The East St. Louis High School band will bring back one of its most well-known recent alumni, trumpeter Russell Gunn, as a special guest for the second of two benefit performances next month at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
The first concert will feature the jazz combos from East St. Louis High School playing at 7:00 p.m., Monday, May 7 at the Sheldon. The second concert, at 7:00 p.m. on Monday May 14, will feature Gunn (pictured) along with the school's big band.
Gunn established himself on the national jazz scene in the mid-1990s, playing on Wynton Marsalis' Blood on the Fields and working with Branford Marsalis' Buckshot La Fonque, as well as backing Jimmy Heath, James Moody, R&B hitmaker Maxwell, and others. He has released 14 albums as a leader, the most recent being 2008's Love Stories.
The East St. Louis High School band is considered one of the top student jazz ensembles in the St. Louis area and, indeed, the nation, traveling in 2010 to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and making it to the finals of the national Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition in 2011. This year, they won first place in the Eastern Illinois University Jazz Band festival and competition.
Proceeds from both concerts will go to the East St. Louis Senior High Music Scholarship Foundation, which helps send students from the program to summer music camps that in turn help them compete for college scholarships.
Ticket for each concert are $15 for adults, $5 for students, or adults can purchase tickets for both shows for a combined price of $25. Tickets are on sale now via Metrotix; at the main office at East St. Louis HS, or from any member of the band.
(Edited after posting to fix a typo.)