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.
* In the latest Miles Davis-related news, the Associated Press has distributed a feature story about the 50th anniversary of Kind of Blue, with remarks from Jimmy Cobb, Quincy Jones, Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Chris Botti and others.
Meanwhile, Wolfgang's Vault, which claims to be "the largest collection of licensed streaming live recordings on the Internet," will open its archives beginning November 3 to add more than 1,000 titles from 919 artists to the approximately 500 already available for purchase from the site's Concert Vault section. To promote "Cracking the Vault Day," they're offering a few new shows twice weekly, with concerts featuring Davis, Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra going online this Friday, October 16.
Also, here's a review of the new Complete Birth of the Cool reissue from Tim Niland's blog Music and More, and a free download of a previously unissued Davis concert, recorded November 3, 1969 at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, France.
Lastly, news comes this week that Davis' former home on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is up for sale; if you've ever wondered just how large the trumpeter was livin' on the West Coast, you can check out the description and photos here.
* Turning to news of other St. Louisans, here's a review written by Marcia Hillman for AllAboutJazz.com of three new solo piano CDs, including the posthumously issued I Remember You from the late St. Louis native John Hicks.
* Here's a review of saxophonist Oliver Lake's new Organ Trio CD Makin' It written for for AllAboutJazz.com by Hrayr Attarian, who calls it "a very stimulating session that successfully marries the soul-jazz format of the organ/saxophone/drums trio to freer improvisations and edgy avant-garde styles."
* Here's a review of a recent Hamiet Bluiett duo gig in Takoma Park, MD that paired the baritone sax master with poet Lee Pearson.
* Multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich's Rites Quartet has a new CD, Things Have Got To Change, on the Clean Feed label. Inspired by the sound of Julius Hemphill’s Dogon A.D., it features Ehrlich (pictured) on alto sax with James Zollar on trumpet, Erik Friedlander on cello, and Pheeroan AkLaff on drums. AllAboutJazz.com already has up two reviews of the disc, one from Stuart Broomer here, and another from Troy Collins here.
* Here's an interview with bassist and St. Louis native Steve Kirby, who now teaches music at the University of Manitoba, focusing on his take on the Canadian jazz sound and Canadian musicians.
* The Night Lights program on radio station WFIU in Bloomington, IN recently broadcast “John Zorn’s Hardboiled Bop,” a tribute program featuring music from the alto saxophonist's two News for Lulu releases; Voodoo: the Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet; and other late-1980s recordings. Zorn attended Webster University here in the mid-1970s.
* Trumpeter Keyon Harrold has just released his first CD as a leader, Introducing Keyon Harrold, on the Criss Cross label. The disc features six original tunes, a spiritual, and an interpretation of Horace Silver's "Peace," performed by a band including Harrold, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, his brother E.J. Strickland on drums, pianist Danny Grissett and bassist Dezron Douglas. Harrold's former teacher, trumpeter Charles Tolliver, guests on one track.
* Turning to news of recent visitors to St. Louis, JazzWax' Marc Myers has a multi-part interview with saxophonist Sonny Rollins, focusing on Rollins' affinity for the Wild West and the connection between his childhood love of Western movies and his 1957 album Way Out West. Read part one here, and follow the links to subsequent installments. Rollins was here last month for a concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.
* Singer and pianist Ann Hampton Callaway, who was in town a couple of weeks ago for a performance at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis, will perform this week at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles on a bill with pianist Ramsey Lewis.
* Turning to the "coming attractions" file, there's some entertaining reading in one saxophonist's account of how "James Carter Ruined My Life," via the Twin Cities jazz blog bebopified. Carter will be back in St. Louis next May to perform at Jazz at the Bistro.
* Pianist Vijay Iyer, who will make his St. Louis debut in January at the Bistro, recently was featured on NPR's A Blog Supreme. Also, here are two reviews Iyer's new CD - the first written for AllAboutJazz.com by Troy Collins, and the second from About.com's Jacob Teichroew.
* From the "items of more general interest" file: A new issue of the always interesting online jazz magazine Point of Departure is now available.
* And, last but not least, regular readers of this space know that yr. humble editor has an interest in unusual musical instruments. from homemade to high tech. Falling into the latter category is the Eigenharp, a new synth controller that looks like something played by the aliens in the Star Wars cantina band and costs nearly $6,400 US . Is the Eigenharp, as its British developers claim, "the most expressive electronic musical instrument ever made," or is it just a tarted-up Chapman Stick with a bassoon-like breath controller stuck on the side? See it (and decide for yourself) in a BBC report here.
Brian Simpson @ Pizza Express, London
4 hours ago