Here in these hot-and-humid dog days of August, the overall activity level of the St. Louis music scene may be down a bit, but there's still a good variety of jazz styles in the offing over the next few days.
This week's biggest show happens on Friday, when smooth jazz saxophonist and multimedia personality Dave Koz (pictured) performs at The Pageant. Koz may not be the most adventurous player around, but he's a capable melodist with good taste in sidemen and a showman's flair who has worked diligently to cultivate a loyal fan base, one that surely will be out in force on Friday.
Still, If Koz' mix of romanticism and polite funk isn't your cup of tea, you can also check out the Randy Holmes Sextet on Friday, as they'll be doing a free concert for Washington University's Jazz at Holmes summer series. There's no indication yet what's on the program, but Holmes' various ensembles typically range over fairly wide terrain encompassing bop, hard bop and 1960s modern jazz, and the musicianship is top notch. Afterwards, you can head over to the Delmar Loop and catch pianist, saxophonist and singer Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum performing standards and the Great American Songbook at Brandt's, or take in the Latin jazz sounds of Banda Caribe at Riddle's.
On Saturday, the explosive pianist Ptah Williams and his group will perform a free concert as part of the "Art & Soul Cafe" at Portfolio Gallery, 3514 Delmar (between Grand and Theresa). The free, family-friendly event runs from noon to 8:00 p.m. and also will feature African music, dance, hip-hop and poetry performances, plus vendors selling handcrafted art. You can see more details at www.betterfamilylife.org. Also on Saturday, multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman and Hot Club Caravan, his new band paying tribute to the "Gypsy jazz" style of Django Reinhardt, will play at Brandt's.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band continues their long-running series of gigs at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups. On Tuesday, there are several worthy choices, starting with traditional jazz and swing band Cornet Chop Suey, who are doing a free concert at Faust Park in Chesterfield. Also on Tuesday, the Erin Bode Group's Adam Maness and Syd Rodway bring their band Orange, with drummer Miles Vandiver and vibist Peter Schramb, to the Sheldon Concert Hall; the David Wiatrolik Trio plays at The Gramophone; and singer and actor Roland "Bob" Harris, who mixes blues and jazz with a bit of comedy and some show business stories, performs at Brandt's.
On Wednesday, Jay Zelenka, the improvising saxophonist/flutist/percussionist and mastermind of the Freedonia Music label, brings his electric ensemble Squid Choir Orkestra to south side rock venue the Way Out Club, 2525 S. Jefferson. Zelenka and bandmates Dave Stone and Aaron Smith (saxophones and clarinets), Jeremy Melsha (electronics and trombone) and Ajay Khanna (laptop computer) play what they call "a unique blend of power electronics and free jazz," and if that description sounds like your cup o' tea, the SCO definitely are worth a listen.
Also on Wednesday, saxophonist and former St. Louisan Ed Doney will be back in town to play with Park Avenue Jazz at Hammerstone's. Doney, a graduate of the Webster University music program, now lives at Lake of The Ozarks, where he works with keyboardist Mike Vyrostek. During his years in St. Louis, Doney played with a number of familiar musicians and groups, including Jules Blattner, Ralph Butler, the Sessions Big Band, Carol Beth True and Hard Bop Heritage.
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.