With Memorial Day come and gone and local presenters now on their summer schedules, the number of touring jazz musicians coming through St. Louis definitely takes a noticeable drop at this time of year. At the same time, there are plenty of other things competing for the public's attention, from summer outdoor activities to musical events like this Saturday's RFT Music Showcase.
But even with all that, there still are some noteworthy jazz events featuring both visitors and local musicians happening around town over the next few days, if you know where to look. Let's go to the highlights...
Tonight, singer Ralph Butler is at Robbie's House of Jazz; keyboard player and singer Jesse Gannon plays at the Delmar Lounge; and guitarist Tom Byrne leads the weekly jam session at the Highway 61 Roadhouse.
On Friday, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars and other students from the organization's JazzU program will open their annual weekend of performances at Jazz at the Bistro. This year, the young musicians also have on board a special guest star, saxophonist Tim Warfield, who's played with Christian McBride, Nicholas Payton, Terrell Stafford, and numerous others.
Friday also is the opening night for Stages St. Louis' revival of the Fats Waller musical Aint' Misbehavin'. The cast (pictured) performs more than two dozen songs associated with Waller, accompanied by a seven-piece live band led by pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson. The show runs through the end of the month, with multiple performances each week; see the Stages website for details.
Also on Friday, singer Ken Haller will perform "The TV Show" at the Kranzberg Arts Center under the auspices of cabaret producers The Presenters Dolan. As the name implies, the show features "songs written for TV from Sesame Street to Smash, from Cinderella to Animaniacs."
Other gigs on Friday include guitarist Matt McCallie and his band at Robbie's House of Jazz; tenor saxophonist Austin Cebulski leading a quartet with pianist Dave Grelle, bassist Ryan Chamberlain and drummer Marty Morrison at the Cigar Inn; and saxophonist Tim Cunningham's weekly performance at Jazz on Broadway.
Last but not least, Friday's also the first day of the annual Art & Air Festival in Webster Groves. This year's lineup of entertainment for the free outdoor event includes several acts that may be of interest to jazz listeners, including Bridge with Dave Black and singer Erin Bode with Orange on Friday; singer Anita Rosamond on Saturday; and singer Heather Matthews and Sandy Weltman & Hot Club Caravan on Sunday.
On Saturday afternoon, the St. Louis Big Band performs a matinee concert at the Missouri History Museum. Admission is free for anyone who brings a can of food to donate to local food banks. Then on Saturday night, the eclectic roots music band Sins of the Pioneers, who mix up western swing, New Orleans jazz, jump blues, and several other genres, will play at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton in Maplewood.
On Sunday afternoon, Bob Coleman's Legacy Big Band will perform their Glenn Miller-themed show "Miller Magic" at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and author and former St. Louisan Benjamin Cawthra will be at the Missouri History Museum to speak about his book Blue Notes in Black and White: Photography and Jazz. Saxophonist Kelvin Evans will play a short set of standards before the lecture.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday, Tom Byrne brings his Pat Metheny-inspired project Have You Heard? back to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and on Tuesday, guitarist Dave Black plays an early evening set at BB's.
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.
(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.)