Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Jazz this week: Michael Franks, Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, and more

This week's calendar of jazz and creative music in St. Louis is considerably less crowded than last week's, but there are still several notable events happening around the metro area. Let's go to the highlights:

The best-known touring performer in town this week is singer/songwriter Michael Franks, who will play on Thursday at the Ameristar Casino St. Charles' Bottleneck Blues Bar. For more about Franks and some video clips of him performing, see this post.

Also on Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series of free concerts at Washington University continues with pianist Reggie Thomas doing a performance devoted to the music of Thelonious Monk.

On Friday night, singer Mardra Thomas once again steps into the role of Billie Holiday for a dinner-and-concert event at Harris Stowe State University, and guitarist Matthew Von Doran and his trio will play at Broadway Bean Coffee on the south side.

UPDATE - 12:00 p.m., 9/17/10: Von Doren's performance at Broadway Bean has been canceled, due to an illness in a band member's family. Von Doren says the date will be rescheduled for next month.

On Saturday, the Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its tenth anniversary with a lineup featuring homegrown talent, including a group drawn from the Webster University jazz faculty, who will perform a program of lesser-known Duke Ellington songs; the Webster Groves High School jazz band; and the Robert Edwards Ensemble, the resident band at Robbie's House of Jazz, which is located adjacent to the festival site. Keyboardist Curt Landes, guitarist Teddy Presberg, and the Funky Butt Brass Band round out the festival's jazz offerings.

Yr. humble editor remains somewhat less sanguine about the event's blues menu. But rather than rehash the whole mishegas here once more, let's just say that singer/guitarist Marquise Knox and the New Orleans R&B/funk/zydeco cover band Gumbohead are reliably entertaining performers, and the rest depends on your perspective. Given its resources and circumstances, the Old Webster fest probably shouldn't be held to the same standard as a big-budget, name-brand festival, but if you think of it as a free, neighborhood event with a hipper-than-usual musical lineup, it's a different story.

Speaking of Robbie's House of Jazz, the club has singer Jeanne Trevor set to appear on Friday night; a jazz brunch with Sound Unlimited at mid-day on Saturday; and keyboardist Tony Simmons performing on Saturday night.

(And in case you were wondering, Jazz at the Bistro is dark this weekend, as this was the week when the Jazz Crusaders had been scheduled to play at the Touhill Performing Arts Center under the auspices of Jazz St. Louis. That concert was postponed due to health problems affecting Jazz Crusaders saxophonist Wilton Felder, and no other act was booked at the TouPAC or the Bistro to fill the otherwise-open weekend. The Bistro's fall schedule resumes next Wednesday with a four-night stand from pianists Kenny Barron and Mulgrew Miller.)

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night saxophonist Paul DeMarinis leads his band in a concert at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, and the Sessions Big Band performs downtown at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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.)

(Updated 9/15/10 to add Friday's events.)


Jazz Site said...

This is quite an exciting lineup of music talent to be displayed. The Robbie's House of Blues, if I have the name correct is a place that features some great talent year round of what I have heard. Michael Franks came from a musical background, recorded with David Sanborn and has composed music for film.

Anonymous said...

two sets of the teddy presberg organ trio with special guests dave black and DJ alejan. i don't think you can find a hotter set than that yer somewhat humbled editor

Dean Minderman said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Jazz Site. The name of the club in question is "Robbie's House of Jazz."

I'm pretty sure they'd get sued for trying to use any variation on "House of Blues," as that is a fairly lucrative brand name for its owners.

Anonymous, Presberg's presence at the Webster fest is duly noted in the post, but I'm glad to hear about the addition of Dave Black, who, in my opinion, adds additional credibility & interest to any musical enterprise. Can you point me to any online audio of the Presberg-Black-DJ configuration? I can't make the Webster event, but I'd like to hear what they're doing...

Anonymous said...

try this for TP w/ D Black: