Thursday, April 19, 2012

Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, Oikos Ensemble, Lauren Sevian, Freddie Washington, Cornet Chop Suey, and more

It's another busy weekend for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a number of touring musicians in town for the ninth annual Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival and an extensive menu of shows featuring St. Louis musicians, too. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian will present an early evening performance and master class at Saxquest. Sevian is in town to serve as a clinician/adjudicator for the daytime, educational portion of the GSLJF, which involves a competition for student jazz big bands and combos from around the area. She'll also be a guest with the UMSL Big Band during their festival performances, opening the show for Friday and Saturday's headliners.

Right around the time Sevian is wrapping up, vibraphonist Stefon Harris and trumpeter Sean Jones will be teaming up for the first of two sets at Jazz at the Bistro. Harris and Jones also have been serving as clinician/adjudicators for the student combo portion of the GSLJF, and from what I can tell, it sounds like they're using Harris' band as the rhythm section for their gig at the Bistro. (You can read a review of Harris' show last week in Kansas City here.)

Update, 4:30 p.m., 4/19/12: The latest word now is that Harris, in fact, did not bring his band with him, and he and Jones will be backed by Ken Kehner (piano), Marty Morrison (drums) and Jahmal Nichols (bass). The latest tweet from Jazz St. Louis also indicates they'll be playing familiar material including "Soul Eyes," "Resolution," "Dolphin Dance," and "Giant Steps,"

For more about the GSLJF, check out this video preview post from last Saturday, and this post over at St. Louis magazine's Look/Listen blog based on an interview with Jim Widner, director of the UMSL jazz program and the GSLJF.

Also on Thursday night, saxophonist Freddie Washington will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. Washington's gig is the final Jazz at Holmes show of the semester, and the email announcement for it also stated that, unlike the past couple of years, there will be no summer Jazz at Holmes series this year. So, looks like this week's JaH concert will be the last one until September, which seems like a long time away.

On Friday, the GSLJF continues with percussionist Poncho Sanchez and his band with guest trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. They'll be playing music from Chano y Dizzy!, their 2011 CD paying tribute to conga drummer/composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. The UMSL Big Band will open the show.

Also on Friday, guitarist Matthew Von Doran will be the featured performer in the second installment of the new Friday night series at City Music; Three Central will bring their smooth jazz sound to Robbie's House of Jazz; the St. Louis Big Band plays a concert at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 4029 Blow St.; and guitarist Eric Slaughter and his trio are playing at the Cigar Inn.

On Saturday, there are a couple of notable daytime events, as trad jazz and swing band Cornet Chop Suey plays a mid-day show at the Sheldon Concert Hall, and Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Diana Haskell presents a workshop and performance at Saxquest.

Then on Saturday night, the GSLJF concludes with the St. Louis debut of bassist Christian McBride's big band at the Touhill. Again, the UMSL Big Band is scheduled to open the show.

Also on Saturday night, the Funky Butt Brass Band will perform at the newish Midtown venue Plush; and saxophonist Matt McKeever's trio plays at Robbie's.

On Sunday afternoon, the Oikos Ensemble, featuring saxophonist Clifford Aerie, will present a performance at First Congregational Church in Webster Groves to benefit the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center in East St. Louis.

Also on Sunday afternoon, Cornet Chop Suey will play a matinee concert at Lewis & Clark Community College; and a bit later on, the Dave Dickey Big Band will take the stage for their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, with Metrobones as the intermission act.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Webster University Jazz Singers will give their final performance of the semester at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the main Webster campus.

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 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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