Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jazz this week: Robert Dick, the Last Poets,
new bands at the Bistro, and more

Assuming you've dug out of the snow that hit St. Louis earlier this week, and are willing to venture out in the cold over the next few days to hear some jazz and creative music, here's what you'll find:

Tonight, trumpeter Randy Holmes and the Hard Bop Heritage Quintet perform a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. (And no, Jazz at Holmes has still not released a schedule for the entire semester. More on that once the information is available.)

On Friday, the Last Poets at the J.C. Penney Auditorium at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Though this isn't technically a jazz show, it seems worth mentioning as the group has been blending socially conscious poetry with jazz, funk, and Afro-Cuban beats for nearly 40 years now, and has been an important influence on contemporary hip-hop and spoken word performers.

Also on Friday, saxophonist Bennett Wood and his Quartet make their debut at Jazz at the Bistro. Although Jazz St. Louis normally books the Bistro in block of two or four nights at a time, they're trying something a little different this weekend, with two up-and-coming bands led by young musicians booked into the club for one night each.

After Wood plays on Friday, on Saturday night the quartet Utter Chaos (pictured) featuring baritone saxophonist Andy Ament, Cody Henry on trombone, Chris Turnbaugh on bass and Jerry Mazzuca on drums, takes the Bistro stage. Both bands have previously played the Tuesday night series co-sponsored by JSL and The Gramophone, and if their gigs this weekend go well, presumably other new groups might be able to follow the same path. As I've been encouraging the folks at Jazz St. Louis to diversify the Bistro's lineup whenever possible, I think this is a potentially positive development, and I look forward to seeing how it works out.

Also on Saturday, New Music Circle present avant-garde flautist Robert Dick in a performance with dancer Ashley Tate and percussionist Rich O'Donnell at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand. (That's the former Woolworth building just south of the Fox Theatre, also now home to the offices of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.)
Part of the performance will involve Tate dancing in a suit fitted with MIDI sensors connected to a synthesizer, and Dick and O'Donnell no doubt will demonstrate plenty of virtuoso and extended techniques on their respective instruments.

After Saturday, information gets a bit spotty due to the usual difficulties in getting band and venue schedules in anticipation of the beginning of a month. We can tell you, though, that on Monday bassist Willem von Hombracht and the St. Louis New Jazz X-Tet will perform at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium. With the group getting a rare opportunity to play a more expansive venue than its usual Sunday night confines at Riddle's, this could be the sleeper show of the week. Then on Tuesday, The Gramophone will present Davina and the Vagabonds, a blues and jazz band from the Minnesota's Twin Cities who are doing a date here on the way to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

As the rest of February schedule information comes in from bands and venues, I'll be adding it to the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, so please check there for the latest updates.

(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.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Davina & the Vagabonds are also playing Sunday night, Feb. 1 at BB's.