Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bob Brookmeyer, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
to play in Columbia on February 18

StLJN doesn't usually cover happenings in Columbia, MO, because 1) while that town's "We Always Swing" series apparently does an exemplary job of producing jazz events, many of the musicians who perform for that series seem to stop in St. Louis just before or after their Columbia gigs; and 2) it's 100 miles away, and there's quite a lot of music to cover right here in St. Louis.

However, there's something special coming up this month in Columbia that could very well be worth a road trip for St. Louis jazz fans. On Wednesday, February 18, composer, arranger and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer (pictured), a native of Kansas City, will come to Columbia for a concert with NYC's Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, who will perform a newly commissioned and as-yet untitled work by Brookmeyer, who will double as guest conductor.

Brookmeyer has a long history as a player and arranger/composer with the VJO, which began life in 1965 as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra and has performed every Monday for more than 40 years at NYC's famed Village Vanguard jazz club. Their Columbia concert, and the accompanying educational programming featuring jazz historian Dan Morgenstern, are funded through a special one-time $30,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which named Brookmeyer a Jazz Master in 2006. For more about the project, see this story written by Lindsay Howald of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

The Brookemeyer/VJO concert is presented by the “We Always Swing” jazz series, and begins at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 18 at the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, 203 S. Ninth St. Tickets are $23-32, with student discounts available. For ticket information, call the box office at 573-449-3001, send an e-mail to, or visit or

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