Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:
* Stages St. Louis' production of the Fats Waller musical Ain't Misbehavin' came under the scrutiny of the show's creator during its final weekend, as Richard Maltby Jr, who directed the original, Tony Award winning Broadway production, visited St. Louis to catch Friday's performance.
Calling the Stages production "Broadway level work (or higher)" and "one of the best productions this show has ever received," Maltby Jr. schmoozed with theater patrons and staff, and posed for photos with the show's cast and band (pictured). Seen in the photo here, from left, are saxophonists Kendrick Smith and Jason Swagler, drummer Bernard Long Jr, Maltby, trombonist Cody Henry, bassist Jahmal Nichols, and trumpeter Matt Bittles.
* Jazz St. Louis this week announced a $50,000 gift from the Monsanto Fund to support their JazzU program during the 2012-13 academic year. The gift will let JSL continue to offer JazzU at no cost to students, and to reimburse them for transportation costs when necessary. JazzU provides weekly private instruction in ensemble playing, improvisation, music theory, and listening strategies to middle school and high school students from all over the St. Louis area.
* There's also good news this week for saxophonist and St. Louis native Greg Osby, who's one of thirteen recipients of a 2012 Pew Fellowship in the Arts worth $60,000. The awards go to Philadelphia artists from a variety of disciplines; the only other jazz musician to win one this year is saxophonist and Sun Ra Arkestra leader Marshall Allen.
* Another saxophonist and St. Louis expat, Eric Person, has a new album out this week. The new CD from TrioKinesis, with Person, bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer Shinnosuke Takahashi, is available on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby.com.
* Blues historian, author, illustrator and preservationist Kevin Belford is the latest local artist to take part in Feast magazine's "Booze Doodles" series.
* The St. Louis Rivermen played the annual Greater Olympia Dixieland Jazz Festival in Washington last weekend, and got a shout-out from the local paper.
* The Funky Butt Brass Band has posted online an album of photos from their show last week for the St. Louis Zoo's "Jungle Boogie" concert series
* The US Air Force is downsizing its band program, and the ensembles based at Scott AFB in metro east are among those being discontinued. The Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller has a story about the last days of the 571st Air Force Band here.
* Condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and students of Matthew "Matt" Rice, band director at Fox High School in Arnold, who died Thursday of what news accounts say were natural causes. Rice, who was 37, directed several different ensembles at the school, including the jazz band.
Visitation is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, July 9 at First Baptist Church, 2012 Missouri State Rd in Arnold. The funeral will take place at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 10 at the church, and Fox HS will hold a candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.
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