collective plays at Evangeline'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 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, March 19, 2019

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue to perform Friday, June 7 at The Pageant

New Orleans multi-instrumentalist and singer Trombone Shorty and his band Orleans Avenue are returning to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 7 at The Pageant.

Shorty (pictured) last played here in August 2015 at Ballpark Village. His most recent album Parking Lot Symphony was released in 2017 on the Blue Note label.

Tickets for Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are $40 for reserved seats, $30/$35 for general admission (advance/day of show), with a $2 surcharge for minors, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, March 22 via Ticketmaster.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Session: March 17, 2019

Tomeka Reid
Here's a roundup of various music-related items of interest that have shown up in one of StLJN's various inboxes or feeds over the past week:

* Lennie Tristano at 100 — Scenario for a Jazz Legend (Town Topics)
* First Listen: The Comet Is Coming, 'Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery' (NPR)
* Separated by 50 Years, Israels, Diehl Find Common Ground (DownBeat)
* More evidence of sound waves carrying mass (
* In Focus: Joe McPhee (
* Deep Dive: Odds 'n' Ends About Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young and "Jazz" Itself (WBGO)
* Makaya McCraven: The Brain Behind The Mind-Bending Beats (NPR)
* Hal Blaine, Drummer Behind the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” Dead at 90 (
* Delfeayo Marsalis bringing everything from New Orleans but the cuisine to Lied Center (Lincoln Journal Star)
* How we made Booker T and the MGs' Green Onions (The Guardian)
* Fort Apache: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful (Jazz Times)
* On the Road with Cellist Tomeka Reid (DownBeat)
* Blue Note Launches Vinyl Reissue Series (Keyboard)
* Joe Lovano: The intimate moment of now (
* Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Four Classic Albums (Jazz Journal)
* Sidewinder: The Murder of Lee Morgan (
* Rebuilding the ARC: America’s Largest Music Collection Needs Your Help (Rolling Stone)
* No Man's Band: All-Female Jazz Orchestras Then and Now (NPR)
* A Short History of… The Legend of Buddy Bolden (Jazziz)
* Wearing headphones at a concert isn’t as weird as I thought it would be (
* Welcome to Birdpunk: A Subculture of a Subculture (Audubon)
* A brief history of why artists are no longer making a living making music (
* How the 45 RPM Single Changed Music Forever (Rolling Stone)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The eclectic artistry of Oliver Lake

This week, StLJN's video spotlight shines on musician, painter, poet, and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake, who's coming to town to perform in a concert sponsored by the Nu-Art Series and St. Louis University next Friday, March 22 at Xavier Hall on the SLU campus.

Lake will joined for the performance by pianist Greg Mills, trumpeter and Nu-Art Series impresario George Sams, and dancers Antonio Douthis-Boyd and Kirven Douthis-Boyd, and, in keeping with the "Jazz 'N Tongues" theme of Nu-Art's current slate of shows, he'll read some of his poetry as well as playing saxophone.

Though born in Arkansas, Lake grew up and spent his formative musical years here in St. Louis, helping co-found the famed Black Artists Group in the late 1960s before moving away to pursue his career. With fellow former BAG members Hamiet Bluiett and Julius Hemphill (plus tenor saxophonist David Murray), he then went on to found the critically acclaimed and influential World Saxophone Quartet, which brought new ideas about arrangements and rhythm sections (or the lack of same) from the avant-garde towards - if not fully into - the mainstream.

In the 1990s, Lake co-founded another significant ensemble, Trio 3, with bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille, and they've continued to reunite periodically for new projects to this day. But it is as a solo artist that Lake has been most prolific, releasing more than 40 albums as a leader with various ensembles, many on his own Passin' Thru label.

For many years a resident of Montclair, NJ, Lake also spends a good deal of time these days on his visual art, as described in the first video up above, a feature story about him produced last year for a local PBS affiliate.

After the jump, you can see a couple of videos from 2018 featuring Lake and his big band, recorded during the Vision Festival at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY and at the DC Jazz Festival in Washington.

Next are recently posted clips of Lake with two different trios - the Crash Band Trio, with drummers Bill McClellan and Reggie Nicholson, recorded during the Bang on a Can Marathon in May, 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum; and a set of music from October, 2014 with guitarist Vernon Reid and drummer Marlon Browden, recorded at John Zorn's venue The Stone in NYC.

Those are followed by two samples of Lake reading his poetry, a work called "Do you remember the time?" recorded in 2010 in Pittsburgh, and "Poem for Amiri Baraka" from the 2014 Vision Festival.

Finally, you can see a short video that Lake made last year for Jazz at Lincoln Center's education department, in which he discusses his process for composing and gives some advice to students.

For more about Oliver Lake, read his 2017 interview with Bandcamp Daily, and the interviews published in 2015 on Revive Music and on pianist Ethan Iverson's blog Do The Math.

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

Friday, March 15, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Today is the release date for The Sound of St. Louis - Jazz Compilation Volume 1, an album featuring original music from the nine participants in the Kranzberg Arts Foundation's music artists-in-residence program.

The album (pictured) will be available on streaming services, as a digital download, and as a CD, which will be sold locally at Vintage Vinyl, Music Record Shop, and Euclid Records, and at various KAF-affiliated venues such as Sophie’s Artist Lounge and The Dark Room.

* In more album-release news, singer Erin Bode is reissuing her 2016 album Here and Now as a vinyl LP, and will perform on Thursday, April 11 at The Sheldon to commemorate the event

* One of singer Marilyn Maye's performances last week with the Jazz St. Louis Big Band was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja was interviewed about her new album Intuition by the St. Louis American's Kenya Vaughn.

* Also as reported in the American, four branches of St. Louis County Library now offer musical instruments, including guitars, keyboards and hand drums, that can be checked out by library patrons for free.

* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina was profiled for a new local website,, by writer Daniel Durchholz.

* NPR once again this year is holding a contest for unsigned musical acts that would like to perform in a Tiny Desk Concert, filmed at the network's HQ in Washington DC. Local affiliate St. Louis Public Radio has details on the contest and how to enter here.