The major touring jazz attraction in St. Louis this week is the 2008 edition of Guitars and Saxes, which will be here on Sunday to play The Pageant as part of Rick Sanborn's "Smooth Summer Party" series. The featured performers for this year's version of Guitars and Saxes are guitarists Peter White and Jeff Golub, saxophonist Gerald Albright and keyboard player Jeff Lorber (pictured) .
Though the Guitars and Saxes headliners may have the marquee names, there's also plenty of good music this week from St. Louis' hometown talent, including several free concerts. The freebies start this evening, when Le Jazz Hot, featuring pianist Ptah Williams, saxophonist Chad Evans, drummer Bensid Thigpen and bassist Darrell Mixon, performs a free concert as part of the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden
On Thursday, there are two more free shows, as pianist Curt Landes plays for the summer Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, and the Whitaker Urban Evenings series at St. Louis Place Park (located at Rauschenbach Ave and St. Louis Ave) kicks off with a concert by singer Kim Massie. Working his second job as a blues harmonica player, Jazz St. Louis executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford and the Blues Inquisition will open the show for Massie.
On Friday and Saturday, you can get in a jazz-funk groove with Adaron "Pops' Jackson, keyboard player for the group Good 4 The Soul, as he performs the music of the Crusaders during a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro, or soak up a retro-Vegas vibe from singer Dean Christopher, who brings his Rat Pack-themed show featuring the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and more.for two nights at the Cabaret at Savor. Also this weekend, Cookie's Jazz and More will present two longtime St. Louis favorites, with Trio Tres Bien and singer Danita Mumphard taking the stage on Friday and singer/pianist Sherry Drake doing "A Tribute To Ella" on Saturday.
Sunday offers two more free performances, with the internationally known baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and his Improvising Youth Orchestra playing outdoors at Ivory Perry Park, while Black Artists Group presents "Sworn To The Drum" featuring "Baba" Mike Nelson and friends indoors at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site's Rosebud Cafe. Also on Sunday, there's a blues benefit show for former Ike and Tina Turner saxophonist Jim Koerber at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. Though you probably won't hear any jazz at this last performance, there will be a nice selection of St. Louis blues talent, including the Soulard Blues Band and the Mighty Big Band, performing for a good cause.
For more St. Louis jazz-related events this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.
(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.)
(Edited 6/18/08 to correct the location of St. Louis Place Park.)