As 2013 draws to a close, this week we're looking ahead to 2014 with the initial installment of a series previewing some of the touring jazz musicians who will be coming to St. Louis during the first part of next year.
Once again in 2014, The Bad Plus will return to our town to be the first touring act of the year at Jazz at the Bistro, performing there starting Wednesday, January 8 and continuing through Saturday, January 11. Given their many appearances in St. Louis in recent years, including a performance of their version of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" this October at Chaminade College Prep, it's likely that most StLJN readers are familiar with them - but if not, you can catch up on our previous coverage of them here. For today, there's a video of them playing "Re-Elect That" from their most recent album Made Possible, recorded in May 2013 at a venue called Porgy & Bess in Vienna.
The following week, up-and-coming New Orleans pianist Jon Batiste and his band Stay Human will play on Saturday, January 18 at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Batiste and the band, including saxophonist Eddie Barnash, drummer Joe Saylor and tuba player Ibanda Ruhumbika, can be seen in the video immediately below the text playing "St. James Infirmary" at the Sundance ASCAP Music Café during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The week after that, drummer Matt Wilson will return to perform on Wednesday, January 22 through Saturday, July 25 at the Bistro, this time bringing his eponymous quartet plus a special guest, pianist John Medeski of Medeski, Martin and Wood fame.
Today's third clip shows Wilson's quartet, with Jeff Lederer, saxophone; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; and Chris Lightcap, bass; playing the rocking "Schoolboy Thug" to close out the band's 15th anniversary show last year in NYC. (The other two saxophonists are former members Andrew D’Angelo and Joel Frahm.) Medeski, who in April of this year released his first-ever solo piano album, "A Different Time," can be seen in the fourth video, playing the title track from the record at a gig in August at Jazzfestival Saalfelden in Germany.
At the end of January, four members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will be in town for a week of workshops, master classes and performances at local schools under the auspices of Jazz St. Louis' education programs. Then to close out their week in St. Louis, trombonist Vincent Gardner, tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding, trumpeter Kenny Rampton and drummer Herlin Riley will team up to play on Friday, January 31 and Saturday, February 1 at Jazz at the Bistro.
You can see Gardner in today's fifth video, which was recorded in 2011 and shows him performing "Just In Time" with a quintet including Ali Jackson (drums), Mark Groos (alto sax), Joris Teepe (bass), and Lewis Porter (piano). Below that, you can see Blanding fronting a quartet at Duc des Lombards in Paris, featuring Jackson, Dan Nimmer (piano), and Carlos Henriquez (bass).
As for Rampton, though he's had plenty of high-profile gigs with the likes of Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Big Band, Ray Charles and others, the best clip online of him by himself seems to be a short instructional video he made for JALC about the roles of trumpet players in big bands, so that's what you'll find in the seventh video embed. In today's final clip, Riley is seen leading his quartet in a gig this past April at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, playing a spiteited version of Randy Weston's "Hi-Fly." Along with the leader on drums, that's Derek Douget on tenor sax, Kyle Roussel on pianos, and Jasen Weaver on bass.
Look for part 2 of StLJN's winter/spring jazz preview next week.