Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jazz this week: Vijay Iyer, Eliane Elias, Jeff Coffin, ScrapArts Percussion, and more

This week brings a number of potentially interesting jazz and creative music performances to St. Louis, so let's go straight to the highlights:

Tonight, pianist Vijay Iyer (pictured) opens a four-night stand continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Iyer will be making his St. Louis debut as the man of the moment with jazz critics and fans, as his most recent CD Historicity has emerged as a consensus choice as one of 2009's best. For more on Iyer, check out this video post from a few Saturdays back; this interview from Jazz St. Louis' podcast series; and this interview published last weekend in the Post-Dispatch.

On Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University resumes for the winter/spring semester with a free concert by guitarist Matthew Von Doran, backed by drummer Steve Davis and bassist Bob DeBoo.

Then on Friday, the versatile saxophonist Jeff Coffin, who's known for his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the Dave Matthews Band, will bring his own band the Mu'Tet and their their brand of jam-band jazz to 2720, the former south side furniture store now operating as a gallery and music venue.

There are a couple of noteworthy shows on Saturday, starting with Eliane Elias at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The Brazilian-born pianist and singer first made her mark here in the States in the early 1980s as a member of the latter-day fusion band Steps Ahead, and went on to team with her ex-husband, trumpet player Randy Brecker, for a series of well-received albums mixing straight-ahead, contemporary and Brazilian jazz. As a solo artist, Elias has continued to tap her roots in Brazil, but also has been involved in projects ranging from a big-band album arranged by Bob Brookmeyer to an intimate tribute to pianist Bill Evans.

Also of interest on Saturday, the ScrapArts Percussion ensemble will perform at Washington University's Edison Theatre. The five-member group builds their own instruments "from the castaway scraps of industrial production,' resulting in "a groove-based fusion of world music traditions and 21st century sounds."

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday pianist Kim Portnoy will perform at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium as part of the University's series of bargain-priced Monday concerts.

For more jazz-related events in St. Louis this weekend and beyond, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or by becoming a "fan" of the StLJN Facebook page.

(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.)

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