Saturday, July 25, 2009
The St. Louis area is known for having produced many fine jazz trumpeters over the years. Indeed, the legacy of musicians such as Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Lester Bowie and Harold "Shorty" Baker is significant enough that local jazz historian and radio host Dennis Owsley chose City of Gabriels as the title of his book on the history of jazz in St. Louis.
However, St. Louis also has been home to many outstanding jazz saxophonists over the years. Players like David Sanborn, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and Julius Hemphill are well-known to jazz fans for their musical accomplishments and their association with the Gateway City. Today, let's take a look at some videos featuring three more saxophonists with roots in St. Louis.
First up is Eric Person, a St. Louis native who's seen here with his groove-oriented project Metamorphosis in a clip recorded last November at the Blue Note in NYC. Since moving to New York in 1982, Person has performed and recorded with a wide variety of musicians from many genres, including McCoy Tyner, Dave Holland, Chico Hamilton, John Hicks, Ronald Shannon Jackson, the World Saxophone Quartet, Vernon Reid, Ben Harper, Ofra Haza and Bootsy Collins. The song in this video is called "Justification," and the band includes Zaccai Curtis (keyboards), Cary DeNigris (guitar), Chulo Gatewood (electric bass) and Brandon Lewis (drums).
Down below, there's a video from Chris Cheek, a St. Louis native and graduate of Webster University who in addition to leading his own bands has played played with Paul Motian, Guillermo Klein, Seamus Blake, David Berkman, Jen Chapin, Kurt Rosenwinkel and many others. This clip shows Cheek and accordionist Victor Prieto playing Cheek's composition "Shelter" at a concert in NYC, location otherwise unspecified.
The third video features Butch Thomas, another St. Louis native and Webster University graduate who's worked with big rock stars like Sting, Lenny Kravitz, and Thomas Dolby as well as with bass legend Jaco Pastorius and a whole host of other well-known names. After living in NYC and London, Thomas recently relocated to Florida, and his appearance on a local TV program in Tampa yielded this clip of him performing "Caribbean Woman" from his self-titled debut CD released last year.