This Labor Day weekend in St. Louis offers fans of jazz and creative music an eclectic mix of sounds from traditional to experimental, with numerous gradations in between. Let's go to the highlights...
On Thursday, "bhangra funk" band Red Baraat (pictured) returns to St. Louis to take the stage at The Gramophone. Led by drummer Sunny Jain, the group's instrumentation resembles a New Orleans brass band, but their music blends in a variety of other sounds, including funk, go-go, and elements from Indian popular music. You can see some videos of them in action in this post from last Saturday.
Also Thursday, the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly "Avant-Garde Arts Night" with live improvised music; and pianist and St. Louis native Tom McDermott, who now lives in New Orleans, will be back home to do a show at the house concert venue Joe's Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury in the Central West End. McDermott is wrapping up a 22-city tour, and for more about that and his latest album, check out the preview story from Terry Perkins in the St. Louis Beacon.
Meanwhile, over on the east side, saxophonist Kendrick Smith will lead a trio at Cigar Inn in Belleville, while Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at the Granite City Elks Lodge, 4801 Maryville Rd.
On Saturday, steel guitar players from around the country will be gathering for the annual International Steel Guitar Convention at the Millennium Hotel, where the "Maurice Anderson Jazz Room" will feature free public performances from a half-dozen steel guitarists playing jazz, backed by guitarist Dave Black, bassist Bob DeBoo and drummer Kyle Honeycutt.
Also on Saturday, the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival begins on Laclede's Landing. The event continues on Sunday, with local bands playing on two free stages, plus headliners including Anthony Gomes, Walter Trout, the Rev. Horton Heat, and David Clayton-Thomas on the main stage, which requires a ticket purchase.
(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.)