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:
* We always like to start this feature with any news of St. Louis' most famous jazz musician, Miles Davis (pictured), and we've got several related items this week, starting with one from the blog Hot House offering the story behind Miles' recording Four And More: The Complete Concert 1964.
Via Miles Davis Online, here's an interview with artist Tobias Dahmm about painting pictures of Davis, and an item about a production from North Carolina A&T State University's theater department called Mad at Miles, penned by playwright Pearl Cleage and inspired by the troubles in Davis' marriage to Cicely Tyson.
Next up, here's a review by John Kelman of AllAboutJazz.com of Visions of Miles: The Electric Period of Miles Davis, a new CD of big band arrangements written by Colin Towns and performed by Germany's HR Big Band.
Finally, AOL's Luxist website is giving away a free copy of the 70-CD mega box set The Complete Miles Davis Columbia Album Collection (which costs a whopping $328.49 and is available only through Amazon.com), plus a Miles Davis T-shirt and a Miles Davis USB stick, to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment on the post linked here before 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Feburary 26. The winner will be selected in a random drawing.
* Turning to news of other St. Louis area residents past and present, singer and East St. Louis native Phil Perry is back performing again after some health problems, most recently serenading New Yorkers on a Valentine's weekend cruise.
* Perry's fellow former East St. Louisan trumpeter Russell Gunn has announced a new CD, Ethnomusicology Vol. 6: The Return of Gunn-Fu set to be released on April 9, with a digital download available on March 5. (Note that Gunn's dot-com address on the Web seems to have been domain-jacked, so his official site is now located at groidmusic.com, which, you should be duly warned, serves up some auto-playing audio when you load it. )
* The life of St. Louis native, singer, dancer and actress Josephine Baker is depicted in a current exhibit at the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami Beach; Baker's son, Jean-Claude Baker, also recently lectured at the museum about her life and work.
* The Wee Trio, featuring former St. Louisan Dan Loomis on bass, are releasing their second CD, Capitol Diner Vol. 2 Animal Style.
* Saxophonist, composer and long-ago Webster University student John Zorn is conducting a two-night marathon of ten different versions of his band Masada at the Abrons Art Center in NYC, with featured musicians including percussionist Cyro Baptista, keyboardist Uri Caine, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, and the Masada String Trio.
* Looking for news of recent visitors, we find that bassist Christian McBride, who was in St. Louis in December to perform at Jazz at the Bistro, was profiled here by the LA arts mag Venice. This past weekend, McBride presented his civil-rights-themed jazz opus "The Movement Revisited" in Detroit with the Detroit Jazz Festival Orchestra, the Second Ebenezer Majestic Voices, and his quintet, which included East St. Louis' Terreon Gully on drums. While in the Motor City, McBride also answered five questions from the Detroit Free Press.
* Singer/songwriter, pianist and frequent visitor to St. Louis Ann Hampton Callaway once again will open the Great American Songbook for an upcoming gig at Dizzy's in NYC with pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Willie Jones III.
* Meanwhile, via the always useful Avant Music News, we learn that pianist Vijay Iyer is headed to London's Vortex Jazz Club next month for a duo performance with saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. Iyer was here in January to play four nights at the Bistro.
* Drummer Stanton Moore, who's in town tonight at The Pageant with Galactic, has a new trio CD called Groove Alchemy. It's part of a multimedia project, along with an instructional book and DVD of the same name, exploring the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like James Brown's drummers John "Jabo" Starks and Clyde Stubblefield and The Meters' Zigaboo Modeliste.
* Opening the "coming attractions" file, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra saxophonist and arranger/composer Ted Nash has written a series of posts about his new "Seven Shades" suite for the Museum of Modern Art's website. The JaLCO have a new CD out that features the suite, and they'll play in St. Louis on March 13 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
* Guitarist Jeff Beck's new album and tour elicited a feature article from the New York Times' Larry Rohter. Beck will be in St. Louis on Thursday, April 29 to play the Fox Theatre.
* Guitarist/mad scientist Pat Metheny has started his Orchestrion tour in Europe, and reviews are coming in. Here's one of a performance in the Netherlands, written by Philip Woolever for AllAboutJazz.com, and four from Metheny's show at the Barbican in London: from Rod Fogg for the LondonJazz blog; an unbylined review from AllAboutJazz.com; one from a seemingly unlikely source, the Financial Times, written by Mike Hobart; and a rather snarky one (subtitled "Time to pull the plug on this tousle-haired mechanic") written by Michael Church of the Independent. Metheny and the Orchestrion are coming to St. Louis to play the Touhill Performing Arts Center on May 13.
(Edited 2/18/10 to correct the description of Tobias Dahmm, who is a painter, not a photographer.)