There's quite a bit of notable jazz and creative music on tap this week in St. Louis, including several free events that should help stretch your live music-listening and/or entertainment dollars a bit farther, certainly a good thing in these tight-money times
The first of those freebies is tonight, when pianist Peter Martin opens this year's Whitaker Music Festival with a free outdoor concert at Missouri Botanical Garden. The St. Louis native is known for his work backing major jazz headliners such as singer Dianne Reeves and trumpeter Chris Botti, but he's also maintained ties to his hometown, recording as a leader in the past for the local MAXJAZZ label.
Martin was one of a number of St. Louis musicians, including bassist Neal Caine and trumpeter Jeremy Davenport, who had relocated to New Orleans in the 1990s to build their careers. After Hurricane Katrina, he and his family moved back to St. Louis, and continue to live here.
However, Martin's busy touring schedule means he rarely plays local gigs, so there should be an especially good turnout for this show, for which he'll be performing with Victor Goines on saxophone and clarinet, St. Louis' own Montez Coleman on drums, and Reginald Veal on bass. In case of rain, check the Garden’s website at www.mobot.org or tune in to radio station WSIE (88.7 FM) for cancellation information. (Incidentally, Martin also has a new self-released solo piano CD that's just come out; for more on that, see this post.)
UPDATE - 6/3/09, 3:30 p.m.: Via email, Martin tells StLJN that his concert this evening at the Missouri Botanical Garden has been canceled due to rain. Instead, he and his band will perform a free indoor concert starting at 7:30 tonight at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington. The doors open at 6:30 p.m..
Also tonight, trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured) and his group start a four-night stand continuing though Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. A New Orleans native who embraces both his hometown's venerable traditions and more contemporary forms of jazz, Blanchard is considered by fans and critics to be among the first rank of current jazz trumpeters; he's also well-regarded in and out of the jazz world for the soundtracks he's composed for numerous films helmed by director Spike Lee.
Blanchard has played St. Louis before, at the Bistro and the Sheldon Concert Hall, and by all accounts, he delivers the goods in a live situation - so, if you're going to pay to see just one jazz event this week, this would seem to be the one. For more on Blanchard and some video samples of his playing, see this post from a couple of weeks ago.
On Thursday, there are more free events downtown, starting at 5:30 p.m., when the Jeff Anderson Trio kicks off a month-long series of free Thursday shows being presented by the Sheldon Concert Hall outdoors at the Old Post Office Plaza, 801 Locust between 8th and 9th streets.
The free concert is scheduled to run for about an hour, which theoretically should give you plenty of time to head west a dozen blocks or so in order to catch multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser Eugene Chadbourne, who will be performing free shows at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.at the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room.
If you're already a Chadbourne fan, chances are you're already making plans to be there. If you don't know the man's work, but are intrigued by the idea of an artist who brings together free jazz, rockabilly, folk, noise, and a dozen other genres, spiked with surreal humor and progressive politics, then see this post for more about him and some video samples of assorted Chadbournia.
On Friday and Saturday, the second annual Wine, Dine and Jazz Festival takes place in and around the public square in downtown Belleville, IL It's a free event that features local and regional jazz musicians; this year's lineup includes singer Anita Rosamond, Two Times True with pianist Carolbeth True; Wild Cool and Swingin'; singer Mary Dyson with the Brock Walker Trio, Tony D. and the Groove Merchants, and more. For more, see this post.
Back in downtown St. Louis, the St. Louis Jazz Cafe this weekend has 2Smooth, with saxophonist Rod Tate and guitarist Gregg Haynes, on Friday, and singer Erin Bode and her group on Saturday.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday, there are two more free events worth noting. At 7:00 p.m., the Jazz St. Louis CD Listening Club will meet at Borders, 1519 S. Brentwood Blvd. in Brentwood. JSL executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford will lead the discussion of this month's featured CD, Atomic Basie by the Count Basie Orchestra. That should wind down in plenty of time to catch saxophonist Bennett Wood and his group over at The Gramophone in another of the no-cover-charge shows the club is presenting in conjunction with Jazz St. Louis.
As always, these are just some of the notable events happening over the next few days, and, since it's early in the month, band and venue schedule information for June is still arriving here at StLJN HQ;. So, to see the most recently updated list of jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar.
(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)
Brian Simpson @ Pizza Express, London
4 hours ago