The Whitaker Music Festival, the series of free concerts held on Wednesday nights during the summer at the Missouri Botanical Garden, has announced its schedule for 2012, and more than ever, this year's lineup downplays the series' jazz origins in favor a sampling of multiple genres.
The unquestioned highlight for local jazz fans will be the performance by the great baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett (pictured) on Wednesday, June 27. Certainly, giving Bluiett a chance to do his thing in front of thousands on a big outdoor stage is a praiseworthy endeavor, but other than that, and a show by jump-blues and swing band Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers on Wednesday, June 13, there's little else this year of specific interest to jazz enthusiasts.
The series will kick off on Wednesday, May 30 with blues singer/guitarist Marquise Knox. The rest of the lineup includes singer/guitarist Vince Martin, who's rooted in blues but now plays pop, Motown, oldies, and more (June 6); the trad-country band Rockhouse Ramblers (June 20); the Air National Guard Band of the Central States (July 4); alt-rock group Ryan Spearman Band (July 11); neo-soul singer Teresa Jenee; (July 18) and reggae group Aaron Kamm and the One Drops (July 25)
All Whitaker Music Series concerts are free and open to the public, and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Cohen Amphitheater at Missouri Botanical Garden. For more information, visit the series' website or call 314-577-5100.
(Edited 6/14/12 to correct the date of the Hamiet Bluiett concert.)