Thursday, July 26, 2012

Jazz this week: Ronnie Burrage, Musica Slesa, All That Tap, Della Reese, and more

It's another week of extreme heat here in St. Louis, and yet the work of presenting jazz and creative music goes on unabated, with a homecoming gig for drummer and U City native Ronnie Burrage; the annual All That Tap festival; and several other noteworthy events. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, trumpeter Kasimu Taylor debuts a new quintet in the subterranean confines of the Cigar Inn, featuring Montez Coleman on drums, Bob DeBoo on bass, Eric Slaughter on guitar and Nicole Jonas on vocals. Taylor has gigged around town with a number of different funk, R&B, jazz and swing bands, but this reportedly is his first venture in a while as a leader, so here's your chance to get in on the ground floor, so to speak.

Also tonight, it's the monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts, featuring live improvised music from keyboardist Jim Hegarty, percussionist Tom Zirkle and a cast of co-conspirators. Word is that Hegarty will be bringing out his Moog Voyager for the gig, so if you're into vintage-style analog synthesis, this could be the show for you.

On Friday, drummer and U. City native Ronnie Burrage (pictured) will be back in town for the first of two evenings at Robbie's House of Jazz. Burrage, who's been teaching at Penn State University in recent years, will be fronting a hybrid version of his Band Burrage, bringing Philadelphia saxophonist Rick Tate with him, but also enlisting the aid of locals Bob DeBoo (bass) and Eric Slaughter (guitar).

In addition to drumming, Burrage is a keyboardist, singer and composer, and all those skills should be on display this weekend. For more about him, check out this Saturday video post that preceded his appearance here last summer. Also, I did an interview with Burrage that will be published shortly on the RFT Music Blog; once it's online at the RFT's site, there will be a link here, too.

Elsewhere on Friday, Latin-jazz group Musica Slesa will open a two-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro, and actress and singer Della Reese will perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall in a benefit for the Eugene Field Foundation. The Sheldon and Metrotix are offering a discount on the last of the regularly priced tickets for Reese's show; for details on that, go here.

On Saturday, it's the annual All That Tap concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, featuring a stellar lineup of tap dancers demonstrating their art with a musical assist from pianist Carolbeth True's trio.

Also on Saturday, saxophonist Jim Stevens will play a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park; the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery & Tap Room will present a show of improvised/experimental music featuring the Darin Gray/Bill Horist Duo, Larva and Ghost Ice; and Jazz St. Louis' Young Friends organization will be having a patio party outside the Bistro while Musica Slesa is performing inside.

On Sunday, string-band swing band Dizzy Atmosphere will perform at the Tap Room; world music group Farshid Etniko plays a free outdoor concert at Carondelet Park; and the eclectic roots-music band Sins of the Pioneers will team up with the Compton Heights Concert Band for a free outdoor show at Francis Park, Eichelberger & Donovan. (The SOTP/CHCB will be repeated Monday night at Tower Grove Park.)

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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