Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jazz this week: Terence Blanchard, Snarky Puppy, U City Jazz Festival, and more

With the fall presenting season now in full swing, the next few days in St. Louis offer a pleasingly varied selection of gigs for the jazz and creative music fan. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured) opens a four-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro. Blanchard is a familiar figure to St. Louis audiences from several previous appearances here both at the Bistro and at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Having composed many film scores for director Spike Lee and others, the New Orleans native now also is writing an opera that will receive its world premiere next year at Opera Theatre St. Louis. For this gig at the Bistro, though, Blanchard will be leading a small group and and seems likely to showcase his customary post-bop sound, spiced with a bit of syncopated New Orleans flavor.

Also tonight, The Cabaret Project presents their monthly Cabaret Open Mic night at the Tavern of Fine Arts, with actor/singer Bob Mitchell as host and Carol Schmidt at the keyboard.

Tomorrow night, the Texas-based jazz/funk/world music outfit Snarky Puppy comes to town to perform at The Gramophone. Comprised mostly of former students from the well-known music program of the University of North Texas, Snarky Puppy on record is a sprawling collective that includes a couple dozen members. The live band, though smaller in numbers, emphasizes the same expansive grooves to underpin improvisations from a varied cast of soloists.

On Friday, pianist and singer Jesse Gannon brings a trio to Robbie's House of Jazz; vocalist Zena Bott-Goins leads a group at the Cigar Inn; and the Funky Butt Brass Band returns to the Broadway Oyster Bar

Saturday, it's the second-ever U City Jazz Festival, a free, all-day affair held outdoors in Heman Park, off of Olive St. Rd. This year's lineup features Trio Tres Bien with singer Danita Mumphard and special guest multi-instrumentalist Don Cunningham, plus the St, Louis Metrobones; pianist Ptah Williams leading a reunion of his fusion group Tracer; trumpeter and singer Dawn Weber; Bach to the Future; and a Miles Davis tribute.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Todd Mosby and Farshid Etniko will be among the performers at a benefit for Mitrata-Nepal Foundation for Children at Logan College of Chiropractic's Purser Center; experimental violinist Joey Molinaro will play at Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center; and saxophonist Jerry Greene leads a quartet at Robbie's.

Then on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will play their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. This month's performance will feature the music of Count Basie, and the venue is clearing some floor space for swing dancers who wish to strut their stuff.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday guitarist Tom Byrne and his Pat Metheny-inspired ensemble Have You Heard? will play at Webster University's Moore Auditorium.

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.)

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