This is the sort of week when it's good to be a jazz fan in St. Louis, with a nice variety of musical activity that includes both touring and local artists. Here, in chronological order, are a dozen noteworthy performances taking place at 11 different venues around town over the next seven days:
Let's start with guitarist Charlie Hunter, who opens this evening and performs through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Hunter's music definitely is technically impressive, given his virtuoso ability to play melody, chords and basslines all at once, but it's not all about technique; he also knows how to bring the funk and communicate with an audience. For some video samples of Hunter, see this post.
Also tonight, the 15-member Stone-Zelenka-Ota Free Improv Orchestra plays a one-time-only gig at the Way Out Club. For details and a complete list of all the players, see this previous post, and for a quick quote from show co-organizer Jay Zelenka, see this entry over on the Riverfront Times' music blog "A to Z."
On Thursday evening, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University begins its winter/spring set of shows with a free concert of jazz, pop and French cabaret music from the Poor People of Paris, who also opened the summer series in 2008. (No details are available yet on the rest of the Jazz at Holmes schedule for the semester, but as soon as yr. humble editor gets the info, it will be posted here on StLJN.)
Friday evening offers a proverbial plethora of musical options, including the massively talented ragtime/stride pianist Reginald Robinson, who's visiting from Chicago to do a free early-evening concert at the St. Louis Art Museum; multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman and Hot Club Caravan, who will be playing string-band Gypsy jazz and more at Brandt's; the Gateway City's own Funky Butt Brass Band, laying down a New Orleans-influenced groove at The Gramophone; and the Ambassadors of Swing, playing the big-band sound for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.
Then on Saturday, the Dave Holland Quintet performs at The Sheldon. Holland (pictured) has been one of the top bassists in jazz for four decades now, and in recent years his various small groups and big band have been among the most musically accomplished and critically acclaimed ensembles on the scene. His current quintet featuring saxophonist Chris Potter is especially tasty, and though it's only January, I fully expect this concert to be one of the highlights of 2009. For some some video of Holland in action, see this post. Also, note that the Sheldon is offering online buyers a $10 discount on tickets.
Moving on to Sunday, this week Bud Shultz and the You Can't Beat Experience Jazz Band will be doing their monthly session of traditional jazz at the Alton VFW Hall, as described here. And looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band is at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and on Tuesday, pianist Carolbeth True plays solo at Peppertini's, while the Andrew Miramonti Trio is next week's featured attraction in the ongoing Tuesday night jazz series at The Gramophone.
So, as promised, there you have it: 12 different groups/musicians with 12 different styles, 11 venues, seven days. That's certainly a lot of music for one week, but if your audio appetites remain unsated, you can always find more jazz-related activity in St. Louis this weekend and beyond by consulting 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.)