Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jazz this week: Red Baraat, Two Times True, St. Louis Big Band, and more

While it's not a very busy week for touring jazz musicians visiting St. Louis, as usual our local musicians and bands stand ready with a plethora of performances of their own. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, alumni of the music programs at Parkway West High School will present a big band jazz concert in tribute to former band director John Baker at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin.

Also tonight, singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; pianist Ptah Williams and his trio are at Troy's Jazz Gallery; and it's the monthly Avant Garde Arts Night featuring live improvised music at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Tomorrow night, the Brooklyn, NY based group Red Baraat will be in town to play at The Gramophone. Led by dhol player Sunny Jain - the dhol is a double-headed drum used with variations throughout the Indian subcontinent - Red Baraat come across as sort of a South Asian-flavored variant on the New Orleans brass band concept, with a sound influenced by jazz, funk, go-go and Latin delivered by drumset, percussion, sousaphone and five horns.  

Shruggy Ji, the group’s second full-length studio record, was released in January, and a follow-up album of remixes and concurrently recorded jams, Big Talk, is set to drop next month.You can see and hear Red Baraat in this video of the Tiny Desk Concert they did recently for NPR.

Also on Friday, Two Times True (pictured) plays the first of two nights kicking off the summer season at Jazz at the Bistro. Taking their name from the versatile pianist Carolbeth True and her son, drummer David True, the band also includes bassist Glen Smith and saxophonist Larry Johnson, and plays a mix of modern jazz, standards and original material.

Other noteworthy gigs on Friday include trumpeter Charlie Rose's Jazz Creations, featuring saxophonist Robb Cunningham, bassist Darrell Mixon and drummer Jerome "Scrooge" Harris, at Robbie's House of Jazz; and guitarist Tom Byrne's trio at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday afternoon, singer Wendy Gordon will perform for a jazz brunch at Ace Bar's and Grill, 9600 Natural Bridge Rd., while trumpeter Joe Bozzi plays a matinee at Frontenac Grill. Then on Saturday evening, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will do an early set at Thurman Grill for the neighborhood's "Loop Festival"; the Ann Dueren Trio is at Il Bel Lago; and singer-guitarist Tommy Halloran plays the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday the St. Louis Big Band will return the Sheldon Concert Hall for a "Tribute to the Greatest Generation," featuring music from Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, plus vocal numbers originally made famous by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James.

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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