Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jazz this week: Michael Buble, tributes to Oliver Nelson and Thelonious Monk, and more

After a very busy few days of live music in St. Louis last weekend, things are a little slower this week. But if you've checked out parts one and two of StLJN's fall 2013 jazz preview, you know that it's just the calm before the storm, as the last ten days of this month and the first week of October will be filled with touring musicians visiting our town.

And of course, "calm" is a relative term, for as you'll see if you read on, there's still plenty of live jazz and creative music happening right now that is worthy of your attention. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, trumpeter Randy Holmes and his quintet will pay tribute to composer, saxophonist and St. Louis native Oliver Nelson by playing a free concert of his music to kick off this semester's Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University.

Nelson (pictured), who died in 1975 at the age of just 43, was a prolific composer who these days is best known for writing the standard "Stolen Moments" and for Blues and the Abstract Truth, the classic album that introduced it.

But he also has considerable historical importance in American popular culture, because, along with Quincy Jones, he was one of the first African-American composers to get steady work writing for film and television beginning in the 1960s. Nelson's themes for shows like "Ironside" and "The Six Million Dollar Man" put his music into millions of homes - many of which may not have contained a single jazz album - and had he not died so young, there's no telling what else he might have accomplished. At a time when tribute shows proliferate to the point of oversaturation, Nelson is both truly deserving and too often overlooked.

Also tonight, trumpeter Jim Manley plays at Joyia Tapas, 4501 Manchester Ave in the Grove district, and singer Joe Mancuso returns after a one-week break to Cafe Eau at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

Tomorrow night, guitarist Tom Byrne brings his Pat Metheny inspired band Have U Heard to Jazz on Broadway; drummer Montez Coleman plays at Cigar Inn; singer Wendy Gordon performs at DeLeo's Deli & Cafe, 2782 N Lindbergh; and saxophonist Tim Cunningham will be downtown at The Precinct, the restaurant and bar formerly known as Jim Edmonds 15 Steakhouse at 1900 Locust St..

On Saturday afternoon, St. Vincent Greenway, Inc., the City of St. Louis, and Great Rivers Greenway will present "Jazz on the Greenway," a free event that will include live music from Uncensored Band plus a plethora of outdoor and family activities, all taking place at Ruth Porter Park and St. Vincent Greenway in the CWE at Delmar and DeBaliviere.

That evening, singer Michael Buble performs at the Scottrade Center. While his most recent album To Be Loved may reflect more of a pop/rock sensibility than some previous outings, it seems likely that some of the Sinatra-inspired arrangements that previously have been staples for the Canadian crooner will make it into this show as well.

Also on Saturday night, singer Tony Viviano is at Fortel's in Creve Coeur; Miss Jubilee performs at the Schlafly Bottleworks; guitarist Eric Slaughter plays at Robbie's House of Jazz; and guitarist Brian Vaccaro and his trio will working it like real-life cavemen at Crystal City Underground, the subterranean entertainment venue located in a former mine.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the group Four in One: The Thelonious Monk Project, which includes guitarist Steve Schenkel, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, drummer Alan Schilling and bassist Ric Vice,  will play a concert at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium; and trumpeter Keith Moyer brings his group back to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

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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