Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jazz this week: Jacky Terrasson, Manhattan Transfer, the final week for Cookie's, and more

The week before Christmas is a busy one for many people, but if you've got the time, and are willing to brave the colder-than-usual weather, there's definitely some music worth hearing around St. Louis over the next few days, starting with the two well-known touring jazz headliners who will be in town this weekend.

First up, there's pianist Jacky Terrasson (pictured), who opens a four-night stand tonight at Jazz at the Bistro and continues through Saturday. You can find out more about Terrasson and see some video clips of him performing in this post from last Saturday.

Then on Friday, the singing group Manhattan Transfer once again brings their annual holiday show to the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Some jazz critics find the Transfer's slickness a bit off-putting, but I've always enjoyed them for what they are, and in an era when so many singers seem to traffic exclusively in melismatic over-emoting, their overall musicality and general good taste in songs, musicians and arrangements stands out even more.

This also marks the final week for the Webster Groves music venue Cookie's Jazz and More, which is closing after Saturday's show. (There is potential for the space to reopen under new ownership; more about that in an upcoming post.) The club's final three nights will feature a jam session with Sound Unlimited on Thursday; Trio Tres Bien with singer Danita Mumphard on Friday; and a no-cover-charge evening of smooth jazz with Three Central on Saturday.

Elsewhere around town, on Thursday singer Erin Bode returns to the Tenderloin Room (inside the Chase-Park Plaza Hotel). Somehow, Bode's delicate vocals seem like they'd be a mismatch for the Tenderloin's old-school steakhouse atmosphere, but this is, in fact, just the latest in a series of gigs for her there, so obviously it must be working out OK for both band and venue.

On Friday, Louisiana-based steel guitarist Dave Easley will be sitting in with the Dave Stone Trio during their regular Friday gig at Mangia Italiano. Easley's got some nice credits - he's performed and/or recorded with a wide variety of jam bands and jazz artists, including the Brian Blade Fellowship, Dave Liebman, Kenny Garrett, Howard Levy, Charlie Byrd, Seamus Blake, Dr. John, members of the String Cheese Incident, the Greyboy Allstars and Tiny Universe, and more. The slippery sound of steel guitar ought to provide an interesting complement to Stone's somewhat elliptical style on tenor sax, and given Easley's diverse experiences and Stone's willingness to go outside as well as inside, I'm thinking this gig very well could be the hidden gem of the week. In an email telling StLJN about Easley's sit-in, drummer Kyle Honeycutt also notes that Stone's trio plays until 2:30 a.m., which is good news for those in search of late-night sounds.

On Saturday afternoon, you can check out a couple of free in-store performances at Webster Records, which will host sets from singer and pianist Anita Rosamond at 1:00 p.m. and guitarist Art Ruprecht at 3:00 p.m.. On Sunday night, the St. Louis New Jazz Xtet continues their weekly gig at Riddle's, and on Monday, the Sessions Big Band is back at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Due to the Christmas holiday, the next "Jazz this week" post likely will go up late next Monday or early Tuesday. In the meantime, you can find more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond by visiting 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 after posting to delete a sentence fragment.)

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