Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jazz this week: Dave Holland Quintet, Jeremy Davenport, "Funky Dog Gumbo Ball," Bosman Twins, and more

This week's picks in live jazz and creative music around St. Louis include a multi-night gig featuring one of the top small groups in modern jazz, the return of a local "favorite son" to headline at one of our town's most prestigious concert venues, and much more. Let's go to the highlights....

Tonight, bassist Dave Holland (pictured) and his quintet open a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Generally acknowledged as one of the best working bands in jazz today, as well as one of the longest lived, Holland's group this week will feature three regular members - trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and drummer Nate Smith - plus saxophonist Mark Turner subbing for Chris Potter, who's on tour with the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars.

While Potter no doubt will be missed by his many fans here, Turner is an excellent musician, too, and historically, Holland's judgment in picking great players as collaborators seems beyond reproach. It'll be interesting to hear what sort of changes in the group dynamic and sound result from Turner's presence in Potter's stead. For more about Dave Holland, including videos of some of what he's been up to since his last visit here, plus links to reviews of the Quintet's last two appearances in St. Louis, check out this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Tomorrow night, you can choose between two gigs with an emphasis on free improv. The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University will present "At Once: Improvisation Ensemble and the Art of Improvisation" a free concert featuring William Lenihan (guitar and keyboards), Steve Davis (drums) and Vince Varvel (guitar), while the Tavern of Fine Arts will have its monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night" featuring live improvised music from an ad hoc ensemble that often includes musicians such as keyboardist Jim Hegarty, flute player Fred Tompkins, and others associated with New Music Circle.

Also tomorrow night, swing revivalists Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are in town to play at the Lumiere Place Casino Theatre; and saxophonist Jim Stevens will have a couple of guest msucians from Nashville - singer/guitarist Andy Westcott and singer Leslie Craig - performing with his band at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups. (A former St. Louisan, Craig was known as Leslie White when she lived here and sang with local groups including trumpeter Jim Manley's dance band Fantasy and the rock cover band Trixie Delight.)

On Friday,  the Funky Butt Brass Band, the Dogtown All-Stars and Gumbohead will team up for a pre-Mardi Gras fete dubbed the "Funky Dog Gumbo Ball" at the Sheldon Concert Hall's upstairs ballroom, and Lindy Hop St. Louis will present their monthly "West End Stomp" swing dance with live music by The Sidemen at the Mahler Ballroom.

Also on Friday, pianist Brad Ellebrecht leads a group at Robbie's House of Jazz; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes play at Highway 61 Roadhouse; and guitarist Mason Baran's trio performs at the Cigar Inn.

Then on Saturday night, trumpeter, singer and St. Louis native Jeremy Davenport returns to St. Louis from his current home in New Orleans to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Of course, since moving away Davenport has come back numerous times to play just a couple of blocks away at Jazz at the Bistro, and he was a guest artist on one of pianist Peter Martin's shows at the Sheldon a couple of years ago. But surprisingly, this will be the first time he's headlined with his own band at the venerable concert hall, which should prove to be a good match for his straight-ahead, acoustic jazz sound.

Also on Saturday, singer Miss Jubilee and her band will play for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Randy Bahr will duet at Mojo Tapas.  

On Sunday afternoon, those saxophone-playing siblings the Bosman Twins will present a free concert at Second Presbyterian Church, 4501 Westminster Place (at Taylor) in the Central West End.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday guitarists Eric Slaughter and Tom Byrne will co-lead a quartet offering a tribute to Wes Montgomery at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium.

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.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snarky Puppy returning for performance on Thursday, May 9 at The Demo

The Texas-based funk/jazz/world music band Snarky Puppy (pictured) is coming back to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at The Demo.

(The Demo is the new venue at 4144 Manchester in the Grove neighborhood, next to Atomic Cowboy, that's being programmed jointly by the music bookers from Lola and the Firebird. At this writing, the club's website linked above is just a placeholder; their Facebook page has a little more information.)

Three-time winners of "Best Jazz Act" in the the Dallas Observer's Music Awards, Snarky Puppy is a loosely structured collective led by bassist Michael League and made up primarily of musicians who studied in the well-known jazz program at the University of North Texas in Denton. They played here in St. Louis most recently back in August 2012 at The Gramophone while touring in support of their live CD/DVD GroundUP, which was released last year.

Tickets for Snarky Puppy at The Demo are $12 in advance, $15 day of show and will go on sale at 5:00 p.m. this Wednesday, January 30 via Ticketfly.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six from The Wee Trio

Our video spotlight shines this week on The Wee Trio, who will return to St. Louis to play Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 at Jazz at the Bistro. The gigs will serve as live recording sessions for their next album, as well as a visit home for bassist Dan Loomis, who grew up in the St. Louis area and graduated from the jazz program at SIUE.

Loomis, vibraphonist James Westfall, and drummer Jared Schonig have played the Bistro a couple of times before, most recently in January 2012 when they were touring in support of their last album, Ashes to Ashes: A David Bowie Intraspective. Loomis talked about that album last year in an interview for the Riverfront Times, which you can read online here, and if all goes to plan, we'll have more from him about this new project in another post here soon.

For now, though, here's a compendium of recent performances featuring The Wee Trio, including two of the songs they intend to record at the Bistro. The videos for those tunes - "Random" up top and "RT3" immediately below this text - were recorded in December 2012 at a venue called Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco, and during his introductions you can hear Loomis discuss plans to record them.

Next, there are three performances recorded in February 2012 at Chris' Jazz Cafe in Philadelphia, starting with The Wee Trio's re-imagining of the old standard "Cherokee," which so far has not been included on any of their albums, and continuing with live versions of "Sunday" and "Battle For Britain" from Ashes to Ashes.

The final clip is something a little different, as the trio are joined by the Butler University Percussion Ensemble to play a new arrangement of "Shepherd," a Loomis composition originally recorded on their second album Capitol Diner Vol 2 Animal Style.

Friday, January 25, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Trumpeter and singer Jeremy Davenport (pictured) is the subject of a profile by the Ladue News' Laura Graesser. Davenport will be back in St. Louis next Saturday, February 2 to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts is offering more "Business Edge" workshops designed for artists, musicians and other creative types starting next month. Topics include "Artist As Bookkeeper" (Monday, February 11); "Art + Business" (Monday, February 25); "Perspectives on Publishing" (Monday, March 18); "Copyright Clinic" (Monday, April 8); and "Anatomy Of A Contract" (Monday, April 15). All workshops will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar. Tuition is $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Call 314-863-6930 for more information, or download the enrollment form here

* Speaking of workshops, music marketing consultant Bob Baker will be presenting a "Guerrilla Music Marketing Online Masterclass" at 1:00 p.m. this Saturday, January 26 at Folk School, 3155 Sutton Blvd in Maplewood. The cost is $20 per person. For more information or to sign up, go here.

* Bassist Dave Holland, whose quintet will be in town next week to play Jazz at the Bistro, had a few words with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson. 

* The book Terry Tunes, which compiles sheet music for the original compositions of Clark Terry as well as technical tips for fellow trumpeters, is back in print and available from

* In this week's Miles Davis news, with Columbia/Legacy set to put out some previously unavailable European bootleg recordings of Davis' "Lost Quintet" of the late 1960s, the label has released on Facebook a video interview with Chick Corea in which the keyboardist discusses his time with Davis. There's also a short performance video excerpt from the accompanying DVD posted online. And while you're watching, perhaps you'd like to snack on chili prepared according to Davis' personal recipe.

* Some websites you may like: Lindy Hop St. Louis' Christian Frommelt is posting videos related to St. Louis jazz and blues on his YouTube channel; information on upcoming noise and experimental music shows in St. Louis is compiled at; and singer Joe Mancuso has started a Facebook group dedicated to St. Louis Live Jazz Performances.

* Cabaret Project of St. Louis has planned another "Town Hall" meeting for performers, presenters and fans at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, February 23 at the Regional Arts Commission. For more information, send an email to

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jazz this week: Made in St. Louis

While there are no major touring jazz or creative music headliners scheduled to be here for the next few days, St. Louis musicians will be filling a variety of local venues with all sorts of sounds. And so, as a way of demonstrating the wide variety of activity on our local scene, this week's picks consists of fifteen different bands and musicians playing at fifteen different locations over the next five days. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, guitarist Brian Vaccaro leads his trio in a free concert kicking off the winter/spring semester for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University. The group will perform their interpretations of music from the Beatles, with an emphasis on the Fab Four's later post-Revolver material.

Also tonight, up-and-coming Chicago saxophonist Christopher McBride is back in the area to play at the Cigar Inn; cellist Tracy Andreotti, percussionist Henry Claude and keyboardist Jim Hegarty will offer free improv and more at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and trombonist Doug Bert leads a quintet at the house-concert venue Joe's Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury Ave in the Central West End..

Tomorrow night, multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris (pictured) and trumpeter/singer Dawn Weber will join forces for the first of two evenings at Jazz at the Bistro. Although this is the first time the two have headlined together at the Bistro (or anywhere else), making it somewhat difficult to know exactly what their collaboration will sound like, both Harris and Weber have an affinity for danceable beats and electronic sounds that should make for a compatible pairing.

Update, 1 p.m. 1/24/13: Via the magic of Facebook, StLJN has just learned that Harris and Weber will be backed by the aforementioned Christopher McBride and his band, consisting of pianist Andrew Lawrence, bassist Bob Deboo and drummer Marcus Evans. While this could mean they're taking a more straightahead musical direction, rather than emphasizing the electronic elements that both Harris and Weber often deploy, there's really no way to know until the deal goes down on the bandstand.

Also Friday, saxophonist Jay Hutson plays R&B, funk and soul/jazz at Robbie's House of JazzSarah Jane and the Blue Notes will offer jump blues and swing just down the street at CJ Muggs in Webster Groves; and Miss Jubilee will perform at Flaco's Cocina in University City.

On Saturday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will play at The Gramophone; singing sisters Feyza Eren and Ayse Eren will team up for a performance at the Wine Press; and guitarist Dave Black plays solo at Mojo Tapas.

Then on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will celebrate a year of monthly gigs at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. This show will feature a guest performance from the fine pianist Chip Stevens, who teaches at the University of Illinois, along with an intermission set from the All-Suburban Honor Jazz Band.

Also Sunday, jazz-fusion band The Freedom returns to the Level 2 Platinum Club, 7555 Olive St. Rd in University City.
Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the group Two Times True, featuring pianist Carolbeth True, will perform in the first jazz faculty concert of the semester at Webster University's Moore Auditorium; and 
saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play at BB's Jazz, Blues and 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.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Whitaker Music Festival announces 2013 schedule of free summer concerts

The Whitaker Music Festival has announced their 2013 schedule of free concerts to be presented on Wednesdays this summer at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Although over the years the series has expanded from its origins as "Jazz in June" to include various other musical genres, this year's schedule does feature several acts that will be of interest to local jazz listeners, most notably trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured), who will perform on Wednesday, June 12.

The New Orleans native, who's played here in recent years at Jazz at the Bistro and The Sheldon, will return to St. Louis for an extended visit this year as Opera Theatre St. Louis prepares for the world premiere of his new commissioned work Champion, which opens on June 15.

Also playing at the Botanical Garden this year will be the Funky Butt Brass Band, who will kick off this year's Whitaker Music Festival series on Wednesday, June 5; the Montez Coleman/Willie Akins Project (July 17); and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes (July 24).

The remainder of the schedule will include blues singer Kim Massie (June 19); rock band Ransom Note (June 26); singer-songwriter Beth Bombara (July 3); Kansas City "antique pop" duo Victor & Penny (July 10); blues singer and harmonica player Big George Brock (July 31); and "greasy bayou blues rock" band The Scandaleros (August 7).

All Whitaker Music Festival concerts are free and open to the public, and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Cohen Amphitheater at Missouri Botanical Garden. For more information, visit the series' website or call 314-577-5100.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jazz at Holmes series returns this Thursday, January 24 with Brian Vaccaro Trio

The Jazz at Holmes series of free concerts at Washington University will begin their winter/spring 2013 schedule of shows with a performance by guitarist Brian Vaccaro's organ trio at 8:00 p.m. this Thursday, January 24. Vaccaro (pictured) and his group will play some of their jazz/funk interpretations of music by The Beatles.

Usually by this time of year, there's been some announcement from the Jazz at Holmes series' organizers about the entire semester's schedule of concerts, and one may appear yet in the next day or two as classes resume at Wash U. (See below for update!) For now, there are two other Jazz at Holmes gigs this winter and spring in addition to Vaccaro's that have become public through other sources.

On Thursday, February 28, the series will present drummer Ronnie Burrage, playing some of his original music with pianist Ptah Williams and bassist Darrell Mixon. According to what Burrage told StLJN for this story, the trio also will be holding open rehearsals on campus for a couple of days before the concert; the details on that are yet to come.

The following week at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 7, the series will present the first local screening of the 2012 documentary film We Juke Up In Here and a performance by Mississippi blues singer and guitarist Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.

The film, produced by St. Louisan and Broke & Hungry Records founder Jeff Konkel and former St. Louisan and Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art proprietor Roger Stolle, documents the dwindling number of juke joints in rural Mississippi. Holmes, who also owns the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, MS, has recorded several albums for the Broke & Hungry label and appears in the film. A discussion with Holmes and the filmmakers will follow the screening and performance.

As for the rest of the schedule, StLJN will have it for you right here as soon as it is released. Presented most Thursday evenings when school is in session, the Jazz at Holmes concerts are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall, located on Washington University’s campus at the west end of the Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives.

Update, 10:47 p.m., 1/21/13: A couple of hours after this post went up, an email hit the StLJN inbox with the rest of the winter/spring 2013 Jazz at Holmes schedule. Following Vaccaro's kickoff show this Thursday, the rest of the concerts in chronological order will be:

Thursday, January 31: At Once: Improvisation Ensemble and the Art of Improvisation
Thursday, February 7: Ben Thigpen Group
Thursday, February 14: Jan Shapiro & Nathan Jatcko: Love Songs of Porter, Gershwin, Rodger, Hart, Hammerstein, & Arlen
Thursday, February 21: Special Event: Amina Figarova Quintet
Thursday, February 28: Ronnie Burrage
Thursday, March 7: Screening of We Juke Up In Here with live performance by Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
Thursday, March 21: "Take Five" and the Music of Dave Brubeck
Thursday, March 28: Joe Mancuso Quartet
Thursday, April 4: Wire Pilots: New, Original Music of Dan Rubright
Thursday, April 11: Four in One: Thelonious Monk Project with Paul DeMarinis, Steve Schenkel, Alan Schilling and Ric Vice

Of particular note are the performances by Jan Shapiro, a singer and St. Louis expat who now heads the vocal jazz program at Berklee College of Music in Boston; and Amina Figarova (pictured at left), a classically trained pianist who was born in Azerbaijan, launched her career as an internationally touring musician while living in Europe, and currently resides in NYC.

Figarova, 46, has released a dozen albums as a leader since her recording debut in 1994, and composes much of her own material. She co-leads her touring group with her husband, flute player Bart Platteau. As best as can be determined right now, her Jazz at Holmes show will be Figarova's debut performance in St. Louis.

(Edited after posting.)

Troy's Jazz Gallery owner says club will showcase St. Louis musicians

If there's any truth to the old saying that "the third time's a charm," Troy Williams is hoping it applies to running a jazz club.

Williams, whose past ventures into presenting live music included Troy's on the Park near Lafayette Square and Filter in the Central West End, recently re-entered the business with the opening of Troy's Jazz Gallery, 4519 Olive. "This is my third space doing jazz," he told StLJN in a phone conversation last week. "You learn, and you try not to make the same mistakes."

Responding to previous posts here about the club, Williams reached out to offer some additional information on what he's got planned for his new space. Regarding the venue's soft opening and relative lack of marketing to date, he said that plans for a grand opening and accompanying advertising campaign are in the works. "I wanted to get the kinks out first," he said. "The most important thing was trying to line up the right bands for the different nights."

For Williams, that means emphasizing local talent, and as 2013 begins, he said he's booked four St. Louis musicians for weekly appearances. Vibraphonist Peter Schlamb (pictured) will perform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, with up-and-coming saxophonist Kendrick Smith's quartet slotted in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Fridays. Williams said East St. Louis High School jazz band director and trumpeter Delano Redmond, who taught Smith at ESL HS, will be performing with Smith's group.

Saturdays will feature saxophonist Willie Akins and his group playing from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., as a sort of successor to Akins' long-running Saturday matinee gig at the now-defunct Spruill's. "I've wanted to work with Willie for five years," said Williams. Saturday evenings will feature bassist Darrell Mixon leading a group from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Williams hopes that presenting the same bands each week will help both the club and the musicians to get repeat business. "We all agreed to three to six months to try to build a following over time," he said. However, he's also continuing to talk about possible bookings with other local musicians, mentioning singer Erin Bode and guitarist Dave Black as two performers of interest.

As for the rest of the week, Williams said that by February, he hopes to be open on Wednesdays, presenting a weekly poetry night, and on Thursdays with a DJ spinning, presumably jazz, soul and other compatible music. Watch this space for more info on that, and on the "grand opening" of Troy's Jazz Gallery.

Ronnie Burrage coming to St. Louis next month for performances, workshop

Drummer and U City native Ronnie Burrage is coming back home to St. Louis at the end of next month for a busy weekend of activities that will include three performances and a workshop:

* On Thursday, February 28, Burrage will perform a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University, leading a trio with pianist Ptah Williams and bassist Darrell Mixon.

The show will get underway at 8:00 p.m. in Holmes Lounge on the Wash U campus, and will feature some of Burrage's more experimental and fusion-flavored original compositions. The trio also will be holding open rehearsals on campus for a couple of days before the show; more on that when details are available.

* The next two evenings, Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2, Burrage (pictured) will play at The Office, 5917 Delmar Blvd, with an expanded group including Williams, Mixon, saxophonist Freddie Washington, and, for at least one of the evenings, guitarist Eric Slaughter. He tells StLJN that the repertoire for these two gigs will feature some of his more mainstream original works, as well as a few familiar standards and covers. Times are TBA, but Burrage expects to play two sets, perhaps starting at 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m..

Advance tickets for the 21-and-up venue, which formerly was the site of Binion's restaurant and lounge, will be priced at $30 per person for a package that includes a buffet and first drink; $20 for regular admission, which also includes a drink; and $15 per person for groups of two or more students with ID. Prices at the door will be $5 more across the board; we'll update this post with info on how to purchase advance tickets as soon as it becomes available.

* At 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, Burrage will present a drum workshop sponsored by Mozingo Music at the Wolf Public House, 15480 Clayton Rd in Ballwin. He says the workshop will focus on independence, as he plans to demonstrate and explain his techniques for playing drums and keyboard simultaneously. Accompanied by Slaughter and bassist Bob DeBoo, Burrage said he also plans to mix in some history of jazz drumming.

Tickets for the workshop will be $15 for general admission, $12 for students with ID, and $10 for Mozingo students. In keeping with his interest in education, Burrage said he'll be providing scholarships for a few selected students from his alma mater,University City High School, and at least two other local high schools.

In addition to his performing and recording activities, Burrage currently teaches music at Penn State University. His credits include tours and albums with many of the top names in jazz, including Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Joe Zawinul, Frank Morgan, Wallace Roney, Jackie and Rene McLean, James Moody, Gary Bartz, Archie Shepp, Reggie Workman, Cedar Walton, Woody Shaw, Pepper Adams, Michael Brecker, Defunkt, and many others. For more about Burrage, check out this interview, published by the Riverfront Times last year when he came back to St. Louis to perform.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A Dave Holland sampler

This week, let's look at some videos featuring bassist Dave Holland, who will be back in St. Louis with his long-running quintet to perform Wednesday, January 30 through Saturday, February 2 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Generally acknowledged as one of the top jazz bassists of the past 50 years, Holland came to the USA from his native England to join Miles Davis' band in the late 1960s. Detailing his busy career since then is beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that in addition to playing collaboratively and as a sideman with many of the greatest musicians of his time, Holland also has earned a place as one of the top bandleaders in jazz.

He's performed in St. Louis several times in recent years, including in 2009 with his quintet at the Sheldon Concert Hall; in 2007 with the quintet at the Bistro; and in 2003 with his big band at the now-defunct St. Louis Jazz Festival. (You can read StLJN's review of the 2007 show here, and the 2009 performance here.)

Although the quintet has been Holland's primary working unit for much the past 20 years, in 2012 he spent much of the year making music with other groups, including the newly formed quartet Prism (with drummer Eric Harland, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, and pianist Craig Taborn) and the Overtone Quartet (with Harland, saxophonist Chris Potter and pianist Jason Moran); doing some one-of collaborations; and teaching at the New England Conservatory of Music.

Holland's gig at the Bistro will include three of the quintet's regular members - trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibraphonist Steve Nelson and drummer Nate Smith - plus saxophonist Mark Turner, who will be filling in for Chris Potter. Potter, who led a trio for a week in December at the Bistro, has been a mainstay of Holland's group for more than a decade, but currently is involved the Monterey Jazz Festival All-Stars tour. That tour began last week and will continue into the spring, eventually stopping in St. Louis on Friday, April 18 as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

So, given that there's no really no video documentation online of the quintet lineup that St. Louis fans will see, instead today we've got sort of a sampler or "tasting menu" of some of the things Holland's been doing since he last visited St. Louis.

Up top, you can see the regular quintet performing one of their staples, "Lucky Seven," from a gig in 2010. Down below, they're playing "Veil of Tears" at the 2009 Liege Jazz Festival in Belgium.

Below that, there's an excerpt from Prism's performance at the 2012 Gărîna Jazz Festival. The next clip features Holland's Overtone Quartet, playing "Walking the Walk" at the 2010 Bridgestone Music Festival in São Paulo, Brazil.

The fifth video features an example of one of Holland's frequent collaborations with other high-profile jazzmen - specifically, a duo set with piano legend McCoy Tyner recorded in 2010 at the Jazz Baltica festival.

Finally, there's a rather unusual clip of the quintet minus drummer Nate Smith, performing "Conference of the Birds," which was the title song of Holland's first album as a leader. While the album and the song have come to be thought of as moderns classics by many jazz fans and critics, "Conference of the Birds" isn't relayy part of the quintet's regular songbook, which make this performance particularly interesting.

For more about what Holland's been up to recently, check out this interview from, which touches on several Holland ensembles; this one from the Ottawa Citizen, in which he talks about the debut Canadian performance of Prism last summer; and this article from, which covers several aspects of the bassist's recent history.

(Edited after posting to add a link for Mark Turner.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* NPR last Friday had a feature on a newly released, previously unheard live recording of Grant Green (pictured) made here in the guitarist's home town of St. Louis.

* Tonight's performance by the electronic music duo Caboladies, presented by New Music Circle at the White Flag Projects gallery, is previewed by Terry Perkins for the St. Louis Beacon. Meanwhile, NMC's program coordinator Jeremy Kannapell was interviewed about the organization's plans for the remainder of the 2012-13 season by the Riverfront Times' Josh Levi.

* Metrobones have posted to their Facebook page an album of photos from the group's concert last Friday at The Pageant with the Webster Groves High School jazz bands and guest soloist, trombonist Michael Dease.

* Bassist Reid Anderson of The Bad Plus, who are playing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro, submitted to a Q&A with the Riverfront Times' Jessica Lussenhop that, alas, ends up mostly rehashing old info about the trio while ignoring their most recent work. On the other hand, for some Bad Plus-related content that at least has the virtue of being current, there's this review of one of their sets Wednesday night at the Bistro by KDHX's Wil Wander.

* The St. Louis Low Brass Collective's board secretary and bass trombonist Andy Schiefelbein talked with the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller for a brief article about the LBC's annual performance next Tuesday at the Sheldon

* The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra sends word that their director Bob Boedges has been named to the Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. Boedges will be inducted in a ceremony during MMEA's annual conference later this month held at Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks.

* Lastly, congratulations to pianist Carolbeth True, who's being honored as Citizen of the Year for 2013 by the city of Rock Hill.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Jazz this week: The Bad Plus, Caboladies, Brett Walberg, a tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more

It looks to be a full weekend of jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with one of the top trios in jazz making a return visit to our fair city; an up-and-coming saxophonist making his local debut; an intriguing program of electronic music and video; a couple of local concert series presenting their first offerings of 2013; plus, as the saying goes, much more. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, The Bad Plus return to St. Louis for their annual January engagement, continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Fans can expect to hear some selections from the trio's latest album Made Possible, which came out in September, as well as older material and perhaps some new compositions as well. For more about Made Possible and The Bad Plus' other recent activities, check out this post from last Saturday.

On Thursday night,  New Music Circle presents a free event teaming artist/musician Robert Beatty with bassist Darin Gray for a show at Apop Records. NMC also will be serving free refreshments and selling discount tickets for Friday night's performance by the electronic music duo Caboladies (pictured) at White Flag Projects

Beatty is in town to provide visuals for Caboladies, and he and Gray have performed together before in Beatty's hometown of Lexington, KY, so the event, announced last week, seemed like a natural adjunct to the previously announced Caboladies gig. As for the Caboladies themselves, their "uniquely fractured sonic sensibilities" will be on display on Friday at White Flag Projects in the form of separate opening sets by the two members of the group, Eric Lanham and Chris Bush, followed by a collaborative set with live video accompaniment by Beatty.

Also on Friday,  Boston-based saxophonist Brett Walberg, a 20-something who's played in styles ranging from straight-ahead to funk to avant-garde, will be making his St. Louis debut, leading a trio at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Saturday afternoon, singer Wendy Gordon and her band will perform for jazz brunch at Frontenac Grill. Then that evening, singer Feyza Eren is at Robbie's; guitarist Tom Byrne leads a trio at the Wine Press; and you can choose from among three different gigs fronted by local bassists, with John Covelli playing solo at the Tavern of Fine Arts; Darrell Mixon leading a trio at Troy's Jazz Gallery; and Eric Foreman's trio holding forth at the south side neighborhood spot Thurman Grill.

Then on Sunday, the St. Louis Jazz Club kicks off their 2013 schedule of monthly events with a double bill including Clarinet Summit, featuring clarinetist  Scott Alberici, plus the Gerry Mulligan/Bob Brookmeyer-inspired quartet Utter Chaos. This show will take place at Frontenac Grill, which is a new venue for the Jazz Club this year, although they'll also be presenting some shows at other locations as well. 

Also on Sunday, pianist Ptah Williams will perform a free concert for the St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers series at Second Baptist Church, 9030 Clayton Road in Richmond Heights.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday what's being billed as the "1st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Benefit Jazz Concert" will be presented at Chaminade Preparatory School, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The event will feature singer Denise Thimes and saxophonist Tim Cunningham fronting a rhythm section of pianist Joe Cartwright, bassist Eric Warren and drummer Montez Coleman, along with performances from the student jazz bands of Chaminade and University City High School.

Also on Monday, the Latin jazz band Clave Sol will play at BB's Jazz, Blues and 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.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Webster University announces winter/spring 2013 schedule of jazz concerts

The music department at Webster University has announced their schedule of jazz events for winter and spring 2013.

This semester's Monday night concert series will get started with a performance by Two Times True at 7:00 p.m. Monday, January 28 at Winifred Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood on the Webster campus.

The group features pianist and Webster University adjunct professor Carolbeth True (pictured) and her son, drummer David True, along with bassist Glenn Smith, saxophone player Larry Johnson, and guest vocalist Christi John Bye.

Guitarist Eric Slaughter will be up next, leading a quartet in a Black History Month tribute to jazz guitar legend Wes Montgomery at 7:00 p.m., Monday, February 4 in Moore Auditorium. Update, 12:30 p.m., 1/15/13: Slaughter tells StLJN that the quartet actually is co-led with guitarist Tom Byrne, whose presence on this gig means listeners will get two different perspectives on Montgomery's music.

On Monday, February 11, saxophonist Sheila Cooper will present a free one-hour seminar at noon and again at 3:00 p.m. on campus at Thompson Recital Hall, 8282 Big Bend Ave. That same evening, guitarist Steve Schenkel and singer Deborah Sharn will perform a concert at 7:00 p.m. in Moore Auditorium.

Next up is the Webster Jazz Collective, made up of musicians from the University's jazz faculty, who will perform at 7:00 p.m. Monday, February 26 at Moore Auditorium.

After spring break, the faculty performances for the semester wrap up at 7:00 p.m. Monday, March 18 with the annual Shepard & Davis Endowed Scholarship Concert at Moore Auditorium, which this year will feature pianist Kim Portnoy's ensemble in a tribute to songwriter Frank Loesser.

Student performances of interest at Webster this semester will include concerts by the student jazz combos at 7:00 p.m. Monday, April 1 and Monday, April 8 at Webster's Community Music School, 535 Garden Ave; the Webster Jazz Singers at 7:00 p.m. Monday, April 22 at Moore Auditorium; and Webster's New Music Ensemble at 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 26 at the Community Music School.

Tickets for concerts in the Webster University faculty series are $5 general admission, $3 seniors, free for Webster U. faculty/staff and students with valid ID. Tickets for student concerts are $3 general admission, free for Webster U. faculty/staff and students with valid ID.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Made Possible by The Bad Plus

This week, we feature some video clips of The Bad Plus, who will be back in St. Louis next Wednesday, January 16 through Saturday, January for what's become an annual four-night stand at Jazz at the Bistro.

Since StLJN has covered those previous visits in some detail, let's assume today that those interested in the group's back story can follow the links, and instead today devote our attention to Made Possible, The Bad Plus' ninth album together, which was released in September.

Like its immediate predecessor, 2010's Never Stop, this newest record concentrates on original compositions by members of the group, eschewing the idiosyncratic cover versions of rock and pop material that initially helped TBP make their reputation. It also features some use of electronic instruments - a departure for TBP, though the electronics are used mostly to augment, rather than disrupt, their signature style of interplay among piano, bass and drums.

Up above, you can the electronic press kit for Made Possible, which includes some music samples and interview quotes and provides an overview of the project.

Down below, there are videos of live versions of four songs from the album, starting with the opener "Pound for Pound," recorded in October 2012 at The Mint in Los Angeles. That's followed by a version of "Seven Minute Mind" from a May 2012 performance in Santiago, Chile; an early live version of "In Stitches" from May, 2010 in Paris; and finally, "For My Eyes Only," recorded here in St. Louis by an audience member using a camera phone during The Bad Plus' last visit to the Bistro in January 2012.

(Note that since these clips all were shot by audience members using handheld devices, the quality varies from pretty good to just barely watchable. While there's little doubt that better-recorded videos of this material eventually will show up online, for now these seem to be the best versions out there.)

For a bit more about Made Possible and The Bad Plus' other recent activities, check out some of the latest  entries on pianist Ethan Iverson's blog Do The Maththis feature from the January 2103 issue of Stereophile magazine; and this review of one of their shows in December at the Dakota in Minneapolis. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Eric Marienthal to perform with Bach to the Future on Friday, March 29 at The Sheldon

Saxophonist Eric Marienthal will join forces with St. Louis' Bach to the Future for a performance at 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 29 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Organized by Bach to the Future keyboardist Mike Silverman, the "Autumn Hill Jazz Festival," as the show is being billed, also will feature singer/trumpeter Dawn Weber's trio and pianist Ptah Williams. (Autumn Hill is the label name used by Silverman and BTTF to release their recordings.)

Marienthal (pictured) is a Berklee graduate who first gained international fame playing with Chick Corea's Elektrik Band. In addition to working as a leader, he also currently performs and records with fusion band The Rippingtons and with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band. Marienthal has been in St. Louis a couple of times in recent years, in October 2011 playing with keyboardist Jeff Lorber, and in May 2008 subbing for Bob Mintzer with Yellowjackets, both at Jazz at the Bistro. He was recruited last year by Silverman to do some recording with Bach to the Future for an upcoming project of theirs, which led to this live appearance.

Proceeds from the Autumn Hill Jazz Festival concert will go to benefit Music for Lifelong Achievement, the not-for-profit organization based at the Sheldon that collects and refurbishes used musical instruments and gives them to financially disadvantaged local music students. Tickets are $15 general admission, and are on sale now via Metrotix.

Swagler, Slaughter, Jost & Morrison to celebrate album release Thursday, February 7 at Jazz at the Bistro

Four St. Louis musicians known for their busy live-performing schedules will celebrate the release of their first collaborative recording with performances at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 7 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Rough Stuff is the first album jointly credited to saxophonist Jason Swagler, guitarist Eric Slaughter, bassist Nick Jost, and drummer Marty Morrison, who have worked together frequently in various local venues, sometimes under Swagler's name, sometime using Slaughter's.

The album (pictured) features nine tracks, including original compositions by members of the group and an interpretation of Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat," and currently is on sale as a digital download from both Amazon and iTunes.

Tickets for the album release event at Jazz at the Bistro, which will include a digital copy of Rough Stuff, are $20 for general admission, $10 for students, and on sale now via Metrotix.

(Edited 1/13/13 to fix a typo.)

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The electronic music duo Caboladies, who will perform next Friday at the White Flag Projects gallery in a concert presented by New Music Circle, were interviewed by St. Louis magazine's Stefene Russell.

* Reid Anderson, bassist for The Bad Plus, talked briefly about the group's new album Made Possible with the Post's Calvin Wilson. TBP will be back in St. Louis next Wednesday through Saturday to play at Jazz at the Bistro. 

* Saxquest has posted to their Facebook page a set of photos from the Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference, held earlier this month in Atlanta.

* The Tavern of Fine Arts is the subject of a short feature story from the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller.

* One of singer Gregory Porter's Sunday night sets at Jazz at the Bistro was reviewed by KDHX's Wil Wander. Also in the audience that same evening was publicist/producer Madeline Dames, who was kind enough to share the photo above of Porter and his drummer, St. Louis native Emanuel Harrold, as well as this remembrance:
"On Sunday evening I snuck down to Jazz at the Bistro for the last set of Gregory Porter's show. As excited as I was to hear Gregory perform, I was just as enthusiastic to see Emanuel Harrold on drums."

"Emanuel and his brother Keyon were second set regulars during my tenure at the Bistro. "Back in the day" students could come in for second sets for just $10 and the smart ones took advantage of this. Fast forward to 2013, both Emanuel and Keyon are a part of the Grammy-nominated "Be Good". And I can't help but think how much Barbara Rose would have LOVED this part of the story! Something tells me she's enjoying the show from her listening room in the sky."
* Saxophonist and former St. Louisan David Sanborn and keyboardist Bob James (who grew up in the northwest Missouri town of Marshall) are among first musicians to sign to the reborn OKeh label, newly revived under Sony Masterworks.

* Singer and actor Ken Page, the St. Louis native who was part of the original Broadway casts of Ain't Misbehavin' and Cats, is back in town directing Upstream Theater’s production of his musical play Café Chanson, which runs this weekend at the Kranzberg Arts Center. Read a short interview with Page by the St. Louis Beacon's Nancy Fowler here.

* Electronic musician Joe Raglani was interviewed on the website

* Lindy Hop St. Louis has posted online a Facebook photo album from January's West End Stomp swing dance and a video of some of the entrants in the evening's dance contest.

* The Gramophone is looking to hire an audio engineer. They're looking for someone with three years of experience in live sound and (preferably) some sort of degree in audio engineering. Pay is $13 an hour; you can see details of the job here. Reply with resume, letter of interest and written references via email to, or by mail to The Gramophone, 4243 Manchester Ave, St. Louis MO, 63110.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Jazz this week: Michael Dease with WGHS Jazz Bands, Javier Mendoza's Latin Jazz Experiment, Montez Coleman, Mary Dyson, Joe Mancuso, and more

The first part of January typically is time off for a lot of touring musicians who'd just as soon stay home as deal with bad weather, audiences suffering from empty pockets or the post-holiday blahs, and so on.

So even though the weather in St. Louis actually has been pretty nice for this time of year, it's no surprise that most of this week's jazz and creative music highlights are once again local in origin.

Tonight, the jazz/funk/R&B combo Good 4 The Soul returns to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups for an early evening show.

Tomorrow night, singer/songwriter Javier Mendoza once again will activate his Latin Jazz Experiment for the first of two evenings at Jazz at the Bistro. The performances will showcase Mendoza's original songs with an expanded version of his band featuring additional guitar from Dave Black, horn arrangements from saxophonist Jim Stevens and trumpeter Rob Endicott, and extra percussion (usually from R. Scott Bryan).

Also on Friday, trombonist Michael Dease will be in town to perform as guest soloist with the Webster Groves High School jazz bands in their annual concert at The Pageant. Dease is a Juilliard graduate who's played with numerous big bands, including those led by Illinois Jacquet, Dizzy Gillespie, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Jimmy Heath and Charles Tolliver, as well as with small groups led by Claudio Roditi, Sharel Cassity, and Wycliffe Gordon. Metrobones, the ensemble led by Dave Dickey that features more than a dozen student trombonists from local high schools and colleges, will round out the bill.

And if that weren't enough for one night, Friday also will find drummer Montez Coleman's trio with guitarist Eric Slaughter and bassist Chris Thomas at Cigar Inn; bassist Willem von Hombracht with singer Hannah McDonald and pianist Mike Carosello at Robbie's House of Jazz; and the St. Louis Big Band at the Casa Loma Ballroom

On Saturday, the eclectic south side venue Rue Lafayette reopens after a short winter break with a brunchtime performance from swing band the Sidemen.

On Saturday night, singer Mary Dyson and and keyboardist Brock Walker team up for a performance at Robbie's; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play swing, jump blues and more at the Venice Cafe.

Update: 10:30 a.m., 1/12/13: Mary Dyson has announced by email and on Facebook that tonight's performance at Robbie's House of Jazz is cancelled. 4:15 p.m.: Guitarist Eric Slaughter and Tom Byrne have been booked for a duo performance in Dyson's place.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday, the jazz fusion band Steizuello will be at at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

Then on Tuesday, singer Joe Mancuso will do a "Notes From Home" concert at The Sheldon, performing standards from the Great American Songbook with an expanded band including special guest trumpeter Randy Holmes and saxophonist Willie Akins.

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.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mardra and Reggie Thomas coming home to perform Saturday, February 9 at Robbie's House of Jazz

Singer Mardra Thomas (pictured) and keyboard player Reggie Thomas will be returning to St. Louis next month to perform at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, February 9 at Robbie's House of Jazz.

Longtime fixtures on the St. Louis jazz scene, the Thomases moved to Michigan in 2011 after Reggie, who formerly taught at SIUE, got a new job teaching music at Michigan State University. In most years of the decade-plus before their move, the husband-and-wife team performed some time around Valentine's Day at Jazz at the Bistro, prompting the nickname "the Sweethearts of Jazz," so this show is something of a continuation of that tradition.

They'll be joined for the gig at Robbie's by two familiar collaborators, guitarist Rick Haydon and drummer Montez Coleman. No info available yet as to the ticket price, but Robbie's typically charges a $10 cover on the weekends (with higher amounts occasionally for some touring performers). More details here and on the St. Louis Jazz Notes calendar as they're released.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's a new year, and StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds is still spinning, with a new online music video posted every day from genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock and experimental.

For example, recent posts have featured live performance clips from Medeski, Martin & Wood, Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, Spencer Davis Group, World Saxophone Quartet, Quincy Jones Orchestra with Clark Terry and Phil Woods, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Joe Henderson Trio, Johnnie Johnson, Albert King, Globe Unity Orchestra, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Jimmy Smith Quartet, Ron Carter Trio, Betty Wright, Ray Charles, Nat "King" Cole, Tony Williams & Jan Hammer, Jimmy Witherspoon & Art Pepper, Atomic Rooster, and Miles Davis.

If you've missed out so far, not to worry, though - you can still see all these videos, plus hundreds more from the carefully curated archives, simply by visiting

Saturday, January 05, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Winter/spring 2013 jazz preview, part 4

Today, it's the fourth and final part of our preview of touring jazz musicians who will be coming to St. Louis during the first few months of 2013. (Here's part 1, part 2 and part 3.)

The first clip up top is a short promotional video for the Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary All-Stars, who will perform on Friday, April 19 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.

The group, which includes singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist Christian McBride, pianist Benny Green, drummer Lewis Nash, saxophonist Chris Potter and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, is seen here doing Horace Silver's tune "Filthy McNasty" at Monterey Jazz Festival last September. Next week, they'll begin a 40-city tour through the USA that continues until the end of April, which means they'll have had three months of playing together - plenty of time to gel - before they get here.

Down below, it's the Doc Severinsen Big Band, who will play the final night of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival on Saturday, April 20 at the Touhill. Most of the video of Severinsen that's available online is either quite old, dating from his days as bandleader for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, or shows him playing with groups other than his own big band.

However, yr. humble editor was able to find a clip of Doc and his own large ensemble playing fellow Tonight Show alum Tommy Newsome's arrangement of "Sing, Sing, Sing" from a concert in March, 2012 concert in Alma, AR. This excerpt happens to spotlight the contribution of drummer Stockton Helbing, but if you'd like further demonstrations of Severinsen's prowess on the trumpet, just go here and start clicking.

Next, it's organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, who will team up with saxophonist James Carter to play Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27 at Jazz at the Bistro. Both men have played the Bistro before separately, and since one of Carter's preferred ensembles is an organ trio, it certainly seems like a logical and musically promising pairing.

This video of Smith shows him with his trio performing "Play It Back" during a gig last June in Delray Beach, FL. Just below that, there's a excerpt from the performance by Carter and his organ trio at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. It's a bootleg, shot clandestinely by an audience member, so the camera work is all over the place, but audio quality is good.

Carter and Smith will have a bit of competition for the final night of their gig at the Bistro, for that Saturday, April 27 is when singer Dianne Reeves will be back in town to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Reeves sang at The Sheldon most recently back in 2010 in a duo with her pianist and music director, St. Louis' Peter Martin, as part of Martin's concert series at the venue. This time, she'll be performing with her full band as part of the Sheldon's jazz series, as she did in 2008.

Reeves is seen here in a excerpt from the 2012 TD Victoria Jazzfest, in which she performs a new addition to her live repertoire, an as-yet unnamed Spanish-flavored piece that features a wordless vocal and improvised account of the inspiration for the tune. Martin is on piano, and that's East St. Louis' own Terreon Gully on drums.

The next clip features guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke, who will be making his St. Louis debut as a leader Wednesday, May 8 through Saturday, May 11 at Jazz at the Bistro. Loueke, who's originally from the west African country Benin, first played here back in 2005 with Herbie Hancock at The Pageant. Though he was little-known in this country at that time, his solo career since then has really taken off around the world, thanks to three critically acclaimed albums on Blue Note Records. This video shows him performing "Freedom Dance" at an October 2012 show in Denver.

Jazz St. Louis will close out the Bistro's spring 2013 schedule of touring acts with another custom-assembled collaboration, bringing together singer/pianist Freddy Cole and saxophonist Harry Allen for a week of shows starting Wednesday, May 22 and continuing through Saturday, May 25. Cole, who turned 81 last year, has been a popular draw at the Bistro for years, and Allen, who's in his mid-40s but plays in a style that recalls the swing era, should be a fitting complement to his sound.

This latest clip of Cole shows him performing "It's Only A Paper Moon," a song closely associated with his brother Nat "King" Cole. Below that, today's final video features Allen playing "I'm In The Mood For Love" with pianist Rossano Sportiello, bassist Richard Simon and drummer Ed Metz in April, 2012 at the Atlanta Jazz Party.

Friday, January 04, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The indefatigable Clark Terry has posted New Year's greetings on his blog.

* Jan Shapiro, singer and former St. Louisan who now heads the vocal program at Berklee College of Music, has a new CD called Piano Bar After Hours. The album (pictured) features a varied program of songs, from well-known tunes such as "If I Were A Bell" and Horace Silver's "Doodlin'" to more obscure numbers. Although the "official release" isn't until April 2013, both the CD and single tracks already can be purchased via CDbaby, iTunes, and

* In a year-end interview, Euclid Records' Joe Schwab told KWMU's Maria Altman that 2012 was a good year for music on vinyl.

* New Music Circle has posted online a brief video clip from the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet's concert in November at Luminary Center for the Arts.

* The Facebook page for Joe's Cafe and its associated gallery linked to a set of vintage photos of Gaslight Square, annotated by Jack Parker of O'Connell's Pub fame.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Jazz this week: Gregory Porter, Wack-A-Doo, a jazz/funk tribute to the Beatles, and more

Call it a post-holiday hangover, a winter break, or whatever you like, but with one major exception, it's a pretty slow week for touring jazz and creative musicians visiting St. Louis. Fortunately, there are plenty of local musicians who aren't vacationing and/or hibernating, and thus are prepared to take up some of the slack.

The big attraction of the week is singer Gregory Porter (pictured), who's making his much-anticipated St. Louis debut with a four-night engagement starting tonight and continuing through Sunday at Jazz at the Bistro.

Porter, a big-voiced baritone who mixes soul and gospel influences with jazz, has received a ton of positive press over the past couple of years, and deservedly so, as his sound certainly is distinctive and, on record so far, he seems to have the talent to justify the hype (to the extent that anyone could). Video evidence indicates that Porter is a galvanizing live performer, too; you can see that for yourself, read more about him, and check out some interviews with Porter via last Saturday's video showcase post.

Elsewhere around town, on Friday retro swing band Wack-A-Doo plays for Lindy Hop St. Louis' monthly first Friday dance at the Mahler Ballroom in the Central West End; drummer Paul Shaw leads a trio with bassist Bob DeBoo and vibraphonist Tom Rickard at Cigar Inn; and trombonist/vocalist Doug Burns fronts a quartet at Robbie's House of Jazz.

Then on Saturday evening, guitarist Brian Vaccaro's organ trio will bring their Beatles tribute show to the Wolf Public House in west county; Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers will play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom; and singer Joe Mancuso will perform at the KindaBlue house concert venue on the south side.

On Sunday, it's the winter edition of the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show at the American Czech Center, and then that evening, Dizzy Atmosphere will perform gypsy jazz and string-band swing at the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday night guitarist Tom Byrne and his trio will take the stage at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. Then on Tuesday, guitarist Dave Black brings his group to BB's, while pianist and singer Curt Landes will be just down the block at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

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.)