This week's picks in live jazz and creative music around St. Louis include a multi-night gig featuring one of the top small groups in modern jazz, the return of a local "favorite son" to headline at one of our town's most prestigious concert venues, and much more. Let's go to the highlights....
Tonight, bassist Dave Holland(pictured) and his quintet open a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Generally acknowledged as one of the best working bands in jazz today, as well as one of the longest lived, Holland's group this week will feature three regular members - trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and drummer Nate Smith - plus saxophonist Mark Turner subbing for Chris Potter, who's on tour with the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars.
While Potter no doubt will be missed by his many fans here, Turner is an excellent musician, too, and historically, Holland's judgment in picking great players as collaborators seems beyond reproach. It'll be interesting to hear what sort of changes in the group dynamic and sound result from Turner's presence in Potter's stead. For more about Dave Holland, including videos of some of what he's been up to since his last visit here, plus links to reviews of the Quintet's last two appearances in St. Louis, check out this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.
Tomorrow night, you can choose between two gigs with an emphasis on free improv. The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University will present "At Once: Improvisation Ensemble and the Art of Improvisation" a free concert featuring William Lenihan (guitar and keyboards), Steve Davis (drums) and Vince Varvel (guitar), while the Tavern of Fine Arts will have its monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night" featuring live improvised music from an ad hoc ensemble that often includes musicians such as keyboardist Jim Hegarty, flute player Fred Tompkins, and others associated with New Music Circle.
Also tomorrow night, swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are in town to play at the Lumiere Place Casino Theatre; and saxophonist Jim Stevens will have a couple of guest msucians from Nashville - singer/guitarist Andy Westcott and singer Leslie Craig - performing with his band at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups. (A former St. Louisan, Craig was known as Leslie White when she lived here and sang with local groups
including trumpeter Jim Manley's dance band Fantasy and the rock cover band Trixie Delight.)
Then on Saturday night, trumpeter, singer and St. Louis native Jeremy Davenport returns to St. Louis from his current home in New Orleans to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Of course, since moving away Davenport has come back numerous times to play just a couple of blocks away at Jazz at the Bistro, and he was a guest artist on one of pianist Peter Martin's shows at the Sheldon a couple of years ago. But surprisingly, this will be the first time he's headlined with his own band at the venerable concert hall, which should prove to be a good match for his straight-ahead, acoustic jazz sound.
(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.)