Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:
* St. Louis-based pianist Peter Martin is in Washington DC this week as part of a group of jazz musicians who will be performing Wednesday night at a state dinner hosted by President and Mrs. Obama for Chinese officials.
The all-star lineup includes Dianne Reeves and Chris Botti, both of whom have employed Martin as their pianist, as well as Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Matt Wilson, Randy Brecker, and Antonio Hart. Martin has been Tweeting (or is it Twittering?) about visiting the White House, and also has posted a couple of photos online.
* Jazz bands from Webster Groves High School and Hixson Middle School will perform at 7 p.m. this Thursday, January 20 at The Pageant (pictured) to benefit the WGHS jazz program. The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. and will feature the 7th grade jazz band, 8th grade jazz band, WGHS Wednesday Jazz band, WGHS Thursday Jazz band, and WGHS Jazz I. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and are available in advance online or at the door. WGHS jazz program director Kevin Cole tells StLJN that Pageant bossman Pat Hagen is opening and staffing the top-rated venue gratis, making money only from drink sales so that all the ticket proceeds can go to WGHS to fund guest artists, sheet music, jazz trip scholarships, and more.
* Guitarist Dave Black last week led an ensemble into the studios of radio station KDHX (88.1 FM) for a live performance promoting his upcoming concert next Tuesday at the Sheldon. You can hear their performance archived online here.
* Speaking of the Sheldon, the hall also is serving as the collection point for a special Music for Lifelong Achievement instrument drive starting next month. MFLA and an organization called Horns to Havana want to collect and send musical instruments, both donated and purchased, to students in schools in and around Havana, Cuba. If you have an instrument to donate, you can bring it to the Sheldon before any concert during February and March, or during normal business hours Monday through Friday.