Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Session: July 22, 2018

Chucho Valdés
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:

* Major Labels Are Upset That They Aren’t Getting More Songs Onto Spotify Playlists, Deutsche Bank Says (
* Classical Composers Have Been Inspired For Centuries By Insects (NPR)
* Montreal Jazz Fest Shapes Surrounding City—and Vice Versa (DownBeat)
* The Stone: An Oral History - Musicians and scenesters recount their experiences at John Zorn's storied NYC venue (Jazz Times)
* Guru’s ‘Jazzmatazz’ Uniquely Tied Together Jazz and Hip-Hop (DownBeat)
* In Tandem, the Morans Expand Notions of Art (DownBeat)
* Mary Halvorson: Reinventing the Identity of the Jazz Guitarist (Jazz Times)
* Joey DeFrancesco on Working With Van Morrison (Jazz Times)
* Vijay Iyer: 'We're all improvisers and we're all creative people making choices every step of the way.' (
* Sound Matters: A History Of Legendary Recording Studios (
* The Perils Of A Cruise Ship Musician (
* Universal Music Group Is Making a Huge Move Into Nigeria (
* Billie Holiday: A Complex Woman, A Jazz Legend (
* Copenhagen Festival Spans Poetic Swing, Hard-Bop Themes (DownBeat)
* The Charles Lloyd Interview: Life of a Song (Jazz Times)
* George Wein: A Life and Legend in Jazz (
* The scam industry: How the hip-hop boom sets hopefuls up for failure (AV Club)
* Asante Drum Language (
* Chucho Valdés and Irakere: A Musical Revolution (
* Sun Ra in Sin City The origins of an outer-space empire (Lapham's Quarterly)
* The Music of Fred Rogers’ Neighborhood (Jazz Times)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on No BS! Brass Band

This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring the No BS! Brass Band, who are returning to St. Louis to perform on Wednesday, August 1 at the Old Rock House.

Coming out of Richmond, Virginia, the NBBB offers their own take on the classic New Orleans brass band tradition, adapting popular contemporary tunes from a variety of genres for the format, and performing their own originals as well. They've released five albums to date, the most recent being Brass Knuckles in 2015, and they've played here in St. Louis several times, including in June 2017 at the Old Rock House.

To help you get acquainted, StLJN has assembled a collection of videos that should provide an overview of their sound, starting up above with NBBB's cover version of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean," recorded in 2017 in Portland, OR.

After the jump, you can hear their spin on "Everybody Wants To Rule The World," a hit for 1980s new wave band Tears for Fears, as recorded in March 2017 in Richmond.

Next up, it's a track that NBBB released as a single in February of this year, a new version of their original tune "3 AM Bounce" featuring vocals from MC Chance Fischer.

That's followed by a cover of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," recorded in June 2017 at the Grog Shop live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio; a full set recorded in February 2015 for the web series Audiotree Live; and the NBBB's appearance on NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" from back in 2013.

For more about the No BS! Brass Band, read this interview with trombonist and co-founder Reggie Pace published in 2017 by the Richmond Navigator, and Pace's 2015 conversation with NPR's "Weekend Edition."

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The Steward Family Foundation, already a major benefactor of Jazz St. Louis, will give a total of $1.3 million over four years to the University of Missouri-St. Louis to establish the David and Thelma Steward Institute for Jazz Studies at UMSL.

Funds from the gift will be used to help with student recruitment and to support scholarships, artists-in-residence, travel to advance jazz education and performance, and UMSL’s summer jazz camp.

* Get It How You Live, the new release from trumpeter Russell Gunn's Royal Krunk Orchestra (pictured), has been out for a week, and reviews are coming in, so far including positive notices from and

* Gunn also was the subject of a recent feature story on

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold's performance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival was reviewed by the city's daily newspaper The Scotsman.

* Jazz/fusion band Koplant No has released a music video for their song "Knock Knock Ghost." The clip features dancer Belicia Beck of MADCO moving through spooky surroundings at the old Lemp Brewery complex.

* The recent performance of Bob Wetzel and Craig Becker's cabaret show "A Fine Bromance" at the Kranzberg Arts Center was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* Miles Davis' son Erin Davis wrote an article about his relationship with his dad for

* According to a report from the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson, trumpeter Herb Alpert's show on August 19 at the Grandel Theatre is sold out. (Link paywalled for non-subscribers)

* Also in the Post, Johnson interviewed Boney James in advance of the saxophonist's performance for the Gateway Jazz Festival this Saturday at Chesterfield Amphitheater. (Link paywalled for non-subscribers.)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Gaslight Cabaret Festival
announces Fall 2018 season

From left: Prince, Webb, McFadden
The Gaslight Cabaret Festival this week announced the schedule for their fall 2018 series, which will feature ten different performers and a total of fifteen performances over five weekends in October and November.

The series kicks off with performances on Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20 of a new version of "Broadway's Greatest Hits," with William Michals returning with a new female counterpart, Jillian Louis, and a new set of songs.

Other notable return engagements include Tony Award-winning Broadway performer Faith Prince (Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27) and singer/songwriter Jimmy Webb (Sunday, October 28), who wrote 1960s and '70s pop hits such as "By The Time I Get to Phoenix," "MacArthur Park," "Wichita Lineman," and "Up, Up and Away."

The series will mark the St. Louis cabaret debuts of Carrie St. Louis (Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3), who's starred in Broadway shows such as Wicked, Rock of Ages, and Kinky Boots, and Christina Bianco (Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17), whose comedic impressions of various famous female vocalists have gotten more than 24 million views on YouTube.

Other shows will include Bob Gerchen performing "Joe Cocker: Never Forget" on Thursday, November 1; Kansas City trumpeter and vocalist Lonnie McFadden, backed by pianist Ptah Williams' trio, on Thursday, November 8; and former St. Louisan Katie McGrath, doing a new show called "Aunt of the Year" on Friday, November 9.

In addition, St. Louisan Ken Haller will reprise his "Happy Haller Days!" on Sunday, November 10 and Sunday, November 18; and longtime vocal coach Caroline Zarinelli will debut her show "In Pursuit of Magic" on Sunday, November 11.

All shows begin at 8:00 p.m. at The Gaslight Theater. Single tickets range from $30 to $45, depending on the show and performance date, and are on sale now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jazz this week: Gateway Jazz Festival, celebrating Dennis Owsley, and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis includes a multi-artist bill of contemporary jazz and R&B, a celebration of a longtime local jazz radio personality, and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, July 18
The Ambassadors of Swing return to Tin Roof St. Louis, and singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will perform at Parkside Grille.

Also on Wednesday, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly "Broadway Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club, and Wright's Project plays jazz/fusion and funk at Al's Lounge.

Thursday, July 19
St. Louis Public Radio will celebrate broadcaster, author and photographer Dennis Owsley and his 35 years of service to the station and the local music community with a free, public event - including live music from saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, guitarist Eric Slaughter, bassist Jeff Anderson and drummer Steve Davis - at UMSL at Grand Center.

Also on Wednesday, Chicago saxophonist Greg Ward, out on the road with his trio for a brief tour, stops off for a performance at The Dark Room; guitarist Vince Varvel plays a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and singer Feyza Eren returns to Evangeline's.

Friday, July 20
Singer/songwriter Emily Wallace (pictured, bottom left) and friends, including members of the Funky Butt Brass Band, perform for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis; and Ken Haller reprises his popular cabaret performance "The Medicine Show" for the first of two nights at the Kranzberg Arts Center

Saturday, July 21
The Gateway Jazz Festival returns for its second year at the Chesterfield Amphitheater. This time, the bill includes saxophonist Boney James, trumpeter Cindy Bradley, and singer and guitarist Jonathan Butler (pictured, top left), plus singer Will Downing, keyboardist Alex Bugnon, and two of St. Louis' own, saxophonist Tim Cunningham and keyboardist Mike Silverman of Bach to the Future. 

You can check out videos of all these performers in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, The Gaslight Squares play traditional jazz at Das Bevo, and keyboardist Mo Egeston and friends hold down the late night slot at The Dark Room.

Sunday, July 22
The St. Louis Jazz Club presents the St. Louis Stompers at the  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis - Westport, and Miss Jubilee plays a free concert at Oak Knoll Park,

Monday, July 23
Dizzy Atmosphere plays vintage swing and Gypsy jazz at The Shaved Duck.

Tuesday, July 24
Bassist, guitarist and singer Tonina Saputo and her band host "The Tuesday Night Hit" at The Dark Room.

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, July 15, 2018

Sunday Session: July 15, 2018

Brian Blade
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:

* 'You can't judge a generation's taste': making Now That’s What I Call Music (The Guardian)
* Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band Leaves Michael Bourne Mouth Agape in Montreal (WBGO)
* Kamasi Washington, the wisest man on Earth (
* How did Irvin Mayfield, the man with the golden trumpet, end up in the poorhouse? (New Orleans Advocate)
* The Adventurous World of Brazilian Experimental Music (
* MIT Develops AI That Can Isolate and Edit the Individual Instruments in a Song (
* An AI system for editing music in videos (
* ‘Skyrockets in flight/Afternoon delight’: The story behind Starland Vocal Band’s one big hit (Washington Post)
* In Istanbul, a Display of National Music Culture (DownBeat)
* NEA Announces 2019 Jazz Masters (Jazz Times)
* Coltrane, Kamasi and the art of looking both directions at once (
* Synths may be spared worst of US trade war – for now (
* Global Notation: a new notation system for world music (
* The Jazz Pianist Who Made One Masterpiece And Disappeared (
* Before Björk, There Was the Last Incan Princess (
* How Ads Get Away with *Almost* Plagiarizing Existing Music (
* 10 Essential One-Track Albums (
* “A Band At The Top Of Their Game”: Ravi Coltrane Talks John’s “Classic Quartet” (
* New $50,000 prize in improvised music gives its first awards to Joe McPhee and Susan Alcorn (Chicago Reader)
* Ellis Marsalis Jazz Piano Competition Winners Announced (Jazz Times)
* The GroundUP Festival Brings Even More Heat to Miami, on Jazz Night in America (WBGO)
* Who Is Benefitting From the Nostalgic Vintage Releases in African Music? (
* The Sonic Arts Union’s Handmade Electronic Music, 1966-1976 (
* Chicago label Still Music rescues decades of house history from a south-side storage locker (Chicago Reader)
* A Conversation with La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and Jung Hee Choi (

Saturday, July 14, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Previewing the Gateway Jazz Festival

This week, let's take a look at some videos of the musicians who will be performing at the Gateway Jazz Festival, which will take place next Saturday, July 21 at the Chesterfield Amphitheater. Now in its second year, the festival will present a day-long program of contemporary jazz and R&B performers.

Here's a collection of recent clips featuring those artists, starting with the headliner, saxophonist Boney James, who can be seen up above performing "Tick Tock" in November 2017 at The Wave/Honda Soundstage in Los Angeles.

After the jump, you can see R&B vocalist Will Downing in an excerpt from his set in May of this year at the ATL Soul Life festival in Atlanta.

Next up is trumpeter Cindy Bradley, performing "Lifted" in January 2018 at the restaurant and music venue South in Philadelphia.

Then it's singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler, playing "Living My Dream"  in january at the 2018 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim, CA.

That's followed by a clip of keyboardist Alex Bugnon, performing his version of War's 1970s hit "The World Is A Ghetto," also recorded last year at South.

Finally, there are videos of the two St. Louis musicians who will be opening the show, both recorded by the prolific St. Louis videographer James Ross (aka JRoss-TV).

Saxophonist Tim Cunningham is featured in the sixth clip, performing "That's What I Like" in a show earlier this year at the Sheldon Concert Hall, and pianist Mike Silverman is seen in the seventh and final clip, showing off the new Steinway piano acquired earlier this year by his Clayton Studios facility.

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

Friday, July 13, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & LInks

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

* St. Louis Public Radio will honor broadcaster, author and photographer Dennis Owsley (pictured) for 35 years of service to the station and the local music community with a celebration to be held at 7:00 p.m. next Thursday, July 19 at UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St.

The event is free and open to the public, and will include live music from saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, guitarist Eric Slaughter, bassist Jeff Anderson, and drummer Steve Davis.

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold's recent gig at Ronnie Scott's in London was reviewed by Jazz in Europe.

* Harrold also was profiled briefly as one of "18 New Artists in the SFJAZZ 2018-19 Season."

* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo was the subject of a feature story by St. Louis Public Radio's Jeremy Goodwin.

* Saxophonist, clarinetist and U City native Marty Ehrlich was interviewed in DownBeat on the occasion of the release of latest album, Trio Exaltation.

* A recent performance by Grant Green’s Evolution of Funk at the Jazz Standard in New York was reviewed by Jazz Times. The group, which features Green's son Grant Green, Jr on guitar, was formed in part to promote Resonance Records' recent release of previously unheard live recordings by the elder Green.

* Multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman has just released a new album titled Ukulele Nuthouse.  The recording features Weltman on ukuleles and harmonica with various accompanists, performing a mix of originals and covers,  and is available now from the usual digital outlets and from CD Baby.

* Keyboardist Ryan Marquez did a brief Q&A about jazz/funk band The People's Key's new album Unlocking Doors with the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson.

* The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis has announced its grants for the coming presenting season, and some local arts organizations are upset about a new evaluation system that has resulted in 40 groups that previously had received money from RAC getting no funding at all for 2018-19.