Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Jazz this week: Stanley Jordan, a "family concert" from Metta Quintet, and more

This week's menu of jazz and creative music in St. Louis features everything from big bands to a stellar jazz guitarist who's practically a band all by himself. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, guitarist Stanley Jordan (pictured) returns to St. Louis to begin a four-night engagement with his trio at Jazz at the Bistro. Jordan is known for his distinctive two-hand tapping technique that enables him to play lead and accompanying parts simultaneously on a standard guitar, and in recent years, he's also started playing guitar and piano at the same time. For more about that, plus two entire concerts' worth of video footage of Jordan, see this post from last Saturday.

Tomorrow night, saxophonist Freddie Washington will lead a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. Washington is a fine modern jazz player who draws on influences such as John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins, and on ballads you can also hear echoes of older guys like Lester Young and Ben Webster in his playing.

On Friday, singer Valerie Tichacek and her cohorts in Wack-A-Doo will bring their take on the pre-WWII swing sound to Robbie's House of Jazz, and guitarist Larry Brown Jr. will celebrate the release of his new CD with an early set at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. (Brown and his band also will do an early set at BB's on Saturday night.) Also on Friday, pianist Nick Schlueter leads a trio with bassist Jessica Sacks and drummer Paul Shaw at the Cigar Inn in Belleville.

On Saturday, Robbie's will feature guitarist Eric Slaughter's trio with special guest Erika Johnson on vocals, performing in a fundraising event for St. Louis Business Resources.

On Sunday afternoon, Jazz St. Louis will present their first-ever "Family Concert," a performance by Metta Quintet at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The show, which costs just $5, is billed as "a fun, interactive introduction to jazz that illuminates the art form’s cultural origins, concepts about improvisation and creative self-expression and explores the role and responsibility of each individual member of the jazz ensemble and how they all must work together to serve and achieve the collective goal of making great music."

Also on Sunday afternoon, there's a jam session and performance at BB's to benefit bassist Raymond Eldridge, who has played with many local jazz artists over the years but recently has been ailing and in and out of the hospital. (Full disclosure: Yr. humble StLJN editor has played a few gigs with Eldridge, who's a good guy as well as a good bass player. Here's hoping for a healthy turnout at the benefit, and better health soon for Eldridge himself.)

On Monday, guitarist Steve Schenkel leads a group playing jazz interpretations of the music of former Beatle guitarist George Harrison in a concert at Webster University.

Also on Monday (and just a bit down the road in Webster Groves), the Genesis Jazz Project will be performing at Robbie's House of Jazz, while at almost the same time downtown, the Sessions Big Band will be at BB's.

On Tuesday morning, pianist Carolbeth True and singer Christi John Bye will perform in a "Coffee Concert" at the Sheldon, with the program repeating on Wednesday as well.

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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