Sunday, March 15, 2009

Notes from the Net: Miles Davis on PBS, Pizzarelli plays Rodgers, plus news, reviews, and more

Here's our weekly compilation of news and links related to jazz, improvisation, and creative music in St. Louis, including news of musicians originally from the Gateway City, recent visitors, and coming attractions, plus assorted other items of interest:

* For our mandatory weekly portion of Miles Davis-related content, via Blogcritics, here's a review of Miles Davis: The Sound of Miles Davis, a newly restored and reissued 1959 television special featuring most of the band from Davis' Kind of Blue sessions that's airing on PBS stations this month during pledge drives.

Alas, from what I can tell, the Davis film is not scheduled to be shown on St. Louis' PBS affiliate KETC. If you'd like to express your feelings about that, here's the relevant information from the station Web site's contact page: "For questions about programs on Channel 9, changes of address, KETC Guide delivery, general station information and questions about membership or pledge, call (314) 512-9199 or 1-800-729-9966 or send your letters by e-mail to"

* Another of our favorite Notes from the Net subjects, alto saxophonist and one-time Webster University student John Zorn, is set to headline the Equinox Festival in London this June.

* Opening the "coming attractions" file, trumpeter Chris Botti, who's got two gigs in St. Louis on his "to do" list for 2009, kicked off the month of March by visiting a number of PBS stations around the country promoting his latest PBS special, Chris Botti In Boston, which is being released on DVD on Tuesday, March 31. Also, word comes this week that a performance by Botti with orchestra will be one of the headline events of the 30th annual Montreal Jazz Festival in July.

* Before a gig in Stuart, FL, guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli (pictured) talks with the local paper about performing the music of Richard Rodgers. Pizzarelli will be one of the guest artists at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival in April.

* Trumpeter Rick Braun is working on his first solo studio CD in several years, and it's a tribute to Chet Baker. Braun will be in the St. Louis area on April 9 to perform as part of the Jazz Attack show at the Ameristar Casino's Bottleneck Blues Bar

* Next up, we've got news of recent visitors to St. Louis, starting with a review of the Pat Martino Trio's February 28 gig at the Lakeland Jazz Festival in Ohio, penned by Mike Marshall for Martino was in St. Louis last month to play Jazz at the Bistro.

* Then there's "Trying to Understand the Logic of The Bad Plus," in which Saby Reyes-Kulkarni of the Seattle Weekly wonders if the much-hyped, sometimes controversial trio, last seen here in January at the Bistro, is just covering the same old ground with their latest release For All I Care.

* As regular StLJN readers doubtless are already aware, the Blue Note 7 played St. Louis' Sheldon Concert Hall in February. More recently, Blue Note records recently had an event commemorating its 70th anniversary at Royce Hall in Los Angeles, and DJ and blogger Leroy "The JazzCat" Downs was there and has a story with photos.

* Here's a New York Times review of singer and actor Tom Wopat's latest cabaret/nighclub act. Wopat was in St. Louis last month to perform under the auspices of Cabaret St. Louis.

* And here's a short review of Return to Forever's new live CD Returns, written by John Kalman for The CD is drawn from recordings made during last year's reunion tour, which included a stop at St. Louis' Fox Theatre.

* Following up on another story we've been tracking here recently, here's a nifty Fred Kaplan review for Slate of the recent Thelonious Monk Town Hall tribute that makes very nice use of audio clips from the album of the original concert and the tribute show. Also, Doug Ramsey's Rifftides has some "inside stuff" on the Monk tribute from Sam Stephenson of the Jazz Loft Project at Duke University, who helped produce the concerts.

* Finally, a couple of items of more general interest: Via the indispensible Avant Music News, the Los Angeles Times reviews the new music scene in the San Francisco bay area

* And Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense. is a new four-part documentary film series that examines the world of contemporary jazz. It feature live footage and interviews of current jazz stars, including many musicians familiar to St. Louis audiences, such as The Bad Plus, Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Charlie Hunter, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Medeski Martin and Wood, as well as predecessors and influences including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis. The Documentary Channel will telecast the Icons Among Us series on four consecutive Mondays at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time beginning April 20, following its world premiere on April 15 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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