Sunday, April 05, 2009

Notes from the Net: Miles' sartorial style, the "Purdie Shuffle" celebrated, Bennett and Evans re-released, plus news, reviews and more

Here's the latest 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:

* As longtime StLJN readers know, whenever possible we like to start these news roundups with something about Miles Davis, and this week brings a couple of items indicating Davis' celebrity beyond the musical world.

Specifically, the trumpeter and East St. Louis native was just named a "Style Icon" by "In 1965, the legendary jazz critic and Esquire style writer George Frazier dubbed Davis "The Warlord of the Weejuns" in the liner notes of a greatest hits collection. A hell of a nickname, even if no one knew what it meant."

Also, Davis' most famous album Kind of Blue apparently turned up last week on the British TV drama Coronation Street, during a scene in which one character lauds the album's timeless quality.

* A track from pianist, composer and St. Louis expat Linda Presgrave's latest CD Inspiration was featured this week on's "Song of the Day".

* Via, here's a review of John Zorn: Tradition And Transgression by John Brackett, the new book analyzing the music and ideas of the saxophonist, composer and conceptualist (who once studied at Webster University here in St. Louis).

* Opening the "coming attractions" file, the New York Times had a review of a recent duet performance by John Pizzarelli and his wife, singer Jessica Molasky, at NYC's Birdland. Pizzarelli will be here in St. Louis in two weeks as one of the guest artists for the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.

* The Concord Music Group will release the Complete Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Recordings on April 14th. The two-CD collection includes all of the music originally issued on the two albums Bennett and Evans recorded together, plus two bonus tracks and alternate takes from both sessions. Bennett will return to St. Louis to perform at the Fox Theatre on Friday, May 8.

* From, another review of Returns, the live CD from Return to Forever's 2008 reunion tour, which stopped at the Fox in June.

* An article in the New York Times celebrates Bernard Purdie's signature groove the "Purdie Shuffle" on the occasion of Purdie (pictured) joining the pit band of the revival of the Broadway musical Hair. St. Louis listeners (and drum fanboys) got a rare chance to scope out Purdie in person when he played here last fall at Jazz at the Bistro with the Godfathers of Groove.

* Illness forced Dave Brubeck to bow out of an historic concert performance scheduled for Friday night at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific, in Stockton, CA. Brubeck, 88, was hospitalized with a viral infection and was unable to travel for a scheduled performance of his classic 1959 album Time Out at UOP. The concert went on, with Brubeck's eldest son Darius Brubeck filling in for his father. Brubeck, who played the Sheldon last fall, is under observation at a hospital in Connecticut, but is expected to make a full recovery.

* Finally, a couple items of more general interest, starting with Wynton Marsalis, who was one of several well-known musicians who went to Washington D.C. last week to lobby Congress for more arts funding: "Marsalis said it's critical for the nation to reevaluate its priorities during the financial crisis to ensure the best aspects of U.S. culture aren't lost to younger generations because of scarce funding. The acclaimed trumpet player said he learned key lessons about jazz when he was young by playing with some of the original members of Duke Ellington's band."

* And, last but not least from Marsalis' home town, a hopeful but still cautious report on the state of jazz in New Orleans in 2009.

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