Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Jazz this week: John Scofield Quartet, Dianne Reeves, Ahmad Jamal, Jan Shapiro, Kung Fu, and more

It's shaping up to be another fairly busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, particularly for the good folks at Jazz St. Louis, who are presenting touring headliners at two different venues, but there's lots going on elsewhere, too. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, guitarist John Scofield opens a four-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro. For this visit, Scofield is downplaying his usual tendencies toward funk, and bringing a quartet playing relatively straightforward swing and featuring pianist Michael Eckroth, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Greg Hutchinson, who was here most recently back in March to do a Ray Brown tribute at the Bistro with Christian McBride and Benny Green. Scofield's new CD A Moment's Peace is just out, so expect to hear some selections from that recording. For more about that project and some videos of Scofield and the quartet in action, check out this post from last Saturday.

On Thursday, singer and St. Louis native Jan Shapiro comes home from Boston, where she heads the vocal department at Berklee College of Music, to perform a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. Shapiro's accompanists will include guitarist William Lenihan and pianist Ptah Williams.

Also on Thursday, singer Billy Valentine will be in town to join Denise Thimes in her annual performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall to raise money for the Mildred Thimes Foundation for pancreatic cancer research. That same evening, the funk/jazz/rock/fusion band Kung Fu, which features musicians associated with Jazz is Dead, RAQ, The Breakfast, and Deep Banana Blackout, will play at 2720 Cherokee.

On Friday, percussionist Herman Semidey leads his Orquesta Nitro Son Montuno for a night of Latin jazz and dancing at Robbie's House of Jazz; traditional jazz group the Dixie Dudes play at Jazz on Broadway in Alton; and guitarist Mason Baran leads a quartet with bassist Ryan Chamberlain, drummer Jerry Mazzuca and saxophonist Austin Cebulske at the Cigar Inn in Belleville.

On Saturday morning, bass players and aspiring bassists may want to head down to the "Ultimate Bass Clinic" at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, featuring instruction from electric bassists Alvin Clark, Philip Burton, John King, Vince Clark and Jahmal Nichols.

That afternoon, the Nu-Art Series presents the up-and-coming young alto saxophonist Kendrick Smith and his group at Metropolitan Gallery. Then on Saturday evening, singer Joe Mancuso performs at Robbie's, and saxophonist Rod Tate plays at the Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will present its fourth and final event of the year at the American Czech Center. Also on Sunday afternoon, the Classical Jazz Quartet performs in a benefit for Five Acres Animal Shelter at The Landings at Spirit Golf Club in Chesterfield.

Then on Sunday evening, Jazz St. Louis continues their "Legends of Jazz" series with a double bill at the Touhill Performing Arts Center featuring singer Dianne Reeves (pictured), whose band includes St. Louis' own Peter Martin on piano, and the veteran pianist Ahmad Jamal. Reeves and Jamal are scheduled to do separate sets, though one supposes a spontaneous collaboration cannot be completely ruled out. Either way, it's a chance to see two well-known headliners for one price.

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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