The weekend brought news of three upcoming performances of interest to St. Louis jazz and creative music fans, all happening at venues other than the usual clubs and concert halls:
* Mount Tabor United Church of Christ, 6520 Arsenal St. in south St. Louis, will present a program called "Jazz for the Journey" featuring the Oikos Ensemble at 10:15 a.m. next Sunday, March 29.
Led by saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie (pictured) and pianist Christopher Bakriges, the Oikos Ensemble is a world music/jazz group that is part of MICA (Ministry of Imagination, Creativity and the Arts), a national ministry of the United Church of Christ. Their multi-media live shows feature an "imaginative interplay of jazz, storytelling and spirituality." The performance at Mount Tabor UCC is free and open to the public, though a free-will offering will be received. For more information, call 314-645-9025.
* The Nu-Art Series' next offering is "Dangling Participles and Shady Syllables", a spoken word performance featuring author, poet and playwright Ntozake Shange and musicians Hamiet Bluiett (baritone saxophone) and Dr. London Branch (piano and trumpet), starting at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 4 at the Metropolitan Gallery, 2936 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
The performance is part of Nu-Art's ongoing series "Jazz and the Visual Arts," and also will feature the musical group JBMG, which includes the grandchildren of singer Fontella Bass and trumpet player Lester Bowie. Admission is $20 at the door.
That same weekend, the Metropolitan Gallery will host a free opening reception for its exhibition of photographs and paintings by St. Louis artists Adelia Parker and James Seitu Smith from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3. The exhibition runs through May 15. Also, Ntozake Shange will do a book signing from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 5 at Borders bookstore in Brentwood.
* The gallery and performance space Open Lot, 1310 South 18th Street, will present a concert by the ambient/electronic/psychedelic duo Mountains on Tuesday, April 21. Mountains, comprised of musicians Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, "is often compared to artists such as Brian Eno and Fennesz, citing their extended melodies and their unique broad guitar work... Mountains seamlessly blend pastoral electronic sounds with both field recordings and a plethora of acoustic instruments." Show time and ticket prices are both to be announced; watch this space for updates.
(Edited 3/25/09 to fix a typo in Hamiet Bluiett's name.)