Here's the latest compilation of assorted news briefs 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:
* Let's start, as we often do, with some Miles Davis-related items. The Montreal Jazz Festival has announced that the ensemble for the "Miles From India" concert on July 4 at the Theatre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts will include bassist Darryl Jones, whose first big-time gig was with Miles and who now plays with the Rolling Stones, and the Indian percussionist Selvaganesh, a member of the group Remember Shakti.
On a related note, here a review done for AllAboutJazz.com by Martin Longley of a "Miles From India" performance in late May at NYC's Iridium. Also, via Miles Davis Online, we learn that drummer Jimmy Cobb and an edition of his So What band featuring Wallace Roney on trumpet did a Kind of Blue tribute at last weekend's Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
* Turning to news of coming attractions, singer Kurt Elling is performing songs from his new CD Dedicated to You this week at NYC's Birdland, and the news Web site/cable channel NY1 has a feature story with accompanying video. Elling will be in St. Louis in December at Jazz at the Bistro to perform material from the CD, which re-imagines songs from the famous collaboration of singer Johnny Hartman and saxophone legend John Coltrane.
* Here's a review for AAJ.com by Chris M. Slawecki of Bach in Havana, the new CD from Tiempo Libre. The band will perform in St. Louis next year at Washington University's Edison Theatre.
* Singer DeeDee Bridgewater (pictured) is performing material from her new Billie Holiday tribute CD during a week-long gig at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Bridgewater will do her Holiday tribute in St. Louis this October at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
* Speaking of the Sheldon, here's a review, written by Jerry D'Souza for AllABoutJazz.com, of guitarist Frank Vignola's Live at the Sheldon DVD from Mel Bay Records. Vignola's most recent St. Louis appearance was in May at Jazz at the Bistro.
* The funky organ trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, who were in St. Louis in April to play the Loyal Earth Festival, will play the music of John Zorn during a concert at the Barbican in London.
* Banjo player Bela Fleck, who brought his Africa Project tour to the Sheldon in April, also is doing some duo concerts with Toumani Diabate. Fleck and Diabate were just in Tuscon, AZ, and were featured in the Tucson Weekly.
* Lastly, a few items from the "general interest" files, starting with the unfortunate news that Jazz Times magazine has suspended publication. The mag hopes to find new owners and get back to publishing soon, but given the current economic climate, it's far from a done deal. Howard Mandel has details at his Jazz Beyond Jazz blog here.
* Meanwhile, the once very popular smooth jazz radio format continues to take a beating around the U.S.A, with more stations changing formats to rock music or talk in recent weeks. There's an interesting piece here from the Contra Costa Times (which covers communities near the Bay Area in California) that looks at this trend, noting that the whole notion of "smooth jazz" as a category of music was largely a creation of radio programmers.
* In happier news, the always interesting online jazz magazine Point of Departure has a new issue online.
* The Jazz Journalists Association Awards for this year were announced last Tuesday, and the list of winners includes several musicians who have performed in St. Louis in the past year, such as trumpeter Terence Blanchard, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and electric bassist Steve Swallow. See the entire list of 2009 award recipients here.
* And in my favorite quirky-story-with-a-happy-ending of the week, drums and other music gear that had belonged to the late Max Roach and were stolen after his death turned up last week in an unlikely place: a barn in Byrdstown, TN. The gear is now on its way back to Roach's heirs; read the whole "lost and found" story here.