Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jazz this week: Greg Osby, Craig Pomranz, Sinatra Songbook, Funky Butt Brass Band's "Holiday Brasstravaganza," and more

As December goes on, the number of touring acts out on the road usually drops rather precipitously, but this weekend's schedule of jazz and creative music does feature homecoming performances from a couple of St. Louis natives who have enjoyed wider success, as well as some noteworthy gigs from local players.

Tonight, saxophonist Greg Osby (pictured) returns home to open a four-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Osby will be performing with his regular working group, sometimes referred to as the 5tet, which includes pianist Frank LoCrasto, guitarist Nir Felder, bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer John Davis.

It's been a couple of years since the St. Louis native's last recording and his last appearance here, but Osby is known for constantly refreshing his repertoire, writing new material and rearranging older compositions, and he'll no doubt have some new twists for the hometown crowd this time around. For more about Greg Osby and some performance videos of him and his band in action, see this post. The Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson also interviewed Osby about this week's gig, and you can read that here.

Also tonight, singer Erin Bode will perform at Porter's in Collinsville.

Tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m., Osby and his group will present a workshop and clinic at Webster University's Community Music School. The event is free and open to the public. Tomorrow night, saxophonist Jim Stevens and his band will play an early show at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

On Friday, percussionist Herman Semidey and his Orquesta Nitro Son Montuno will play Latin jazz and salsa at Robbie's House of Jazz; guitarist Eric Slaughter's trio with bassist Nick Jost and drummer Marty Morrison performs at Cigar Inn in Belleville; and saxophonist Rhoda G plays at the Halls Ferry Inn Jazz Cafe.

On Saturday afternoon, Greg Osby will present a free saxophone workshop and master class at Saxquest. This event also is free and open to the public, with no reservations required.

Saturday evening, St. Louis native Craig Pomranz brings his new cabaret show "Love and the Clock" to the Kranzberg Arts Center for two performances. Called "one of New York’s most critically-acclaimed saloon singers” by New York magazine, Pomranz will be accompanied by musical director Stephen Bocchino.

Also on Saturday night, the Encore at The J series will present the Sinatra Songbook, featuring singer Tom Heitman with the Steve Schankman Orchestra, at the JCCA's Mirowitz Theatre; and the Funky Butt Brass Band will present their third annual "Holiday Brasstravaganza" at Off Broadway. Admission includes a copy of the band's new holiday EP, Shiny Christmas Balls.

The FBBB also will be appearing on Sunday at the Broadway Oyster Bar, opening for New Orleans trombonist/vocalist Big Sam's Funky Nation; and looking beyond the weekend, on Monday drummer Joe Pastor's trio will take the stage 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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