Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jazz this week: Ramsey Lewis, Jane Monheit, Tony Conrad, "The Music of Bluiett," Bonerama, Cornet Chop Suey, and more

From traditional jazz to contemporary grooves to experimental minimalism, this week's menu of jazz and creative music in St. Louis has offerings for a wide variety of tastes. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, pianist Ramsey Lewis (pictured) brings his Electric Band for the first time to Jazz at the Bistro, where he'll be performing through Saturday. As chronicled in this video retrospective from a couple of weeks ago, Lewis has been a significant figure on the international jazz scene for nearly 50 years now, and the Electric Band seems set up specifically to present many of his most popular tunes in a crowd-pleasing format. At last word, there still were some tickets available, but advance reservations definitely are suggested for this one.

Also tonight, the Meramec Jazz Lab Band, with Valerie Tichacek on vocals, continues its ongoing series of monthly performances at Black Cat Theatre in Maplewood.

Tomorrow evening, the New Orleans based Bonerama will perform at the Old Rock House. This will be the third St. Louis appearance this year for the trombone-centric ensemble, following shows at The Gramophone in January and the Sheldon Concert Hall's ballroom in June.

Also on Thursday, singer Jane Monheit, who was here last December to play Jazz at the Bistro, visits the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts at McKendree College in Lebanon, IL for a holiday themed concert.

On Friday, singer Danita Mumphard will perform at the Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe, and pianist Tim Garcia leads a trio with bassist Willem von Hombracht and drummer Clancy Newell at the Cigar Inn in Belleville. That same evening, Jazz on Broadway in Alton has an early show with traditional jazz from the Dixie Dudes, and Robbie's House of Jazz will present blues singer Barbara Carr.

Saturday afternoon, the Nu-Art Series presents "The Music of Bluiett" at Metropolitan Gallery, featuring saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett directing performances of his compositions by several different ensembles from the East St. Louis High School music department.

Then on Saturday evening, musician, composer and multi-media artist Tony Conrad will perform at White Flag Projects under the auspices of New Music Circle. For more about Conrad, including extensive video footage and links to several in-depth interviews, check out this post from last Saturday.

Also Saturday evening, saxophonist Rod Tate returns to Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe, and Robbie's will present the group Cammie & Carnivale, featuring singer Cammie Middleton-Helmsing and guitarist Wayne Kimler.

Sunday afternoon, Cornet Chop Suey plays traditional jazz and swing in a matinee concert presented by the St. Louis Jazz Club at the Doubletree Hotel at Westport. On Sunday evening, BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups has a double bill featuring jazz, funk & R&B from Good 4 The Soul in the early evening slot and Latin jazz from Clave Sol later on.

Monday night, the Webster University Jazz Singers perform their semester-end concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus, and guitarist Tom Byrne's Pat Metheny inspired band Have You Heard? plays at BB's.

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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