Monday, December 09, 2019

John Pizzarelli to perform Saturday, April 18 to benefit Sheldon Educational Programs

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli will returning to St. Louis next year to perform in a benefit for the Sheldon Educational Programs at 8:00 p.m.,  Saturday, April 18 at The Sheldon.

Pizzarelli (pictured) will be highlighting music from his latest recording For Centennial Reasons: 100 Year Salute to Nat King Cole, which was released in February of this year.

As the name suggests, the album features music associated with the late pianist and composer who has been a major influence on Pizzarelli's style, and is his third recording paying tribute to Cole, following 1994's Dear Mr. Cole and 1999's P.S. Mr. Cole.

A frequent visitor to St. Louis who has become a local favorite over the years, Pizzarelli was here most recently this past May, teaming up with singer Catherine Russell for a week of shows at Jazz St. Louis that featured the music of Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

Patron tickets for the benefit at The Sheldon are on sale now at $150 per person, and include a pre-concert reception, complimentary parking, preferred seating, and a tax deduction. To purchase, call The Sheldon at 314-533-9900 or order online.

Concert-only tickets will be priced at $50 for orchestra seating, $45 for front balcony, and $40 for rear balcony, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 6 via The Sheldon's box office and Metrotix.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Sunday Session: December 8, 2019

Roscoe Mitchell
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* 'A Tribute To Mose Allison' Celebrates The Music Of An Exciting Jazz Master (NPR)
* Why Don’t We Appreciate Local Music, And Why We Should (Offbeat)
* Crossing the Streams (Revisited) (The Big City)
* Musicians Reach Tentative Deal with Film and TV Studios - But No Streaming Residuals (
* Bass clarinetist Jason Stein’s Hearts and Minds (
* John and Alice Coltrane’s jazz perennial philosophy (
* Dr. John Mined Spiritual Connections (DownBeat)
* Historic Meeting: Valdés & Corea Collaborate in NYC (DownBeat)
* Iconic Southern rock recording studio is revived in Georgia (Associated Press)
* The Nat King Cole Harvest Is In (Jazz Times)
* Annie Clark: Down the Rabbit Hole with St. Vincent (Tape Op)
* This Rhodes College professor became the expert voice in Lil Nas X, 'Old Town Road' debate (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
* Capricorn Records: Dickey Betts, Alan Walden & More on the Iconic Southern Label's 50th (Billboard)
* 2019 Parliamentary Jazz Award winners (London Jazz News)
* Philadelphia Jazz Project launches first graphic novel (Philadelphia Inquirer)
* Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between (
* Evgeny Pobozhiy Tops Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition (DownBeat)
* Shabaka Hutchings In Conversation With Art Ensemble Of Chicago's Roscoe Mitchell (
* Darlene Love Calls out ‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ Snub (Rolling Stone)
* The World’s Weirdest Guitar Mods and Builds (Premier Guitar)
* Art Ensemble of Chicago: “We were young and foolish. Now we’re old and foolish, but we’re still happy and still trying” (Jazzwise)
* Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Fosters Connection Between Cuban Music, Jazz (DownBeat)
* I Heard God in a Grain of Sound (The Stranger)

Saturday, December 07, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Winter/spring 2020 jazz preview, part one

With 2019 winding down and 2020 coming up fast, it's time for StLJN's semi-annual video preview of bands and musicians who will be coming to St. Louis to perform over the next few months. Today's post is part one of the winter/spring 2020 preview, starting with what's coming up in January and continuing chronologically in subsequent posts.

First up are The Bad Plus, who will keep up their decade-plus long tradition of being the first visiting act to play the Bistro at the start of a new year when they return to perform Wednesday, January 8 through Sunday, January 12 at Jazz St. Louis. They can be seen in the first video up above, which chronicles their visit in March 2019 to the studios of public radio station KNKX in Tacoma, WA.

After the jump, you can see the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, who will be making their St. Louis debut starting Wednesday, January 22 through Sunday, January 26 at Jazz St. Louis. The video shows them in May 2019 at Paste Studios in New York City, playing a short set that includes "Brotha James," "Memphis" and "Hole in One."

Next, it's pianist Matthew Shipp, who will be returning to play in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Friday, January 24 at 560 Music Center. The video shows him in a solo performance in July of this year at Michiko Rehearsal Studio in New York City.

The following week, the cabaret series co-produced by Jazz St. Louis and Cabaret Project of St. Louis will welcome singer and actor Norm Lewis, who replaces the originally announced Lindsay Mendez. Lewis, who will perform on Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30 at Jazz St. Louis, is seen in the third video after the jump singing "Home" from the Broadway show The Wiz in September 2019 at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City.

Following Lewis that same week, the Bistro also will host the Jazz at Lincoln Center Group, an ad hoc ensemble put together from among musicians visiting to do educational residencies for Jazz St. Louis. In this iteration, the group includes saxophonist Camille Thurman, trumpeter Pharez Whitted, bassist Endea Owens, and drummer Steve Fidyk, who will team up to perform on Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1 at Jazz St. Louis

Thurman can be seen in the fifth video with her band, the Darrell Green Trio, playing a show last week in the studios of WGBH radio in Boston. That's followed by a clip of Whitted and his group, recorded in October 2017 at BLU Jazz+ in Akron, OH.

The penultimate video is an episode of the web series "The Indie Beat" from November 2018, featuring an interview with and performance by Endea Owens. And last but not least, the final clip features Steve Fidyk, performing "Time Check" in 2008 as a tribute to Buddy Rich with the US Army Blues band.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump. Look for part two of the winter/spring 2020 jazz preview next week in this space.

Friday, December 06, 2019

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The first episode of saxophonist David Sanborn's new web video series "Sanborn Sessions" went live online this week on Tuesday. You can see the episode, which features pianist and singer Kandace Springs, in the embedded video window up above or on YouTube.

* St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts is co-sponsoring a workshop on "Understanding Taxes for Music Professionals" starting at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, December 7 at the offices of TechArtista, 4818 Washington Blvd in the Central West End. See details and registration information here.

* Singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja was interviewed by the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson.

* STLtoday also published a photo set from Olatuja's opening night performance on Wednesday at Jazz St. Louis. She continues there through Sunday evening.

* Composer and French horn player David Amram shared some Miles Davis anecdotes in a feature story published by

* Singer Lisa St. Lou's show last week at Blue Strawberry was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* Before the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's performance this past Wednesday at Powell Hall, bandleader and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis was interviewed by St. Louis Public Radio's Jeremy Goodwin.

* Also as reported in the Post-Dispatch, the south side venue Foam, which over the last ten years has hosted free improv performances among its eclectic variety of live music, will close permanently on Sunday, December 29.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Jazz this week: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Alicia Olatuja, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a return visit from one of the top big bands working today and homecoming shows from a couple of St. Louis natives, plus a bunch of holiday-themed performances and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, December 4
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will be getting in the seasonal spirit with a program called "Big Band Holidays" at Powell Hall.

Also on Wednesday, singer and St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja performs for the first of five nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Olatuja (pictured, top left) earlier this year released her second album, Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women, which features original material and songs from female composers including Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush and more. For more about that, plus some videos of recent live performances by Olatuja, check out this post from Saturday before last.

Thursday, December 5
Pianist Kim Portnoy and guitarist William Lenihan will lead a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Also on Thursday, singer Debby Lennon presents her cabaret show "My Favorite Christmas" at Blue Strawberry, and the Funky Butt Brass Band will be "warming up" for their annual Holiday Brasstravaganza later this month with a performance at Joe's Cafe.

Friday, December 6
Singer and St. Louis native Craig Pomranz (pictured, bottom left) will be back home for a visit from his current digs in NYC to perform his cabaret show “The Power of Song!” for one night only at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Also on Friday, singer and impressionist Dean Christopher brings his "A Rat Pack Christmas"  show to Blue Strawberry, and Miss Jubilee returns to the Frisco Barroom.

Saturday, December 7
Singer Anita Jackson will perform for brunch at The Dark Room, and singer Wendy L. Gordon and friends return for a matinee at Hwy 67 BBQ.

Saturday evening, Wright's Project will play funk and fusion at Troy's Listening Room, and keyboardist Mo Egeston and company are back at The Dark Room.

Sunday, December 8
The St. Louis Jazz Club's annual Christmas party will feature traditional jazz and swing from Cornet Chop Suey at the Moolah Shrine Center, and the UMSL Jazz Orchestra, Vocal Point and Wind Ensemble will present their free, annual "Jazz for the Holidays" concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Also on Sunday, the students of the City of Music All-Star Chorus and North County Big Band will perform in a free concert at The Sheldon, and The 442s make a special appearance at Thurman's in Shaw

Monday, December 9
Dizzy Atmosphere returns to the The Shaved Duck.

Tuesday, December 10
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band will perform Duke Ellington's arrangements of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" plus additional Ellingtonia for the first of three nights at Jazz St. Louis; and guitarist Vincent Varvel and bassist Ben Wheeler will play a duo 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 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, December 01, 2019

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's the start of another new month, and that means it's time to check in on StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, where each day there's posted a different online music video, drawing on genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental, and more.

The most-watched videos added to the site last month were:

Cecil Taylor Orchestra From Two Continents - Live in Paris
Gary Clark Jr. - "Come Together"
Van Morrison - "Bring It On Home To Me"
Art Ensemble of Chicago - Live at the Jazz & Wine of Peace Festival
Billy Cobham's Glass Menagerie - Live in Switzerland

Other recent posts have included videos featuring performances by Sarah Vaughan, Keith Jarrett, Memphis Slim, Barney Kessel, The Who, Milt Jackson, Sonic Youth, The Specials, Robert Cray, Velvet Underground, Philip Glass, Cameo, SFJAZZ Collective, Vivian Stanshall's Big Grunt, Anthony Braxton's Sonic Genome, Bruford, Johnny Shines, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, Esperanza Spalding, Wayne Shorter Quartet, Santana, Joe Pass & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Frank Zappa, and Kamasi Washington.

If you have yet to check out the site, no worries - all of these videos are still available, along with thousands more from the archives, by visiting

Sunday Session: December 1, 2019

Azar Lawrence
Here's this week's roundup of various music-related items of interest:

* 63 years after jazz great Louis Armstrong played at Muhlenberg, long lost concert set for release (The Morning Call)
* Sun Ra and Me | “It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet?” (The Metropolitan)
* Meet the man who restores old music to its original glory (Popular Science)
* Samara McLendon Wins the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (WBGO)
* Paper Trail: Where You Can Find the Historical Documents of Jazz (Jazz Times)
* Cyrille Aimée Is Moving On (Jazz Times)
* Spotify Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit Over Intentional Copyright Infringement, Deceptive Trade Practices (
* Are your favorite Instagram guitarists faking their incredible technique? (Guitar World)
* Dave Holland: “You can improvise in open-form style for as long as you like, but you’ll never improvise ‘Giant Steps’” (Jazzwise)
* The Pristine Empire of ECM Records (The New Yorker)
* The Loneliness of a Highbrow Teenage Songwriting Robot (
* Sun Ra Arkestra’s June Tyson Was the Queen of Afrofuturism (
* The Who by Fire (Rolling Stone)
* A Half-Century Not Out: Art Ensemble Of Chicago Live (
* Jazz Legend Charlie Parker Honored With Global Bird 100 Centennial Celebration (
* 12 Erroll Garner Albums Reissued in Octave Remastered Series (DownBeat)
* Hank Mobley, The Master of Contrasts (DownBeat)
* Sheila Jordan, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Veronica Swift: Three Generations of Vocal Jazz (Jazz Times)
* Why New Orleans jazz legend Buddy Bolden's house should be saved (New Orleans Advocate)
* The unlikely tale of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?': An 'OK song that became something much better than it actually was' (Yahoo News)
* “Music Affects Us In A Healing Way”: Azar Lawrence Is On A Mission (
* Anne Midgette - Classical Chronicler Supreme (Perfect Sound Forever)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Fred Frith

This week, let's have a look at some videos featuring guitarist Fred Frith, who's coming to St. Louis to perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Saturday, December 14 at Joe's Cafe. While he's in town, he also will present a free master class on Sunday, December 15 at the 14th St. Artists Collective in north St. Louis.

Fred Frith, who turned 70 this year, was born in Sussex, England and first came to wide attention in the late 1960s and early 70s as a member of the art-rock band Henry Cow. His 1974 album Guitar Solos made a splash showcasing his unusual approach to improvising, using lots of effects and deploying various found objects, including ball bearings, egg beaters, drumsticks and many more, both to strike the guitar and sometimes to "prepare" it in a manner recalling John Cage's prepared pianos.

In 1979, Frith moved to New York City, where he became part of the then-burgeoning downtown experimental music scene, which led to him forming groups such as Massacre and Skeleton Crew and eventually, collaborating with Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett, Mike Oldfield, The Residents, John Zorn, Bill Laswell, and many others.

Frith in the 1980s also began writing music for dance, film, and theater. After spending a couple of years living in Germany, he moved in 1997 to Oakland, CA to join the faculty at Mills College, where he taught composition until retiring last year, all the while maintaining an active performing and recording schedule.

For his St. Louis show - his first since a duo performance with John Zorn many years ago at The Sheldon - Frith will be playing solo, and so today, we've collected some performance videos including four solo shows, starting up above with a full performance recorded in April of this year at the Torino Jazz Festival in Turin, Italy.

After the jump, there are two more solo concerts, from February 2019 in Ottensheim, Austria and June 2016 in Paris, France.

Next is a combination solo performance and Q&A session recorded in January 2013 in New York City, in which Frith plays and also talks about five of his favorite songs, followed by another older solo show from March 2007 in Mexico City.

The final video shows Frith and his West Coast trio with bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Jordan Glenn in December 2018 at Starline Social Club in Oakland, CA.

For more about Fred Frith and his distinctive approach to guitar, check out his interview from 2013 with the website Prepared Guitar, his 2014 interview with Chicago Reader, conducted by experimental filmmaker Lori Felker, and his 2016 Q&A with

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