Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Jazz this week: Stanley Clarke Trio, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Dead Kenny Gs, Glendale Jazz Festival, and more

Memorial Day weekend is always a busy time, and there's lots to do in St. Louis over the next several days, including the annual Bluesweek Festival, which this year has moved from fall to spring. Fortunately, that packed calendar of events also includes a number of jazz and creative music performances worth checking out. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, virtuoso bassist Stanley Clarke (pictured) opens a four-night stand continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Clarke was at the Bistro last year in a duo with pianist Hiromi Uehara; this time, he's playing in a trio format with pianist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr. They'll likely draw on some of the material from Clarke's recent trio albums - one featuring Hiromi and drummer Lenny White, the other with White and pianist Chick Corea - as well as a few of his best-known compositions rearranged for an acoustic trio. (To whet your appetite, you might want to check out this post from last year featuring some videos of Clarke.)

Also tonight, pianist Thollem McDonas is back in town for two performances, the first at 6:00 p.m. at Laumeier Sculpture Park with multi-instrumentalist Arrington de Dionyso and electronic musician Eric Hall, the second at 9:00 p.m. at Floating Laboratories on a bill with Hall, de Dionsyo, Raglani, Kevin Harris and Ghost Ice.

Tomorrow, the New Orleans Suspects, which features members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Radiators and the Neville Brothers' backing group, make their St. Louis debut at the Old Rock House. The Suspects include DDBB saxophonist Kevin Harris, a founding member of that group, and its current guitarist Jake Eckert; bassist Reggie Scanlan, formerly with the Radiators; drummer Willie Green, who's been touring and recording with the Neville Brothers since the mid-1980s; and keyboard player and vocalist CR Gruver.

And speaking of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, they'll be in town and performing at the Old Rock House on Friday night. For an update on what's been happening with the DDBB, see this interview with founding member Roger Lewis just published in Kansas City's Pitch Weekly.

Also on Friday, the 13th annual Glendale Jazz Festival (.pdf file) takes place at Glendale City Hall, 424 N. Sappington Rd. Performers at the free event include Cornet Chop Suey, the Terry Thompson Swing Alive Band, and blues/rock guitarist and singer Billy Peek. Don Wolff will serve as MC.

And as if that weren't enough for one evening, Friday also is the date for "Da-Dum-Dun," a mini-festival honoring the legacies of Miles Davis, write Henry Dumas and choreographer Katherine Dunham. The free event will feature a variety of performances, including music from the Bosman Twins, and takes place at the SIUE-ESL Higher Education Campus, 601 J.R. Thompson Dr. in East St. Louis.

On Saturday, the "punk jazz" trio the Dead Kenny Gs come to town to perform at 2720 Cherokee. While the DKG's crazy quilt mix of musical styles driven by punk-rock-style aggression isn't everyone's cup of tea, some find it quite entertaining. And there's no doubt that percussionist/vocalist Mike Dillon, saxophonist/keyboardist Skerik, and bassist and saxophonist Brad Houser display some interesting chops in the process. You can see them perform on video and make your own judgment in this video post from last Saturday.

Then on Sunday, trombonist Dave Dickey brings his big band back to Kirkwood Station Brewing Company for their monthly gig.

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.)

(Edited after posting to the link to the Stanley Clarke video post.)

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