Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jazz St. Louis announces
2012-13 season schedule

Jazz St. Louis today announced the schedule of performers they've booked for the 2012-13 presenting season at Jazz at the Bistro and the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The "Legends of Jazz" concerts at the Touhill will feature the biggest names, with saxophonist Sonny Rollins (pictured) returning to perform on Friday, October 12. JSL presented Rollins in 2009 at the Touhill, ending a drought of many years without a St. Louis gig for the legendary tenor man.

Also at the Touhill, pianist Chick Corea and banjo player Béla Fleck will play a duo concert on Saturday, March 23; and JSL will continue as co-presenter of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival in 2013 by bringing in the "Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 55th Anniversary Celebration" on Friday, April 19.

That concert will feature a band led by bassist Christian McBride that includes singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Benny Green, and drummer Lewis Nash. (Trumpeter and former Tonight Show bandleader Doc Severinsen's big band will play for the GSLJF on Saturday, April 20; that concert is presented officially by the Touhill and UMSL.)

As for the Bistro, the performers making their St. Louis debuts as leaders there this season will include trumpeter Christian Scott, singers Sachal Vasandani and Gregory Porter, and guitarist Lionel Loueke.

Bassist Marcus Miller will be the first touring act to play the Bistro this fall, though his gigs on Sunday, September 9 and Monday, September 10 are technically "special events" that are not included in the Bistro's subscription season.

Also returning to the Bistro next season are Chris Potter, who will play in a trio format; and his sometimes employer, bassist Dave Holland, who's bringing in his quintet. Other veterans coming back for encore performances include pianists Joe Sample and Billy Childs; singers Kurt Elling and Marlena Shaw; organist Joey DeFrancesco; trumpeters Terell Stafford and Terence Blanchard, and guitarist John Scofield, whose weekend in September with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart also is billed as a "special event."

Some other familiar faces will return in new musical configurations. Saxophonist James Carter and organist Dr. Lonnie Smith will team up for a week of gigs at the Bistro, as will bassist John Clayton and his son, pianist Gerald Clayton, who played the club a couple of years ago with the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Singer and pianist Freddy Cole also will return, this time joined by tenor saxophonist Harry Allen; and trumpeters Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford, and Sean Jones, who all previously have led their own bands at the Bistro, will share the stage for a show billed as “Triumph of Trumpets.”

As for musicians with ties to St. Louis, in what's become an annual tradition, trumpeter, singer and University City native Jeremy Davenport will return from New Orleans to play on Thanksgiving weekend. Also, pianist Reggie Thomas, a longtime mainstay of the St. Louis scene who moved to Michigan last year for a teaching job at Michigan State University, will be back to do a week-long educational residency and play the Bistro along with bassist and fellow MSU faculty member Rodney Whitaker.

On the local front, funk bands Hip Grease and the Dogtown All-Stars both will make their Bistro debuts in December, the latter with the Funky Butt Brass Band's horn section along for the ride. Local acts returning to the Bistro in the fall include trumpeter Jim Manley, guitarist Dave Black, Good 4 The Soul, and the Legacy Jazz Quintet. The local and regional musicians performing at the Bistro during the winter and spring of 2013 will be announced at a later date.

Here's the schedule for 2012-13 in chronological order:

Sunday, September 9 & Monday, September 10: Marcus Miller
Wednesday, September 19 - Saturday, September 22: Terence Blanchard
Friday, September 28 & Saturday, September 29: John Scofield Trio

Wednesday, October 3 - Saturday, October 6: Billy Childs Quartet
Friday, October 12: Sonny Rollins (at the Touhill Performing Arts Center)
Saturday, October 13: Dave Black
Wednesday, October 17 - Saturday, October 20: Christian Scott
Friday, October 26 & Saturday, October 27: Legacy Jazz Quintet
Wednesday, October 31 - Saturday, November 3: Terell Stafford

Friday, November 9 & Saturday, November 10: Jim Manley
Wednesday, November 14 - Saturday, November 17: Joey DeFrancesco
Friday, November 23 & Saturday, November 24: Jeremy Davenport
Wednesday, November 28 - Saturday, December 1: John Pizzarelli

Friday, December 7 & Saturday, December 8: Hip Grease
Wednesday, December 12 - Saturday, December 15: Chris Potter Trio
Friday, December 21 & Saturday, December 22: Dogtown All-Stars with the Funky Butt Horns
Friday, December 28 & Saturday, December 29: Good 4 The Soul


Wednesday, January 2 - Saturday, January 5: Gregory Porter
Wednesday, January 16 - Saturday, January 19: The Bad Plus

Wednesday, January 30 - Saturday, February 2: Dave Holland
Wednesday, February 13 - Saturday, February 16: Sachal Vasandani
Wednesday, February 27 - Saturday, March 2: Kurt Elling

Friday, March 8 & Saturday, March 9: Reggie Thomas & Rodney Whitaker
Wednesday, March 13 - Saturday, March 16: John Clayton & Gerald Clayton
Saturday, March 23: Chick Corea and Béla Fleck (at the Touhill Performing Arts Center)
Wednesday, March 27 - Saturday, March 30: Joe Sample Trio

Friday, April 5 & Saturday, April 6: Jon Faddis' “Triumph of Trumpets” with Terell Stafford & Sean Jones
Wednesday, April 10 - Saturday, April 13: Marlena Shaw
Thursday, April 18: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival at the Bistro - Musicians TBA
Friday, April 19: "Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour 55th Anniversary Celebration" (GSLJF at the Touhill)
Saturday, April 20: Doc Severinsen Big Band (GSLJF at the Touhill)
Wednesday, April 24 - Saturday, April 27: James Carter & Dr. Lonnie Smith

Wednesday, May 8 - Saturday, May 11: Lionel Loueke
Wednesday, May 22 - Saturday, May 25: Freddy Cole with Harry Allen

Overall, while there aren't too many big surprises, it looks like another season of thoughtful bookings within Jazz St. Louis' now well-established parameters. The shows at the Touhill, particularly the return of Sonny Rollins, definitely are good "gets," and no doubt local jazz fans will relish the chance to go to the Bistro for an up-close look at Miller, Holland, and Sample, all of whom have played here most recently in much larger venues.

The "freshman class" of players making their Bistro debuts are all, to one degree or another, currently considered buzzworthy in the jazz press, though how that translates into ticket sales remains to be seen. Still, trumpet fans should jump at the opportunity to hear the highly-touted Christian Scott; Gregory Porter and Sachal Vasandani probably are the two most significant male jazz singers to emerge in recent years; and Loueke, who's played here a couple of times with Herbie Hancock, is an engaging performer who's already developing a significant fan base of his own.

The more familiar players in the Bistro lineup, such as Blanchard, Elling and DeFrancesco, are all pretty much proven to deliver both musical quality on the bandstand and a decent result at the box office, and their fans already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Meanwhile, the pairing of James Carter and Dr. Lonnie Smith and the three-trumpet show with Faddis, Stafford and Jones do both potentially offer some interesting musical twists.

Ticket prices for performances at the Bistro range from $27 to $42 for touring acts, and $20 for local musicians, with student tickets available from $10 to $25. Ticket buyers who purchase a "Choose Your Own" package of at least four shows can get $2 off the price of each individual ticket in the package, and packages of more than four shows may qualify for a greater discount. For more details on how all that works, see here (.pdf file).

Season subscriptions and "Choose Your Own" packages can be purchased now by calling Jazz St. Louis at 314-289-4030. Single tickets for Jazz at the Bistro performances will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 14 via Metrotix and the Jazz St. Louis box office.

Tickets for the shows at the Touhill will be sold through their box office and website and by phone at 314-516-4949. The tickets for Sonny Rollins and the Corea/Fleck concert are priced at $125 for the "VIP" package, $50 and $30 for regular seating, and $20 for students. Pricing information for the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival concerts is TBA, as are the on-sale dates for the shows at the Touhill.

(Edited after posting.)

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