Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:
* The Post-Dispatch's Deb Peterson reports that Jazz St. Louis's benefit gala last Friday night at the Hilton at the Ballpark raised nearly $280,000, which will be used for the organization's education programs.
* Saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake talked with Terry Perkins for a story in the St. Louis Beacon about the exhibit of Lake's artwork opening tonight at the Metropolitan Gallery.
* Updating StLJN's recent story on local jazz jam sessions, guitarist Tom Byrne will take over hosting duties for the Thursday night jams at Hwy 61 Roadhouse starting next Thursday, March 22. No word as to why the band Nu-Element bowed out of the gig, but Byrne, who also teaches at nearby Webster University, will carry on with assistance from bassist Bob DeBoo.
* Saxophonist, composer and St. Louis native Greg Osby (pictured) has a thought-provoking guest post this week on the Open Sky Jazz blog about how the deliberate complexity of some modern jazz can reduce the music's appeal to general audiences.
* Jazz Times' Evan Haga has a review of Herbie Hancock's recent concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Hancock will play in St. Louis with the same band, and likely the same setlist, this Sunday at the Touhill Perfomring Arts Center.
* The RFT's Ryan Wasoba goes "all in" covering this week's shows by Vijay Iyer at Jazz at the Bistro, with a feature story, blog post, and review of Wednesday's performance. Iyer continues at the Bistro through tomorrow night. For a slightly more nuanced view of Iyer's new album Acclerando, read this review by the New York Times' Nate Chinen.
* According to an article in the Alton Telegraph, the Alton Symphony Orchestra "is in desperate need of funds to finish out the 2012 season." The piece by the Telegraph's Dan Brannan says the Orchestra "must raise $6,000 or be forced to dissolve," according to the terms of its own bylaws.
* Bassist, jazz educator and Kirkwood native Kris Berg has released his first CD as a leader, This Time/Last Year. Berg has been director of jazz studies at Collin College near Dallas for nearly 20 years. The CD features Berg's original material and arrangements, as played by Dallas' Metroplexity Big Band and guest stars including Wayne Bergeron, Delfeayo Marsalis, Clay Jenkins and Chris Vadala. Berg will celebrate the release with a concert on Friday, March 30 at Collin College's 20th annual jazz festival; for more on that and the CD, visit his website.