There's lots going on this week with jazz and creative music in St. Louis, and due to impending deadlines, not much time to tell you about it. So, without further preamble, let's go to the highlights....
Tonight, the free improvising saxophonist Jack Wright returns to St. Louis for the first time in four years for a performance at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. Always eager to collaborate with other improvisors, Wright will be aided and abetted by saxophonist Dave Stone and multi-instrumentalist Ajay Khanna, with epicycle (aka LNAC's Mark Sarich) and bassist Andrew Hefner opening.
On Friday, guitarist Rick Haydon will open a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro. Haydon is well known for his work teaching in the SIUE jazz program, and seems to be a favorite of many other professional guitar players around town as well. Interestingly, though he's played the Bistro many times as a sideman, this will be his debut there as a leader, joined by a group including bassist Zeb Briskovich, drummer Miles Vandiver, pianist Kara Vandiver, clarinetist Scott Alberici and vocalist Kim Fuller.
The staff of Jazz St. Louis no doubt will be working feverishly that evening, as in addition to Haydon's performance, it's also the night of the organization's annual fundraising gala at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. The event features cocktails, dinner, an auction, and music from the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars student ensemble, the Funky Butt Brass Band and this year's special guest, saxophonist and St. Louis native Greg Osby. Tickets start at $250 each; call the Jazz St. Louis offices at 314-534-3663 for info on last-minute availability.
Also on Friday, saxophonist Tim Cunningham is back at Jazz on Broadway; singer Joe Mancuso's trio with bassist Willem von Hombrecht and pianist Tim Garcia will play at the Cigar Inn; and, after performing at the Hilton, the Funky Butt Brass Band will hustle on over to 2720 Cherokee, where they'll be taking part in the "Funk n Horny Spring Revue" along with Hip Grease, Rhythm Section Road Show, Hazard to Ya Booty, and Lamar Harris.
On Saturday, pianist Peter Martin (pictured) returns to the Sheldon Concert Hall for the latest performance in his eponymous series there, now ongoing for more than two years. This one marks the debut of a new ensemble, Inner Circle, that's intended as a vehicle to interpret pop and R&B material in a jazz context, though Martin hasn't released much in advance about the specific repertoire. As has become usual for his Sheldon performances, Martin has recruited some first-rate musicians for Inner Circle, including bassist Robert Hurst, drummer Karriem Riggins and guest vocalist Vivian Sessoms.
Also on Saturday but a bit farther afield, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis will be the featured artist at the Carol Moore Memorial Jazz Festival at Mineral Area College down in Park Hills, MO. Marsalis will be backed by the Mineral Area Kicks Band, with an opening set by the Mineral Area Jazz Ensemble.
On Sunday, von Hombracht and Mancuso will present the second installment of "Willem's Sunday Jazz Jam" at Johnny Gitto's bar and restaurant; and the Bistro at Grand Center will be the venue for "A Tribute to Whitney Houston" featuring singers Cheryl Brown, Anita Jackson and Latoya Brown and a band with keyboard player and singer Jeremiah Allen, bassist Jeff Taylor, drummer Gerald Warren, guitarist Eric Slaughter, and saxophonist Jim Stevens.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band will be back in action for their monthly gig at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.
For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, 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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.
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(Edited 3/8/12 to fix a typo.)