* We start this installment, as is the tradition, with a Miles Davis-related item, as the NPR show Morning Edition recently ran a story called "Between Takes: The Kind Of Blue Sessions" featuring excerpts from Ashley Khan's liner notes for the album's 50th anniversary reissue. Listen to the mix of in-studio dialog from the musicians, Khan's commentary, and musical examples here.
* In other news related - at least tangentially - to musicians from St. Louis, Rifftides' Doug Ramsay links to a report on the current post-Katrina state of New Orleans' Armstrong Park, adding the story of how trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry inspired the movement that got New Orleans its Armstrong statue.
* On Thursday, February 26, Philadelphia's Ars Nova Workshop series will present a Composer Portrait concert at the city's World Cafe featuring the music of former St. Louisan Julius Hemphill (pictured) as performed by the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, an 18-member big band led by multi-instrumentalist and St. Louis native Marty Ehrlich. Ehrlich also was part of last week's Oliver Lake big band gig at NYC's Jazz Gallery.
* Via the always useful Avant Music News (which is sporting a pleasing new look for the New Year), two John Zorn performances featuring the Masada Sextet and The Dreamers are coming to Henry Street Settlement in New York. Zorn also is the subject of a new book written by John Brackett and published by the Indiana University Press, reviewed by Popmatters here. (For those unaware of Zorn's St. Louis connection: he went to Webster University back in the 1970s.)
* Turning to news from the "coming attractions" file, in April bassist Victor Wooten is opening Wooten Woods, a new 150 acre site on the Duck River near Nashville, TN for the "bass/nature camp" he and his family have been running since the year 2000. Wooten will be in St. Louis to play The Pageant on Friday, March 13.
* No doubt hoping for a taste of some of that sweet, sweet cash that gets spent every year for Valentine's Day, Boney James is releasing a new CD, Send One Your Love, on February 3. The smooth jazz saxophonist formerly known as James Oppenheim will play The Pageant on Thursday, March 25.
* Al Jarreau will be in St. Louis to sing at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on Friday, February 13, but this past weekend, he, Kevin Mahogany and The Godfathers of Groove, the Cyrus Chestnut Trio, and St. Louis area native Bonnie Bramlett were among the performers at the seventeenth annual "All That Jazz" weekend held at The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville, NC.
* In news on a couple of musicians being considered for next season at Jazz at the Bistro, singer Alyssa Graham performed at the Tin Angel in Philly on January 30th, and West Coast jazz blogger and radio host Leroy The Jazzcat" Downs recently interviewed pianist Vijay Iyer, with the conversation now available in MP3 format here (or if that link doesn't work, search Downs' archives here).
* From the "recent visitors" file: Saxophonist Javon Jackson and keyboard player Les McCann, who played at Jazz at the Bistro last fall with their Swiss Movement Revisited band, now can be heard in a concert from Kennedy Center available for streaming via NPR's Jazz Set with DeeDee Bridgewater.
* Saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, another recent visitor to the Bistro, celebrated his 80th birthday this past week with a new album on Concord Jazz. For more Golson, check out this interview and excerpts from the CD via NPR's Weekend Edition; this post at WFIU's Night Lights blog, with an archive of the program's Golson tribute plus related info and links; and Doug Ramsey's appreciation of Golson, with videos.
* Saxophonist Dave Liebman, who played Washington University's Jazz at Holmes series in November, was interviewed before a recent performance in New Hampshire. Also, the New York Times reviewed a recent Liebman NYC performance at NYC's Birdland with a quintet that included Randy Brecker on trumpet, Billy Hart on drums and Marc Copland on piano. (Copland will be in St. Louis on Friday, February 13 to play a trio concert at the 560 Music Center.)
* The Bad Plus, who just did their annual gig at the Bistro a couple of weeks ago, have a new CD, For All I Care, coming out this week. Another Bistro perennial, singer/pianist Tony DeSare, also has a new CD called Radio Show, reviewed here
* Last but not least, following up on a previous post here about adding support for the arts to the stimulus bill currently being considered by Congrees, via New Music ReBlog: The Performing Arts Alliance is alerting everyone that Congress is still debating whether or not to include the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus bill, officially known as the American Reinvestment Recovery Act of 2009.
Under the House of Representatives plan, the NEA will receive a $50 million supplement to further the arts, but under the Senate’s plan, the NEA is not included. The Performing Arts Alliance has sent out mass emails encouraging everyone to write their Senator, and have even set up a way to do it electronically. "In a time when the world’s view of the United States is less than favorable, we need artists now more than ever to contribute to the world’s culture as a whole," says the PAA. "Submitting the electronic letter takes about five minutes to complete and is very user friendly, so please take action today and help further the good in American culture."
On the same subject, while noting in his monthly big band report that the Toledo Jazz Orchestra recently suspended all concert activities, AllAboutJazz.com's Jack Bowers makes the case for increased support of the arts :
"In times of economic stress, the arts (excepting perhaps the cinema) are among the first things to be sacrificed on the altar of belt-tightening. Those who rely on the arts to help maintain some semblance of sanity in otherwise troubled times know the opposite should be true, but their voices are weak and ineffectual in the face of fiscal disarray. And so there will be less music (of substance), less dance, less theatre (some Broadway shows already are closing the doors while others are barely alive and kicking). Unless people have discretionary money to spend on such pursuits, many are doomed to failure, especially as philanthropic grants are also drying up.
Let us hope the situation is temporary, and that the arts will someday soon regain their lost footing and flourish again. It is something to look forward to."
(Edited 2/11/09 to correct the venue for the Al Jarreau concert.)