The big jazz and creative music event this week in St. Louis is the first-ever Jazz Education Network conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a three-day extravaganza with hundreds of attendees from around the country that will be highlighted by a series of public concerts Thursday through Saturday evenings at the Touhill Performing Arts Center
Thursday's concert includes the Brubeck Institute Quintet; the Caswell Sisters; the JEN All-Stars, hosted by bassist John Clayton; and the Army Blues “Pershing’s Own.” On Friday, it's vocal group Sixth Wave; bassist Rufus Reid's Out Front Trio; and the University of Missouri - St. Louis Big Band with special guests percussionist Ruben Alvarez, vibraphonist Stefon Harris (pictured) and trumpeter Wayne Bergeron.
The final concert on Saturday will feature the Hannes Sigfridsson Trio; trumpeter Marvin Stamm with pianist Bill Mays; singer Rosana Eckert with pianist Shelly Berg, bassist Lou Fischer, drummer Ndugu Chancler and percussionist Gary Eckert; and the Clayton Brothers Quintet, featuring bassist John Clayton, his brother Jeff Clayton on alto sax and his son Gerald Clayton on piano, plus trumpeter Terell Stafford and drummer Obed Calvaire.
Elsewhere around town, on Thursday the Unity Theatre Ensemble opens the revival of their critically acclaimed musical The Cotton Club Revue, which runs through Sunday at the Ivory Theatre on the south side.
Also on Thursday, singer Jeff Hall, who makes his home in Nashville, will make his St. Louis debut at Lone Wolf Coffee Company, 15480 Clayton Road in Ballwin. Hall is a protege of the well-known Kansas City jazz vocalist Kevin Mahogany, and has just released his first recordings on the Mahogany Digital label.
He'll be backed by the German-born, Indiana-based pianist Monika Herzig, who will stick around St. Louis to headline her own gig on Saturday at Robbie's House of Jazz, joined by drummer Steve Davis, bassist Peter Kienle, singer Janiece Jaffee, and "possibly other surprise guests."
Also this weekend: the Legacy Jazz Quintet returns to Jazz at the Bistro on Friday and Saturday night, performing the music of Miles Davis in a tribute timed to coincide with the anniversary of the late trumpeter's birth (May 26); and the new Encore! series presented by Steve Schankman at the Jewish Community Center debuts, presenting The Sinatra Songbook featuring Tom Heitman and Schankman's own Orchestra on Friday and Schankman's other personal musical project, the Fabulous Motown Review, on Saturday.
UPDATE - 1:30 p.m., 5/20/10: There's late word from Jazz St. Louis that trumpeter Terell Stafford, who's in town for the JEN Conference, will sit in with the Legacy Jazz Quintet for both sets on Friday night, lending a bit of star power to their Miles Davis tribute.
On Sunday afternoon, singer and St. Louis native Lynne Fiddmont will be back home from Los Angeles for a performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall celebrating the release of her new CD Lady, a tribute to Billie Holiday. Fiddmont also will do a brief in-store performance and CD signing at 6:00 p.m. Friday at Vintage Vinyl.
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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.
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(Edited after posting to fix typos. Edited again on 5/20 to add info on the Lynne Fiddmont show.)