Thursday, September 18, 2008

Jazz this week: Old Webster Jazz & Blues Festival, Brian Owens, Willie Akins, Cornet Chop Suey, and more

While there are no major touring jazz musicians visiting St. Louis this week, there's plenty of activity involving local players. Let's look at some of the highlights:

Tonight, the great saxophonist Willie Akins does a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, while guitarist Dave Black performs at Brandt's

On Friday and Saturday, singer Brian Owens brings his mix of jazz, pop, R&B and gospel back to Jazz at the Bistro for a two-night stand. Also on Friday, the St. Louis Rivermen will present a traditional jazz performance at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Belleville, kicking off the church's fall arts series.

In addition, Friday evening is the opening reception for the "Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture At Midcentury" exhibit at the Kemper Museum. The Museum's promotion for the free event says they'll have "a live jazz band performing Miles Davis's seminal album Birth of the Cool" (although they don't identify who the musicians will be, which seems a fairly significant omission).

The biggest music event of the weekend for jazz (and blues) enthusiasts happens on Saturday, when the annual Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival is staged in suburban Webster Groves. The free event starts in the morning with a workshop at Webster University for student musicians, and then the music begins at noon down the street in the old Webster Groves business district. This year's festival once again features two stages, with acts including singers Erin Bode (pictured) and Debby Lennon; the New Orleans-style funk band Gumbohead; the Webster University jazz faculty; guitarist Todd Mosby, and more.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz Club kicks off its fall season with a concert of traditional jazz and swing by Cornet Chop Suey at the Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville. Also on Sunday afternoon, saxophonist Tim Cunningham brings his smooth jazz sound to the the Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday guitarist Tom Byrne and Friends will perform at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, and trumpeter Keith Moyer's group plays at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups. And on Tuesday, the David Wiatrolik Trio returns to the The Gramophone and singer Jeanne Trevor performs at Brandt's.

As always, the performances mentioned here are just some of the week's highlights, so to see listings of more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis 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.)

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