Jazz St. Louis has announced the 2009-10 season schedule for Jazz at the Bistro, and as one might expect in tough economic times, there's an emphasis on familiar musicians who have drawn crowds to the club in the past.
Those familiar faces will include St. Louis native, trumpeter, and vocalist Jeremy Davenport, who's coming home from New Orleans for another Thanksgiving weekend; and The Bad Plus, the colorful piano trio who have kicked off the last three calendar years at the Bistro and will do so again in 2010.
Other musicians returning to the Bistro next season will include pianist Mulgrew Miller, organist Joey DeFrancesco, singer and pianist Freddy Cole, guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, saxophonists Lou Donaldson and James Carter, singer Marlena Shaw, and bassist Christian McBride, appearing this time with his Inside Straight group, which features saxophonist Steve Wilson, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, pianist Eric Reed and drummer Carl Allen.
Though the emphasis is on familiar performers, there also will be some up-and-coming singers and players making their Bistro debuts next year, including pianist Vijay Iyer, vocalist Alyssa Graham, pianist Robert Glasper (who rescheduled his canceled dates from 2008-09), The Wee Trio (with former St. Louisan Dan Loomis on bass) and Chicago saxophonist Frank Catalano, who made his St. Louis debut earlier this year at The Gramophone as part of the free Tuesday night series of performances the club co-sponsors with JSL.
While JSL's previously announced concert featuring Sonny Rollins at the Touhill Performing Arts Center surely will be the most eagerly anticipated jazz event of the fall, the Bistro will have a few special attractions, too.
Saxophonist and ex-Miles Davis sideman Kenny Garrett, who over the past couple of years has been doing some of the best and most widely acclaimed work of his career, will
In another return engagement, singer Kurt Elling will perform music from his new CD Dedicated to You, a re-imagining of the music of Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, with St. Louis' own Willie Akins handling the saxophone duties done on the record by Ernie Watts.
Here's the Bistro's 2009-10 season schedule in chronological order:
September 4-5: Scott Alberici
September 12 : Jazz Cruise All-Stars featuring Ken Peplowski and others
September 19: Sonny Rollins at the Touhill Performing Arts Center
September 23-26: Mulgrew Miller Trio
October 2-3: Frank Catalano
October 7-10: Robert Glasper Trio
October 16-17: The Wee Trio
October 21-24 : Kenny Garrett
October 30-31: Matthew Von Doran
November 4-7 : Stanley Jordan
November 13-14: Shaun Robinson Group
November 18-21: Christian McBride & Inside Straight
November 27-28: Jeremy Davenport
December 2-5 : “Dedicated to You” - Kurt Elling sings the music of Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane with special guest Willie Akins
December 11-12 : Good 4 The Soul
December 16-19: Oliver Lake Organ Trio with special guest Russell Gunn
January 6-9: The Bad Plus
January 20-23: Vijay Iyer
February 3-6 : Lou Donaldson
February 17-20: Freddy Cole
March 3-6 : Joey DeFrancesco
March 17-20: Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project
March 31-April 3: Alyssa Graham
April 9-10: Clayton Brothers Quintet
April 14-17: John Pizzarelli
April 28 - May 1: John Patitucci
May 12-15 : James Carter Organ Trio
May 26-29 : Marlena Shaw
Overall, while there are relatively few surprises, this looks like a high-quality lineup of acts that offers a fairly representative cross-section of current mainstream jazz. As always, I'd like to see JSL attempt just a bit more risk-taking than they currently do, but given the current economic climate, I suppose one can't fault them too much for playing things safe. Similarly, while for the sake of completeness it would be nice if the organization could include some traditional jazz, a big band, and even an avant-garde or experimental performance or two, no one presenter can be all things to all listeners.
Subscriptions for Jazz at the Bistro's 2009-10 season are now on sale, with single tickets available beginning August 18. Tickets for the Sonny Rollins concert will be on sale through the Touhill box office starting August. 3.
(Updated after posting to include the dates by Scott Alberici and Matthew Von Doran filling two weeks listed as "TBA" in the original version of the post. Updates again 6/14/09 to add correct information about Kenny Garrett's previous appearance at Jazz at the Bistro. Edited again on 6/16/09 to try to fix the photo layout)