Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jazz this week: Harry Connick Jr, Take 6,
"A Very Manley Christmas" and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features one last round of holiday music performances, including shows from two noteworthy touring headliners, plus some local favorites.

Let's go to the highlights...


Wednesday, December 19
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band will present the final two performances this year of Ellington's "Nutcracker" at Jazz St. Louis.

Also on Wednesday, Cabaret Project of St. Louis has their monthly "Singers Open Mic" at Sophie's Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club; and the weekly "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features the Jazz Troubadors at The Stage at KDHX, the jam session hosted by bassist Bob Deboo at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, December 20
Pianist and singer Harry Connick Jr. (pictured, top left) celebrates this holidays New Orleans style at the Stifel Theatre; vocal group Take 6 teams up with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for the standing-room-only "A Gospel Christmas" at Powell Hall; and singer and impressionist Dean Christopher presents a "Rat Pack Christmas" at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Friday, 
December 21
Trumpeter Jim Manley (pictured, bottom left) and his Mad Brass and Rhythm band present "A Very Manley Christmas" for the first of two nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Also on Friday, singer Tony Viviano and band will perform seasonal favorites and more at  Table Three; keyboardist Owen Ragland's quintet plays at The Dark Room; and pianist Adam Maness' trio plus singer Malena Smith will be back at Sophie's Artist Lounge.

Saturday, December 22
Musicians including Webster Groves High School band director Kevin Cole, multi-instrumentalist Kevin Mitchell and friends will perform in a late-afternoon matinee benefit for the WGHS jazz band at Hwy 61 Roadhouse in Webster.

Saturday evening, piano and cello duo HämmerString plays at Evangeline's, and saxophonist Dave Stone and his trio will be at Thurman's in Shaw.

Sunday, December 23
Miss Jubilee performs for brunch at Evangeline's, while mandolinist Knez Jackovac and band are playing at The Dark Room.

Then on Sunday evening, there's one last chance for the year to hear some holiday-themed jazz, from singer Anita Jackson 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 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, December 16, 2018

Sunday Session: December 16, 2018

Nancy Wilson
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:

* American Pop Music No Longer The Global King, But Its Christmas Music Can't Be Beat (Forbes.com)
* The Untold Labor That Helped Make Charlie Chaplin’s Film Scores (The Atlantic)
* Michael League: Snarky Puppy's Jazz-Schooled, Grassroots Visionary (AllAboutJazz.com)
* John Scofield: Old and New Inspirations (DownBeat)
* Blood on the Tracks: How Bob Dylan Birthed Bootleg Culture (ConsequenceOfSound.net)
* Jason Moran offers sublime tribute to WWI hero and ragtime pioneer James Reese Europe (Washington Post)
* Charles Lloyd is not into ‘ageism.’ The musician still loves touring at 80 (Durham Herald-Sun)
* The Wild Story Behind Aretha Franklin’s Long-Delayed Documentary (Vulture.com)
* Dave Douglas Interview (BurningAmbulance.com)
* We Jazz Festival Fosters Surprise and Discovery in Helsinki (DownBeat)
* Rediscovered Duke Ellington Film to Be Reshown After More Than 50 Years (Jazz Times)
* In a world of ‘algorithmic culture,’ music critics fight for relevance (Columbia Journalism Review)
* Wayne Shorter: How the Future Would Be (Stereophile)
* Streambait Pop - The emergence of a total Spotify genre (TheBaffler.com)
* Interview with Billy Cobham – Crosswinds and more! (Jazz in Europe)
* WFMU’s Free Music Archive Is Saved, Moving to New Home (Pitchfork.com)
* Donny McCaslin: In a Different Place (Jazz Times)
* Is It Important To Own Music? (Offbeat)
* The Cure, Janet Jackson, Radiohead Among Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Inductees For 2019 (NPR)
* John Coltrane’s Giant Steps and My Favorite Things Earn Gold Status (Jazz Times)
* Nancy Wilson, Legendary Vocalist And NPR 'Jazz Profiles' Host, Dies At 81 (NPR)
* Placemakers: Why Midsize Cities Are the Next Music Hubs (Hypebot.com)
* Van Morrison Discusses How Music Used to Be More Spontaneous and Communal (The New Yorker)
* Photographer Spends 10 Years Tracking Down The Original Locations Of Vinyl Covers (Demilked.com)
* 15 Saxophone Albums You Should Hear (SFJAZZ.ORG)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Winter/spring 2019 jazz preview, part one



This week, it's time for the first installment of StLJN's winter/spring 2019 preview, presenting videos of the most noteworthy jazz and creative music performers who will be visiting St. Louis in the next few months.

First up are The Bad Plus who, in what has become an annual tradition, will start the new year with a week of performances beginning Wednesday, January 2 and continuing through Sunday, January 6 at Jazz St. Louis.

You can see them in the embedded video up above, which was recorded April 28, 2018 at the Tbilisi Jazz Festival in Georgia (the country, not the US state) and includes performances of "Seams," "Commitment," and "Anthem For The Earnest."

After the jump, the first clip features percussionist Mike Dillon, who will be here with his band for a show on Friday, January 4 in the cozy confines of Pop's Blue Moon. The video show Dillon and company performing "Robo Tripping Vikings" as recorded for the web series "Jam in the Van" in 2017 in Los Angeles.

Next, it's saxophonist Donny McCaslin, who will return with his quartet to play Wednesday, January 16 through Sunday, January 20 at Jazz St. Louis. The video shows the McCaslin group's entire set from the 2018 JazzBaltica festival in Germany.

That same week, New Music Circle will begin the second half of their 60th season with a concert featuring electronic musician and composer Sarah Davachi and saxophonist and composer Lea Bertucci each playing a solo set on Saturday, January 19 at a new venue for the organization, Link Auction Galleries in the Central West End.

Davachi can be seen in the third clip after the jump, which documents a solo performance in February 2018 at The Echo in Los Angeles, California, while Bertucci is featured in the fourth clip, in which she plays "Patterns for Alto" in the studio for Blue Room, a video series from Brooklyn-based production company ThrdCoast.

Also that same week, brothers Michael Silverman and Rob Silverman of Silverman Productions will present their second "Winter Jazz Festival" on Saturday, January 19 at the Grandel Theatre. The concert will feature bassist John Patitucci and drummers Brian Blade and Lucrezio de Seta, along with the Silvermans' group Back to the Future, keyboardists Jay Oliver, Mo Egeston, and Ptah Williams, and more.

The next video features Patitucci, along with guitarists Steve Cardenas and Adam Rogers and drummer Nate Smith, in a full set recorded in January 2018 at the "Bass Bash" staged as part of the annual NAMM trade show in Anaheim, CA. 

After that, you can see Patitucci, Blade and pianist Danilo Perez, who released a trio album last year called Children of The Light, playing a full set last July at the Jazz à Junas festival in France.

The final clip shows de Seta and his trio playing the John Coltrane composition "Lonnie's Lament" during a gig in January, 2018 at Casa del Jazz in Rome.

Look for part two of StLJN's winter/spring 2019 preview next week in this space. You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

Friday, December 14, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Singer and pianist Harry Connick Jr. (pictured) talked about his holiday show next Thursday at the Stifel Theatre for a Post-Dispatch story by Dan Durchholz.

* Multi-instrumentalist and singer Tonina Saputo came in at number eight on NPR's list of "Best New Artists of 2018."

* Singer Storm Large's "Holiday Ordeal" show this past Tuesday at the Sun Theatre was reviewed by KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi.

* Multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris was interviewed by St. Louis Public Radio's Don Marsh about his musical direction for Metro Theater Company’s “Wonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure,” which runs through December 30 at the Grandel Theatre.

* St. Louis Symphony oboist Callie Banham's new Christmas album, which includes musical contributions from pianist Adam Maness, bassist Bob DeBoo and drummer Montez Coleman, is the subject of a feature story by the Riverfront Times' Christian Schaeffer.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Jazz this week: Robert Glasper, Geoffrey Keezer, Kirk Whalum's "Gospel According to Jazz Christmas," and more

This week's calendar of live jazz and creative music in St. Louis features performances from two top-shelf piano players, plus a whole lineup of holiday performances and more.

Let's go to the highlights...

Wednesday, December 12
Pianist Robert Glasper will perform with his trio for the first of five nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Glasper (pictured, top left), has spent the past year working on a variety of projects, including dates with the electrified "supergroup" R+R=NOW, production work for several other artists, and a month-long residency in October at the Blue Note in NYC, so a week's worth of shows with his trio should be a prime opportunity for some back-to-basics music-making for the versatile pianist.

Also on Wednesday, the "Grand Center Jazz Crawl" features the Beto Jazz Trio at The Stage at KDHX, the weekly jam session at the Kranzberg Arts Center, and trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at The Dark Room.

Thursday, December 13
Pianist Geoffrey Keezer (pictured, center left) leads a trio in a one-night-only concert at pianist Peter Martin's Open Studio, located inside the Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive St. in the Grand Center district.

Starting as an 18-year-old phenom with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Keezer over the last three decades has compiled an impressive list of credits and recordings, working with current stars like Christian McBride and Chris Botti as well as elders like Blakey, bassist Ray Brown and Benny Golson. You can check out some samples of his playing on video in this post from two Saturdays ago.

Also on Thursday, singer Erin Bode returns to Edwardsville for her annual show at the Wildey Theatre, and saxophonist Ben Reece's trio Threebird is back at The Dark Room.

Friday, 
December 14
Saxophonist Kirk Whalum (pictured, bottom left) brings this year's edition of his "Gospel According to Jazz Christmas" show, with guest stars including percussionist Sheila E, and singers Lynn Mabry, John Stoddart and  Kevin Whalum, to Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

This is the seventh annual outing for Whalum's holiday show, and you can find out more about it and see some video samples of the saxophonist in action in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band present the first of five "Holiday Brasstravaganza" shows this year at Off Broadway. Though the family-friendly matinees already are sold out, some tickets may remain for the evening shows; call ahead or check Off Broadway's website for availability.

Elsewhere around town, the Second Generation Swing Band plays for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom, and guitarists Farshid Soltanshahi and Dave Black and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman team up for a show at The Focal Point.

Saturday, December 15
The Oikos Ensemble, featuring saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie, pianist Carolbeth True and more, will welcome vocal ensemble Java Jived as special guests for their annual "Jazz Noel" concert at Parkway United Church of Christ. (They'll present the same program again on Sunday afternoon at the First Congregational Church in Webster Groves.)

Also on Saturday, keyboardist Mo Egeston and friends will be serving up late night grooves at The Dark Room.

Sunday, December 16
Miss Jubilee performs for brunch at Evangeline's.

Monday, December 17
The 442s and various friends. including singers Erin Bode and Brian Owens, pianist Peter Martin, and more, present the first of two performances of their "Holiday Spectacular" at 560 Music Center, with a second show set for Tuesday night. Both performances were close to selling out at publication time, so if you don't already have tickets, be sure to call ahead regarding availability.

Tuesday, December 18
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band will perform Duke Ellington's arrangements of music from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker", plus additional Ellingtonia, for the first of three nights at Jazz St. Louis.

Also on Tuesday, trumpeter Jim Manley and guitarist Rick Haydon will play 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 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, December 09, 2018

Sunday Session: December 9, 2018

Dexter Gordon
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:

* All-too-easy listening - The music industry sells classical as soothing background music — robbing a great art of its power (Washington Post)
* Marcus Strickland Harnesses Power of Vocalists, Organ on Latest Album (DownBeat)
* The Multiple Personalities of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (ConsequenceOfSound.net)
* Jeff Simon: Is posthumous jazz a problem or a glorious resurrection? (Buffalo News)
* Wynton Marsalis: Jazz And Holiday Music Go Together Like Holly And Ivy (HoustonPublicMedia.org)
* Esperanza Spalding says goodbye to song-driven shows (Washington Post)
* It’s official: Galactic has purchased Tipitina’s (Offbeat)
* This Thing Never Stops: Roscoe Mitchell and Phillip Greenlief in Conversation (SFMOMA.org)
* Jazz Is Dance Music Again (Rolling Stone)
* The Life Force of Esperanza Spalding (OfficeMagazine.net)
* The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition Has a Winner (WBGO)
* Classical Hands: Composer Kris Bowers on Scoring ‘Green Book,’ Teaching Mahershala Ali Piano, Seeing His Hands On Screen (Pollstar)
* The good fight: Jan Ramsey keeps music journalism alive in New Orleans (Columbia Journalism Review)
* St. Nick: The Long, Strange and Wonderful Career of Nick Lowe (Rolling Stone)
* Interview: Milford Graves (Modern Drummer)
* Can We Get to That (Oxford American)
* Indie Labels Now Account for 39.9% of the Global Recorded Music Market (DigitalMusicNews.com)
* Dexter Gordon Biography 'Sophisticated Giant' Chronicles a Jazz Life (Billboard)
* The Unclassifiable, Unstreamable Eighties Albums of Annette Peacock (The New Yorker)
* Sachal Vasandani Celebrates the American Songbook (Jazz Times)
* At 80, Saxophonist Charles Lloyd Finds Enlightenment in the Groove (NPR)
* Jazz legend Herbie Hancock becomes first musician to receive Ben Franklin Medal (WHYY)
* Hi Records star and instrumental hitmaker Ace Cannon dead at 84 (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
* Selling Vintage Records in Tokyo (LongReads.com)
* Covering both sides: Catherine Russell and John Pizzarelli (Santa Fe New Mexican)
* Playing the theory of relativity: Sunny Murray in Europe 1968–72 (The Wire)
* Daversa, Salvant, Mehldau Nominated for Grammy Awards (DownBeat)
* 'Fight The Power': A Tale Of 2 Anthems (With The Same Name) (NPR)
* Feds allege wider cover-up by Irvin Mayfield, Ronald Markham in New Orleans Library Foundation scandal (New Orleans Advocate)

Saturday, December 08, 2018

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Kirk Whalum's "Gospel According to Jazz"



This week, let's take a look at some videos featuring saxophonist Kirk Whalum, who's bringing the seventh annual edition of his "Gospel According to Jazz Christmas" show to St. Louis next Friday, December 14 at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

The show, a spinoff from Whalum's series of "Gospel According to Jazz" albums that began back in 1998, each year features several guest stars, with the 2018 lineup including percussionist and vocalist Sheila E. plus singers Lynn Mabry, John Stoddart, Kevin Whalum (who is Kirk's younger brother), and St. Louis' own Brian Owens.

You can get a feel for the mood of the evening from the first video up above, which features Whalum and fellow saxophonist Gerald Albright on a medley of holiday tunes recorded in 2015 at Molloy College in New York.

After the jump, you can see singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler and Whalum, recorded last year here in St. Louis at the Friendly Temple by videographer James Ross, as Butler offers his interpretation of the seasonal staple "Sleigh Ride."

The remaining four videos offer a sampling of various recent Whalum performances, starting with "Groverworked and Underpaid" as recorded at the 2017 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.

That's followed by Whalum playing "Sunday's Best," originally released in 2015 on his fourth "Gospel According to Jazz" album; and
the saxophonist and his brother Kevin Whalum in 2013 performing "My One and Only Love," from their tribute to the historic album of standards recorded in the 1960s by John Coltrane and vocalist Johnny Hartman.

Last, but not least is a version of a song included on the third album in the "Gospel..." series, "God Has Smiled On Me," featuring on vocals Kirk Whalum's uncle Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, who's now retired but was a mainstay of the St. Louis jazz scene from the Gaslight Square era through the late 2000s.

For more about Kirk Whalum, read this review of last year's holiday show by AllAboutJazz.com's K Shackleford; this feature from April 2018 about a "Gospel According to Jazz" show at the Berks Jazz Festival in Reading, PA; and this brief feature from the July 2018 Atlantic magazine, in which Whalum talks about gospel's influence on popular music.

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

Friday, December 07, 2018

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold was part of a panel with writer Nate Chinen and musicians Terence Blanchard and Camila Meza discussing the evolution of jazz at the BRIC JazzFest 2018 last month in Brooklyn, NY. You can see the entire discussion on video here.

* A new box set compiling the Art Ensemble of Chicago's recordings for ECM also includes four of trumpeter and St. Louis native Lester Bowie's albums as leader for the label in the 1980s, plus two featuring Bowie (pictured) as part of Jack DeJohnette's New Directions.

* The Riverfront Times' Daniel Hill reports that drummer Kevin Bowers' band Nova will perform next month at the Winter Jazzfest in New York City.

* Singer Storm Large's show "Holiday Ordeal," happening next Tuesday at the Sun Theatre, was previewed in an article for the Post-Dispatch by Daniel Durchholz.

* Also in the Post-Dispatch, saxophonist Dave Koz talked about his holiday show next Tuesday at Family Arena for an article by the Post's Kevin Johnson.