The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced the 2009 lineup of free concerts for the annual Whitaker Music Festival, which this year will take place on ten consecutive Wednesdays starting June 3 and ending August 5.
As is customary, the 2009 schedule includes a number of artists of interest to jazz enthusiasts, but unlike some past years, those shows are spread throughout the schedule instead of all taking place during June.
Pianist Peter Martin (pictured), a St. Louis native known internationally for his work with singer Dianne Reeves, trumpeter Chris Botti and others, will open the 2009 series on Wednesday, June 3. On June 10, the St. Louis Stompers will perform traditional New Orleans style jazz, followed on June 17 by clarinetist Scott Alberici, whose skills range from swing to bop to modern jazz. Then on June 24, guitarist Todd Mosby and his group will present their fusion of jazz, rock, classical and Indian styles.
Next up, it's the string-band swing and Gypsy jazz of Dizzy Atmosphere on July 1, then jazz/R&B keyboardist Tony Simmons on July 8, and the 1960s-flavored folk-rock of Rogers, Nienhaus and Crawford on July 15.
Jazz/Latin/world music band Farshid Etniko will take the stage on July 22, followed by pop crooner Ralph Butler on July 29, and singer/pianist Anita Rosamond, making up a 2008 date that was rained out, wrapping up the series on August 5.
The concerts are held outdoors on the lawn of the Garden's Cohen Amphitheater, just west of the Climatron, and concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Admission to the Garden is free after 5:00 p.m. on concert nights, with music beginning at 7:30 p.m. Free parking is available on site and at lots two blocks west at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer. For more information, visit the Garden's Web site or call the recorded hotline at 314-577-9400. In the event of inclement weather, tune in to WSIE (88.7 FM) for updates.
(Edited 3/1/09 to fix a typo.)