Sunday, February 15, 2009

Notes from the Net: Gary Bartz on Miles Davis; more on Kind of Blue's 50th anniversary; plus news, reviews, and more.

It's time for this week's compilation of news and links related to jazz in St. Louis, including musicians from the Gateway City, recent visitors and coming attractions - plus assorted other items of interest:

* Here's another review of the deluxe 50th Anniversary edition of Miles Davis' landmark album Kind of Blue, from's Jeff Stockton, and, from Blogcritics, a review of the two-CD "Legacy" edition of KoB, which includes two discs of music but omits the 12" box and the fancy book.

* Ben Ratliff of the New York Times reviews a Jazz at Lincoln Center concert paying tribute to KoB and John Coltrane's Giant Steps, another jazz milestone that's also 50 years old in 2009: "The albums don’t need respectful glosses, performances that harden them into the status of luxury goods; they need challenging and taking apart. And Thursday night’s concert at Rose Theater, built around the albums (and repeated on Friday), did that rather elegantly."

* On another Davis-related note, the Jazz Video Guy (a.k.a. Bret Primack) recently posted an interview with Gary Bartz in which the veteran saxophonist talks about his time as a member of Miles' ground-breaking electric ensemble. You can see it in the embedded video window at the bottom of this post.

* Pianist and St. Louisan-turned-New Yorker Linda Presgrave (pictured) has a new CD, Inspiration, which features interpretations of songs from female jazz composers. Read a review here.

* St. Louis native, singer, dancer and actress Josephine Baker figures prominently in "The Jazz Century," a major exhibition opening next month in Paris that examines the influence of jazz on artists ranging from Baker to the Dutch modernist painter Piet Mondriaan.

* Saxophonist, composer and one-time Webster University student John Zorn is heading west in March for a run of shows at Yoshi's in San Francisco.

* The Bad Plus, who opened 2009 here at Jazz at the Bistro, recently were featured on the National Public Radio program "Jazz Set with Dee Dee Bridgewater." Also, from the Jazz and Blues Reviews blog, here's another review of their new CD For All I Care.

* With the St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival officially "on hiatus" for 2009, yr. humble editor's thoughts occasionally are wandering to the notion of how a resurrected St. Louis fest might be improved. Perhaps we could learn something from the Detroit jazz festival, a free event held every year over Labor Day weekend that will celebrate its 30th anniversary by commissioning a major new work about the city and its jazz legacy from its 2009 artist-in-residence, bassist and composer John Clayton. The Detroit fest is also making an effort to hire more local musicians and to involve other arts groups in town, two things I've repeatedly encouraged St. Louis' festival organizers to do. Read all about it here.

* Despite the efforts of Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) to bar any funding for the arts from the economic stimulus bill currently before the U.S. Congress, we learn via Alex Ross' The Rest is Noise that the final version of the legislation will indeed include $50 million in additional money to preserve jobs and programs at arts institutions that may be hurt by the economic downturn. As composer, bandleader and blogger Darcy James Argue notes here, score one for the good guys.

1 comment:

S. Piazza said...

I found a great article on the new Bad Plus album with sound clips and video interviews at