Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jazz this week: Peter Brötzmann and Hamid Drake, Daryl Sherman, Erin Bode and more

After a jam-packed calendar of offerings last week, this weekend offers a bit more breathing room for St. Louis fans of jazz and creative music. Still, there are several events worth noting, so let's go right to the highlights:

For starters, it's the final weekend for the Black Rep's production of the Louis Jordan musical Five Guys Named Moe, which is playing through Sunday at the Grandel Theatre. The production was directed by Black Rep founder Ron Himes and stars Drummond Crenshaw, Sean Walton, Gary Vincent, Herman Gordon, Horace E. Smith and Anthony Tarvin, Jr, with Charles Creath as musical director.

If you like Jordan's music, or have any interest in the musical period when swing was morphing into jump blues and rock 'n roll, Five Guys... is good fun and, as usual with the Black Rep's musical productions, there are some killer singers in the cast.

On Thursday, singer and pianist Daryl Sherman plays at the Kranzberg Arts Center under the auspices of the Presenters Dolan. Sherman is well-known in NYC's cabaret venues, particularly for her 15-year gig at the Waldorf Hotel, where she played a piano once owned by Cole Porter.

Her show "Lounging At The Waldorf" spotlights material written by Johnny Mercer, along with a few of Porter's songs. Bassist Dave Troncoso will back Sherman, with Don Wolff as MC. The Presenters Dolan also have two cabaret shows this weekend at the Kranzberg featuring St. Louis singers, with Alice Kinsella performing on Friday night and Robert Breig on Saturday.

On Friday and Saturday, singer Erin Bode returns to Jazz at the Bistro. Bode, who's rumored to have a new CD recorded and ready for release sometime soon, is always a good draw at the Bistro, so advance reservations are suggested.

On Sunday, saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and drummer Hamid Drake (pictured) will perform at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. Brötzmann, who's originally from Germany, has been a significant figure on the European and North American free improv scenes for nearly 40 years now; Drake first gained prominence with Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, but now also plays around the world with a variety of free improv and jazz performers.

Their current duo tour is said to be the first such series of shows in a decade. Their concert at the LNAC would seem to be a must-hear for fans of free jazz, improv, noise, avant garde and experimental music, but, given Brötzmann's uncompromising approach and often-harsh sonorities, it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday the Genesis Jazz Project plays a free show at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

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 clicking the "Like" icon on 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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