Friday, August 09, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

Here's the latest wrap-up of assorted links and short local news items of interest:

* Two musical conventions are coming to St. Louis this month, starting with the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH), which will hold its 50th anniversary confab from Tuesday, August 13 to Saturday, August 17 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel.

There's an interesting article that touches on SPAH and the convention, but mostly focuses on how members modify stock harmonicas for their own purposes, in Collector's Weekly here.

* Later in the month, the International Steel Guitar Convention, held the weekend of August 29-31 at the Millennium Hotel, will give local listeners a free opportunity to hear jazz music played on steel guitar.

From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, the convention's "Maurice Anderson Jazz Room" will featuring seven steel players performing jazz and standards backed by a local rhythm section. The featured guitarists will include Mike Sweeney, Russ Wever, Doug Jernigan, Sid Hudson, Jim Cohen, and Dave Easley. Though there's a fee to attend most of the convention events, the jazz room is open to the public and is free of charge.

* Saxophonist Jeff Coffin, currently with the Dave Matthews Band and formerly of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, lives in Nashville, but he's such a fan of St. Louis' Saxquest that he recently brought several fellow saxophonists from his hometown all the way up here to check it out.

* Down Beat magazine's 78th annual Readers Poll continues, and if you haven't voted yet, you can cast your ballot for your favorite musicians, bands and recordings here. The poll ends next Friday, August 16.

* Best wishes to bassist Bob DeBoo, who's on the mend from hand surgery after being injured in an accident while on vacation last week in Pennsylvania. According to a post on his Facebook page, DeBoo was sitting on a tree swing with his wife and daughter when a limb gave way, and his right hand was injured in the fall. Fortunately, doctors were able to repair the damage upon his return to St. Louis, and DeBoo says he expects a complete recovery.

* Jazz St. Louis is looking for a "teaching artist" to join the faculty of their JazzU program. It's an independent contractor job that involves weekly sessions teaching improvisation to middle and high school students in a small group setting. For more information on the job requirements and how to apply, see

* In other Jazz St. Louis news, the organization's board of directors elected a new president at their final meeting of fiscal 2013: Marian Nunn, chief financial and operating officer of THF Realty. A graduate of St. Louis University, where she also is an adjunct professor in the entrepreneurship program, Nunn also has been on the boards of several other local not-for-profits, including a stint as president of Cultural Festivals, producers of the St. Louis Art Fair (and the defunct St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival.) She succeeds philanthropist Pam Trapp, who served as JSL board president for the past four years.

* To raise money for their upcoming season and beyond, New Music Circle is sponsoring a Trivia Night on Saturday, August 24 at the Kerr Foundation on Laclede's Landing.

* Single tickets on sale go at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, August 10 for shows in the Sheldon Concert Hall's 2013-14 season, and at 10:00 a.m. next Tuesday, August 13 for Jazz St. Louis' upcoming season of performances at Jazz at the Bistro. The ticket agency for both presenters is Metrotix.

* Applications are now being accepted for the first round of the Regional Arts Commission's new Artists Fellowships, through which RAC will award a total of ten $20,000 grants to St. Louis artists from various disciplines. Applications are due by Tuesday, August 27; for details on how to apply, and an online form, go to

There's also a "How to Apply" workshop at 5:30 p.m. this coming Monday, August 12 at the RAC offices, 6128 Delmar. If you want to attend, RSVP by email to roseann @ stlrac dot org or call 314-863-5811 ext 48.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday's episode of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" looks at one of jazz's most revered and royal figures, spotlighting the compositions of Duke Ellington (pictured) through recordings by pianist Allen Toussaint, singer Rebecca Martin, and Ellington himself. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Then on Sunday, the next edition of Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" features great jazz soloists from throughout the music's history, from “King” Oliver, Fats Waller and Bix Beiderbecke to David Murray, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter. You can listen in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every Sunday on KWMU (90.7 FM) or online at

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