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.
* Starting, as we usually do, with some Miles Davis items, it seems that the impending release of Miles Davis: The Complete Columbia Album Collection, the upcoming book The Blue Moment by Richard Williams, and the exhibit "We Want Miles" at the Cité de la Musique in Paris recently prompted the London Times to ask, "Why is Miles Davis so legendary?"
The answer, in part: "Miles’s celebrated urge to keep moving — to play music that was one minute beguiling, the next baffling (“It’s my curse”) is one reason...But music aside, Miles remains an eminently marketable star...Today’s jazz names — from Diana Krall to Pat Metheny — look a meek lot by comparison. "
In other Miles-related news, AllAboutJazz.com has a review by C. Michael Bailey of the recent reissue of Davis' 1950s sessions with Sonny Rollins, and another by George Kanzler covering the 50th anniversary reissue of Sketches of Spain plus a new tribute CD, Miles Ahead Live, by saxophonist Dave Liebman and the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra.
* Moving on to news of other locals past and present, singer Phil Perry, another former East St. Louisan, is recovering after collapsing while on stage in Connecticut with Pieces of A Dream on October 23. Perry spent three days in the Hospital of Saint Raphael in New Haven, Conn and was equipped with a new defibrillator. Perry says he is doing fine and will be back on the road soon: “My heart is wired like the Energizer Bunny, with a nifty little defibrillator to keep me on beat and keep me on my feet.”
* Writing on the band's blog Do The Math, The Bad Plus' Ethan Iverson recently linked to an interesting 1994 interview with the late saxophonist and former St. Louisan Julius Hemphill.
* The prolific saxophonist and composer John Zorn, who once studied at our town's Webster University, has a new CD called Femina, featuring an all-female ensemble performing a suite dedicated to women artists from various disciplines, such as Louise Bourgeois, Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath, Meredith Monk and Yoko Ono. Here's a review from AllAboutJazz.com's Troy Collins.
* Turning to news of recent visitors, here's a review of Stone Shift, the most recent CD from saxophonist Larry Ochs & Drumming Core. Ochs and the Core were here last month for a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
* Moving on to the "coming attractions" file, bassist Christian McBride and his band Inside Straight, with St. Louis' Peter Martin on piano, will be featured on a live audio/video Webcast from NYC's Village Vanguard starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, November 11 (tomorrow evening). They'll be here in St. Louis next week for a four-night run at Jazz at the Bistro; meanwhile, you catch the Webcast on the site of NYC public radio station WBGO,
* An article by Nate Chinen in the latest Jazz Times calls singer Kurt Elling "the most influential jazz vocalist of our time." Elling will be in St. Louis in December to perform at Jazz at the Bistro.
* Here's a review of singer/songwriter/pianist Nellie McKay's new CD Normal as Blueberry Pie, written for AllAboutJazz.com by Matt Marshall. McKay (pictured) is coming to St. Louis under the auspices of Cabaret St. Louis to perform next Wednesday and Thursday at the Kranzberg Arts Center.
* Organist Joey DeFrancesco has a new disc called High Note, reviewed here by Music and More's Tim Niland. DeFrancesco returns to St. Louis at the end of March for four nights at Jazz at the Bistro.
* Pianist Vijay Iyer, who will play the Bistro from January 20 through January 23, just wrapped up a gig at NYC's Jazz Standard, reviewed here by the New York Times' Ben Ratliff, and also was just featured on NPR's "Song of The Day."
* Last but not least, from the "miscellaneous items of interest file": A new research paper done by the Council for Research Excellence (CRE) with support from the Nielsen Company challenges many of the myths about how people today listen to music. The study tracked 752 days of audio media usage last year by participants in five markets and found that "from broadcast radio to MP3 players, some popular notions about listening in the digital age appear to be horribly off the mark." Read more about "How U.S. Adults Use Radio and Other Forms of Audio" here.