Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Jazz this week: A tribute to Mae Wheeler, Legacy Jazz Quintet, Dave Black, Ritmo Caliente, and more

It's not a big week for name-brand touring jazz musicians in St. Louis, but local and regional players are keeping area stages relatively well-stocked with a variety of musical projects in styles ranging from straight-ahead to Latin jazz to original compositions in several different genres. Let's see what's coming up over the next few days...

Tonight, saxophonist Jeff Riley, a recent transplant to St. Louis who's from Cincinnati by way of Colorado, is having a CD release party at The Gramophone for his new disc Jeff Riley Jazz Suite. With a sound billed as "Frank Zappa meets Charles Mingus," Riley has assembled a large cast for the gig, including reed player Joshua Quinlan from Colorado, trumpeter and singer Shane Jonas from Chicago, and a crew of St. Louis-based players including Jim Sawyer (trombone), Nate Boxdorfer (tenor sax), Marc Bowyer (trombone), Jesse Gannon (keyboards), Matt McCallie (guitar), Willem Von Hombracht (bass), Steve Haake (drums), and Hannah McDonald (vocals).

On Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University begins its skein of free summer concerts with a performance by Ritmo Caliente, a Latin jazz project with guitarist Tom Byrne, keyboardist Myron Williams, bassist Phil Burton, percussionist Rich Tokatz and drummer Ron Carr.

Also on Thursday, guitarist Dave Black will play at Robbie's House of Jazz with a quartet including saxophonist Paul De Marinis, bassist Marc Torlina and drummer Kevin Gianino. You can see several video clips of Black in action in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

On Friday and Saturday, the Legacy Jazz Quintet will perform at Jazz at the Bistro. Led by pianist and Jazz St. Louis director of education Phil Dunlap, they'll play music drawn from the repertoire of Miles Davis between 1959 and 1965, bridging the period from Kind of Blue to Davis' famous quintet with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter and Tony Williams. The gig is presented in cooperation with the Center for the Humanities Summer Institute at Washington University, an annual program for schoolteachers that this year is entitled “The Sock Hop and the Loft: Jazz, Motown, and the Transformation of American Culture, 1959-1975.”

Also on Friday, keyboard player Brock Walker's group will play at Robbie's; Tom Byrne will lead a trio with Ron Carr and bassist Chris Watrous at the Cigar Inn in Belleville; and the Kansas City based jump blues band Grand Marquis makes a stop at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

On Saturday, Byrne teams with singer Ralph Butler for a gig at Robbie's, and singer Erin Bode and her band will play the newly renovated Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville. On Sunday, singer Ellen Martinez will do a matinee at Sugar Creek Winery.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night the Sheldon Concert Hall will present a performance honoring the late singer Mae Wheeler and raising money for her scholarship charity. The event will feature singers Jeanne Trevor (pictured), Denise Thimes, Gene Lynn, Marsha Evans, Bill Tucker, Renee Smith, A.J. Dickerson Sr, and Wendy Gordon; Elvis tribute artist Steve Davis; the Gateway Men's Chorus; Trio Trés Bien; the Bosman Twins; and classical pianist Kalid McGhee. The backing band will include Jeff Anderson (tenor sax and upright bass), Jimmy Hinds (electric bass), Eric Slaughter (guitar), Al Barnes (drums), Carolbeth True (piano) and Tony Simmons (keyboards), with jazz broadcaster Don Wolff and KTVI newswoman Bonita Cornute as hosts. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and will be available at the door starting at 6:00 p.m. the evening of the show.

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.)

(Edited 7/6/11 to add info on the Erin Bode concert at the Wildey Theatre.)

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