With the 2008-09 season at Jazz at the Bistro now well underway, Jazz St. Louis is launching two new initiatives this month.
The first is the Whitaker Community Concerts, a series of free Thursday night performances featuring St. Louis-based musicians at various venues around the metro area. The Community Concerts series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 16 with a concert by singer Kim Massie at the Foundry Arts Centre in St. Charles.
JSL director of operations Bob Bennett tells StLJN that they're still booking talent for the rest of the shows, which will include a concert on December 11 at the Black Cat Theatre in Maplewood that will focus on the music of Louis Armstrong; a show on March 12, 2009 at Lucas School House; and the series finale on May 7, 2009, which will be devoted to the music of Miles Davis and take place at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.
The other new program is the Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club, described as a "book club for your ears" that will help listeners explore and understand great jazz recordings while building their personal jazz libraries. The first CD Listening Club session will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 14 at Borders Books and Music, 1519 S. Brentwood Blvd in Brentwood. Jazz journalist/artist manager/producer Terry Perkins will serve as MC and interviewer as he and JSL executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford discuss one of Bradford's favorites, Duke Ellington's classic live recording Ellington at Newport 1956.
Subsequent listening sessions will take place at the same location beginning at 7:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. Admission is free, and special discounts on the featured CD and other music-related items will be available the night of the listening club event. Seems like a promising idea, though one might wish that JSL had been able to work out an arrangement with one of St. Louis' fine independent music stores instead of sending more business to a national chain like Borders.
(Edited 10/2/08 to better explain Perkins' and Bradford's roles in the CD listening club discussion.)