Sunday, March 31, 2013

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

Each year, the first day of April marks the start of Jazz Appreciation Month, the annual celebration of jazz music sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution.

Now in its 12th year, Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) was created "to draw greater public attention to the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz and its importance as an American cultural heritage. In addition, JAM is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz—to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and support institutional jazz programs."

The theme of this year's JAM celebration is “The Spirit and Rhythms of Jazz” and the programming and materials distributed by the Smithsonian are designed "for individuals and communities to explore jazz principles of freedom, inclusion and creativity to learn how jazz has transformed America and inspired the world."

At the end of the month, jazz fans worldwide also will celebrate the second International Jazz Day on Tuesday, April 30. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Jazz Day is designed to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Istanbul, Turkey has been named the 2013 Global Host City for this year, but various related events will take place in cities all over the world, including a live broadcast of an all-star concert streamed over the Internet.

Meanwhile, the Smithsonian offers a list of "112 ways to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month," and once again has produced a poster honoring a famous musician. This year's JAM poster (pictured) features an image of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton based on artwork by Frederick J. Brown that is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

The posters were distributed for free to schools, libraries, music and jazz educators, music merchants and manufacturers, radio stations, arts presenters, and U.S. embassies worldwide, and anyone can download a copy in .pdf format here. You also can see and download commemorative posters from the previous 11 years here

Saturday, March 30, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
"Seeing Sound" with New Music Circle



Next Friday, April 5, New Music Circle will present a program in conjunction with the Webster University Film Series called "Seeing Sound: Visual Music Films."

Curated by Cindy Keefer of the Center for Visual Music in Los Angeles, the event will feature 15 short abstract and experimental films that blend audio and visual elements in a specific type of expression called "visual music." For a definition of the concept, check out this article by St. Louis magazine's Stefene Russell, which includes an interview with Keefer and much more background on the NMC event.

Though many of these films are rarely screened outside of museums, film classes, and similar environments, a few can be found on various Internet video sites. And so today, for your viewing and listening enjoyment, we've got online versions of five of the films included in "Seeing Sound," plus a sixth clip that isn't on the program but was made by one of the featured filmmakers.

Of course, watching these movies on a small computer monitor or even a big-screen TV is a very different experience from seeing them projected in a theater. And in addition to that fundamental difference, some of the online versions are made from old prints, or have replacement soundtracks. But even so, a few minutes spent watching these clips should provide at least a taste of what the NMC program will be like.

The first film up above is Canadian director Norman McLaren's Dots, a 1940 work that features a soundtrack created by using hand tools to physically inscribe marks on the audio portion of the film stock. The result is something that seems familiar to contemporary viewers, but must have looked and sounded quite trippy 70+ years ago.

Down below is No. 11: Mirror Animations, made as a 16mm film in 1956-57 by Harry Smith. The soundtrack is Thelonious Monk's "Mysterioso," and the visuals, which use stop-motion animation of paper cutouts, look like precursors of Terry Gilliam's work for Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The third clip, Lichtspiel - Opus IV, was created in 1925 by German filmmaker Walter Ruttmann. It's the oldest film on the "Seeing Sound" program, and one of the first examples of the "visual music" genre. (Note that while NMC will screen Ruttmann's original silent version, a soundtrack has been added to this clip.)

Below that, it's New Zealand artist Len Lye's Colour Flight, a 1937 effort that uses music from jazz vibraphonist Red Nichols and the Lecuona Cuban Boys. The fifth clip is Poemfield No. 2 by Stan Vanderbeek and Ken Knowlton, which is from 1966 and features some early computer animation.

The sixth and final film is from another German-born director, Oskar Fischinger, who is represented in the NMC program by several shorts. An Optical Poem, a 1938 work shown that joins animated paper cutouts with Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody," unfortunately isn't one of them, but it does serve as an example of Fischinger's style.

For more about "visual music" and the filmmakers included in "Seeing Sound," visit the library section of the Center for Visual Music website.









Friday, March 29, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Bassist Raymond Eldridge, who's played with many different St. Louis jazz musicians and groups over the course of a five-decade career, reportedly has been in the intensive care unit at Barnes Hospital after suffering a stroke last Friday. His condition had been described as "grave," though a subsequent post on Facebook from a family member said Eldridge had improved greatly since first being admitted. More information on this as it becomes available...

* On a much happier note, StLJN sends best wishes to DJ, author and photographer Dennis Owsley, who celebrated his 70th birthday this week.

* New Music Circle's "Seeing Sound" film-and-music event on Friday, April 5 at Webster University is previewed by Stefene Russell of St. Louis magazine.

* The Monterey Jazz Festival 55th anniversary touring all-star ensemble was featured this past week on NPR's "JazzSet." They'll play as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival on Friday, April 19 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

* And speaking of the Touhill, Jazz St. Louis has posted on Facebook a photo album from last Friday's concert there by Chick Corea and Bela Fleck.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake has posted on his SoundCloud page two sample tracks from his new big band album Wheels.

* The Post-Dispatch's recurring feature "A Look Back" this week offered a retrospective on the Gaslight Square entertainment district, written by Tim O'Neil.

* A new episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz will begin airing on Thursday, April 4. It includes footage of a recent performance at Jazz at the Bistro by the group led by saxophonist Willie Akins and drummer Montez Coleman (pictured); a feature on the Sheldon's recent exhibit of jazz-influenced work by famed cartoonist and native St. Louisan Al Hirschfeld; and more. Check your TV provider's program guide for the channel and times, or watch online at www.hectv.org/.

* Finally, a reminder that there are just a couple of days left to vote legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry into Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame. You have until midnight on Sunday, March 31 to cast your ballot at http://jalc.org/2013-jazz-hall-of-fame-vote.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Freedonia Music releases four new CDs

Freedonia Music, the St. Louis-based independent label run by multi-instrumentalist Jay Zelenka, has released four new CDs from local/regional jazz and creative music performers:

Ghost Machines (pictured) is a sampler album showcasing the label's various recordings of "avant-garde, free jazz & free improv artists from St. Louis USA," including the Human Arts Ensemble, EXILES, The Free Jazz Posse, Squid Choir Orkestra, J.D. Parran, Michael Castro, Greg Mills, and Dave Stone.

Needle of Light is a previously unissued recording of vintage performances featuring saxophonist James Marshall's iteration of the Human Arts Ensemble teamed with poet Michael Castro for "old school free jazz avant-blues & theatrical constructions...deep roots performance poetry 30 years before it became a fashion & acquired a name."

Infinite Circus is the latest release from Squid Choir Orkestra, an electronic free-improv ensemble that includes Zelenka, Jeremy Melsha, Dave Stone, Ajay Khanna, Aaron Smith, and Derek Leu.

Zelenka and Stone also figure in the fourth new release, Lifeline, a series of improv duets and trios for voice, baritone sax and electronic alto sax that also features vocalist Lika Shubitidze.

StLJN will have some impressions of these recordings in a future post, but you can hear extensive audio excerpts from all four albums, and/or purchase your very own copies, right now at the Freedonia Music website.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jazz this week: Joe Sample Trio, Eric Marienthal & Bach to the Future, NIU Rosebud Foundation Jazztet, and more

With last weekend's record snowfall melted, and more seasonable weather forecast for this weekend, it should be a good time in St. Louis to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music. Let's see what's coming up over the next few days...

Tonight, Joe Sample (pictured) and his trio begin a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. Though perhaps still best known as the pianist for the Crusaders (nee Jazz Crusaders), Sample also has had a thriving solo career since the late 1970s, mixing the Crusaders' trademark funk with more straight-ahead, Latin and smooth R&B-influenced sounds. For more about that, and some video samples of his trio in action, check out this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also tonight, trumpeter Jim Manley is at Sasha's Wine Bar in Clayton; and guitarist John Farrar and Park Avenue Jazz play at Hammerstone's

Tomorrow night, singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; Samba Bom is playing for a "Bossa Nova Dinner" at Yemanja Brasil; and the Tavern of Fine Arts will be presenting live improvised music from pianist Jim Hegarty, flute player Fred Tompkins and others at its monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night."

On Friday, saxophonist Eric Marienthal and Bach to the Future will headline a multi-band bill at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The Autumn Hill Jazz Festival, named after BTTF keyboardist and event organizer Mike Silverman's indie label, also will feature music from trumpeter and singer Dawn Weber, pianist Ptah Williams, and guitarist Tom Byrne. For more about the show, check out this article by Stef Russell of St. Louis magazine.

Also on Friday, Northern Illinois University's Rosebud Foundation Jazztet, a group of undergraduate and graduate scholarship students from the program directed by saxophonist Ron Carter, will open a two-night stand at Robbie's House of Jazz; and singer Zena Bott-Goins aka Zena Star and her band will play at the Cigar Inn.

On Saturday, the Klezmer Conspiracy will perform at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman and pianist Carolbeth True are doing a duo gig at Oceano Bistro in Chesterfield. 

Then on Sunday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play the Sunday matinee at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, filling in for Miss Jubilee, who's gigging in Chicago this weekend.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Webster University Student Jazz Combos will perform at Webster's Community Music School. Then on Tuesday morning, singer Dean Christopher will perform his "Tribute to Frank Sinatra" for a Coffee Concert at the Sheldon, repeating the same program on Wednesday. 

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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.)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mike Dillon Band to perform
Thursday, June 27 at The Demo

The Mike Dillon Band will bring their jazz-funk-punk sound back to St. Louis for a performance at 9:00 p.m., Thursday, June 27 at The Demo, 4144 Manchester Blvd.

Dillon, a percussionist, vocalist and composer, has played here before with Garage A Trois and The Dead Kenny Gs as well as with his own eponymous group. The Mike Dillon Band were in St. Louis most recently in February, when they opened for Umphrey's McGee at The Pageant. While they were here, they also recorded some material at the studios of KDHX, which can be heard online here.

The Mike Dillon Band at The Demo is presented by the Old Rock House's ORH Concerts. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show, over 18 only, with the on-sale date TBA.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Clark Terry and his famous friends



This week, we're taking a break from previewing upcoming concerts in St. Louis to spend a little time with legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry. As mentioned here last week, Terry is up for election this year to Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, and for the first time ever, fans are being allowed to vote online for their favorites.

If elected, Terry, who's now 92, would be only the third musician (along with Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman) to be honored with induction while still living, and given his iconic status and lifelong contributions to the music, he's certainly more than deserving. And so with a little more than a week to go before voting ends on Sunday, March 31, it seemed like a good idea to share a few video clips as a reminder of some of what Terry has done, a few of the musical greats he's done it with, and some of the places he's visited over the course of his storied career.

The first clip up above was recorded in 1960 in Belgium, and shows Terry as the featured soloist with the Quincy Jones Big Band in an arrangement of pianist Bobby Timmons' hard-bop standard "Moanin." Though this was a few years before Jones' career as a multi-platinum-selling pop producer began to gather momentum, the two men have continued their friendship and musical association to the present day, as you'll see in another of today's selections below.

The second video down below shows another side of Terry, as he puts some stank on a version of "Stormy Monday" with another American musical icon, blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. It was recorded in July, 1977 in Nice, France, with Muddy's band, which included Bob Margolin (guitar), Guitar Junior (guitar), Pinetop Perkins (piano), Calvin Jones (bass), and Willy "Big Eyes" Smith (drums).

Below that, it's a another standard of a very different nature as Terry takes on the venerable ballad "Stardust." This performance was recorded in 1964 in London, and features the great pianist Teddy Wilson, who made jazz history as a member of Benny Goodman's band, along with bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Louie Bellson.

The following clip is another all-star affair, as Terry leads a group playing "Samba de Orfeu" at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival that includes Ronnie Scott (tenor sax), Joe Pass (guitar), Oscar Peterson (piano), Milt Jackson (vibes), Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass), and Bobby Durham (drums).

The fifth video features a choice cameo appearance by Terry, as he offers single choruses of flugelhorn and vocals on a version of Quincy Jones' "Soul Bossa Nova" recorded for Late Night with David Letterman with Jones' orchestra and saxophonist Phil Woods, who takes the solo before Terry's.

To close things out, we've got a half-hour's worth of a quintet co-led by Terry and another longtime collaborator, the late valve trombonist and composer Bob Brookmeyer, that was recorded in 1965 in London for the BBC program Jazz 625.

If you haven't voted in the Jazz Hall of Fame election yet, you can cast your ballot for Clark Terry (and up to three more of this year's potential inductees) any time between now and next Sunday at http://jalc.org/2013-jazz-hall-of-fame-vote.









Friday, March 22, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The Funky Butt Brass Band (pictured) was profiled by Terry Perkins for the St. Louis Beacon in advance of their gig tonight at Jazz at the Bistro.

* Also in the Beacon, a look at how the re-opening of the Wildey Theatre has affected downtown Edwardsville.

* Over at the Post-Dispatch, Kevin Johnson notes the "official" opening of Troy's Jazz Gallery in an article that otherwise mostly rehashes information already covered months ago here at StLJN and last week in the Beacon.

* Legacy Recordings has announced that they'll re-release original mixes of Miles Davis' albums Round About Midnight, Milestones, and Someday My Prince Will Come on 180-gram vinyl for Record Store Day 2013 on Saturday, April 20.

* The St Louis Low Brass Collective has posted on YouTube some videos from last month's concert featuring trombonist Jim Pugh at Maryville University. You can see Pugh and an ensemble of local trombonists playing "Cogent Caprice" here, and Pugh, the trombonists, and a rhythm section performing "Sea Song" here.

* From publicist Dawn DeBlaze comes word that singer and pianist Alicia Cunningham of vocal duo The Cunninghams currently is battling cancer, and would welcome cards and letters from friends and fans. Alicia and her husband, multi-instrumentalist and St. Louis native Don Cunningham, live in Las Vegas but have performed here several times in the past few years, most recently in September 2012 at the U City Jazz Festival. You can send mail to Don and Alicia Cunningham at 3740 S. Garden Drive, Las Vegas, NV, 89121 or contact them via email at thecunninghamsda @ hotmail.com.

* Lastly, just a reminder that if you haven't voted yet to elect St. Louis' own Clark Terry to Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, you've got until March 31 to cast your ballot at http://jalc.org/2013-jazz-hall-of-fame-vote.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jazz this week: Chick Corea & Béla Fleck, Alarm Will Sound, tributes to Dave Brubeck and Eddie Lang, and more

Spring officially arrives tomorrow in St. Louis, and while it remains to be seen whether or not the weather will cooperate by being appropriately spring-like, the next few days definitely include some jazz and creative music performances worth seeing. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the 20-member new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound returns for the second performance of their St. Louis season at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The program will offer a preview of AWS' concert next month at NYC's Carnegie Hall, including the second-ever US performance of Steve Reich's "Radio Rewrite" as well as brand-new works written specifically for the group by John Orfe and Donnacha Dennehy. For more about the concert and "Radio Rewrite," see this article by Stefene Russell of St. Louis magazine.

Also tonight, Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly open mic night at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and guitarist Randy Bahr and singer Joe Mancuso will play a duo gig at Candicci's.

On Thursday, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents a free concert featuring the music of Dave Brubeck as played by Wash U faculty member and series curator William Lenihan on bass, Nathan Jatcko on piano, Kristian Baarsvik on alto sax, and Steve Davis on drums.

Also on Thursday, Dizzy Atmosphere plays Gypsy jazz and swing at the Shaved Duck, and pianist Ptah Williams and his trio will settle in to what's being billed an ongoing weekly gig at Troy's Jazz Gallery.

On Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will perform a one-nighter at Jazz at the Bistro;  percussionist Herman Semidey and his band will play Latin jazz at Robbie's House of Jazz; and trumpeter Anthony Wiggins leads a quartet with pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson, drummer Montez Coleman and bassist Laron Stover at Cigar Inn.

Then on Saturday, Jazz St. Louis presents pianist Chick Corea and banjo player Béla Fleck (pictured) in a duo concert at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The two collaborated on record back in 2007 with The Enchantment, and this tour features music from that album as well as tunes from each man's respective repertoire and a few surprises.

Also on Saturday, trumpeter/vibraphonist Joe Bozzi leads a trio at Truffles; and singer Tony Viviano performs at the Schlafly Bottleworks.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a tribute to the "father of jazz guitar" Eddie Lang at the Doubletree Hotel at Westport. (Pre-dating even Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian, Lang recorded as a sideman with top stars including Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Bessie Smith, and Lonnie Johnson and in a duo with violinist Joe Venuti, gaining considerable fame before dying in 1933 at just 32 years old.)

Also on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will play their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.  Pianist Chip Stephens will be the DDBB's special guest again this month, with the Webster Groves High School Jazz I combo performing at intermission.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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, March 19, 2013

MAXJAZZ releasing Ben Wolfe's new CD
From Here I See on Tuesday, April 2

The St. Louis-based independent label MAXJAZZ has scheduled the release of bassist/composer Ben Wolfe's new CD From Here I See for Tuesday, April 2.

The album (pictured) is Wolfe's second for MAXJAZZ, which previously released his CD No Strangers Here back in 2008. The NYC-based Wolfe is known for his work with Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and also teaches at Juilliard.

His new recording features him with pianist Orrin Evans, drummer Donald Edwards, and saxophonist J.D. Allen, along with a string quartet on several tracks and special guest appearances by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, guitarist Russell Malone, and saxophonist Marcus Strickland. Audio samples of From Here I See should be online soon at Wolfe's page on the MAXJAZZ website.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

It's been a while since our last shameless plug for StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, so here's a brief reminder: There's a new online music video posted there everyday, drawing on genres including jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock, experimental and more.

Recent posts have included clips featuring Fela Kuti, Blood Sweat and Tears, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass, The Band, Clark Terry Quintet with Bob Brookmeyer, Ray Anderson-Marty Ehrlich Quartet, Was (Not Was), Ornette Coleman, Matthew Shipp, Ginger Baker Trio, Arthur Blythe Trio, Nina Simone, the Greg Osby/Mark Turner/Franco Ambrosetti 6tet, Albert King, Nat "King" Cole, Edgar Winter Group, Maceo Parker, Kurt Elling, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Johnnie Johnson, Red Holloway and Louis Armstrong.

You can see them all, plus hundreds more carefully curated clips from the archives, by visiting http://heliocentricworlds.blogspot.com/.

Hot 8 Brass Band to perform at
The Demo on Sunday, April 7

New Orleans' Hot 8 Brass Band (pictured) is coming to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m., Sunday, April 7 at The Demo, the recently opened live music venue at 4144 Manchester Blvd in the Grove neighborhood. The Funky Butt Brass Band will open the show.

Formed in 1995, the Hot 8 Brass Band are known for blending hip-hop and funk with traditional jazz and brass band styles, performing regularly in New Orleans and also touring throughout the USA and internationally. They appeared in Spike Lee's 2006 documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and have released two albums, 2007's Rock With The Hot 8 and The Life and Times of the Hot 8 Brass Band, which came out in November of last year.

Tickets for the Hot 8 Brass Band and Funky Butt Brass Band at The Demo are $10 in advance, $12 at the door (plus a $3 surcharge for minors), and are on sale online now.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A taste of Joe Sample



This week, we check in on pianist Joe Sample, who's coming to St. Louis to perform with his trio starting Wednesday, March 27 through Saturday, March 30 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Now 74, the Houston native first gained fame in the early 1960s, blending jazz with soul, R&B and pop influences as a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders. Sample began developing his solo career beginning in the late 1970s, enjoying considerable commercial success with albums such as Rainbow Seeker and Carmel. He's continued to work as a solo act through the various subsequent reformations and breakups of the Crusaders, sometimes recording with vocalists such as Randi Crawford, who sang on the Crusaders' "Street Life," and Lalah Hathaway, daughter of R&B great and former St. Louisan Donny Hathaway.

Sample's most recent CD is a live album released in 2012, recorded with Crawford, his son Nick Sample on bass, and Steve Gadd on drums. He was in St. Louis most recently when the reunited Crusaders (minus original drummer Stix Hooper) performed in June 2011 at the Touhill.

Today's clips include several of Sample's most popular compositions, starting up above with a trio version of "Freedom Sound" - the title track to the Jazz Crusaders' 1961 debut album - recorded in 2009 at Anthology in San Diego.

Down below, you can hear Sample improvise an intro going into "Melodies of Love," recorded in 1985 in Japan, followed by a version of the title track from his 1989 album Spellbound, recorded shortly after the album's release for the David Sanborn-hosted NBC program Night Music.

Below that, there's a version of "Ashes to Ashes," recorded in 2000 with bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Larry Aberman, and two tracks from a late-1990s gig with drummer Buddy Williams, percussionist Lenny Castro, and bassist Mike Manson: the Latin-flavored "Hippies On A Corner" and the concert staple  "Carmel."

For more about Joe Sample, check out this 2010 conversation with UrbanMusicScene.com; and this audio interview from 2012.









Friday, March 15, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Euclid Records has put together a blog documenting everything that's going into the store's move next month to a new location on Gore Ave., about a mile west of their current home in Webster Groves.

* Saxquest has added to their Facebook page photo albums documenting recent visits from Tim Warfield and Adam Larson.

* Also on Facebook, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted an album of photos from last week's performance at First Unity Church of St. Louis.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake's big band has a new album called Wheels just out on his own Passin' Thru label. You can hear samples from the album (pictured) by clicking on the link.

* Troy's Jazz Gallery is the subject of a feature story by Terry Perkins published this week by the St. Louis Beacon, while, on a related note, saxophonist Tim Cunningham talked with the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson about his new regular gig on Friday nights at the club.

* Keyboardist Mike Silverman of Bach to the Future has released on iTunes a sampler album of musicians with recordings on the band's Autumn Hill Records lable.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jazz this week: Dan Hicks, John Clayton & Gerald Clayton, Lotte Anker Trio, Danny Fox, and more

With a bit of spring in the air this week in St. Louis, there's also plenty of live jazz and creative music happening around town to get out and enjoy over the next few days. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, singer-guitarist Dan Hicks returns to the St. Louis area for a performance at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville.  Hicks' mix of Gyspy jazz, swing, country, blues and folk has been entertaining audiences for nearly fifty years now, and continue to draw appreciative crowds even when he doesn't have a new recording to promote. For more on his colorful career and some video samples of him and the the current edition of his band, the Hot Licks, in action, see this post from last Saturday.

Also tonight, the father-son team of bassist John Clayton and pianist Gerald Clayton (pictured, with drummer Jeff Hamilton) returns to open a four-night stand of duo gigs at Jazz at the Bistro. The two last appeared here in October 2011 as part of Clayton Brothers Quintet, which also includes John's sax-playing sibling Jeff Clayton. Since then, Gerald Clayton's star has continued to rise. He's now signed to Concord Records, and the label will release his debut for them, Life Forum, next month. The younger Clayton also can be heard on Cover Art, Concord's recently released album by the Next Collective, which is an eclectic group of 20-something musicians assembled by label exec Chris Dunn.

Tomorrow night, New Music Circle presents Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker in a concert at 560 Music Center. Teamed for this show with keyboardist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver, Anker is known here in the USA mostly as an improvisor, but also has a compositional sensibility that helps provide a sense of structure to many of her improvised flights. For more about Anker, and some video samples of her performing, check out this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Also tomorrow night, singer Erin Bode and band return to Crave coffeehouse on the south side.

On Friday, saxophonist Tim Cunningham will settle in for what's projected as a recurring weekly gig at Troy's Jazz Gallery,  saxophonist Jay Hutson is at Robbie's House of Jazz; singer Joe Mancuso performs for the first of two nights at Chaser's Lounge in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; and saxophonist Austin Cebulski's quartet is at the Cigar Inn.

Then on Saturday, the trio of NYC-based pianist Danny Fox will be in town for a performance at Robbie's. Fox, a Harvard grad, has toured with drummer Max Weinberg's big band and the Tommy Dorsey "ghost band," among others. The trio's debut album The One Constant was released in 2011, and you can hear samples on Fox' website.

Also on Saturday, Two Times True with pianist Carolbeth True will perform at the south side house-concert venue Kinda Blue, 6101 1/2 Idaho; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes bring their swing and jump blues sound back to Venice Cafe.

On Sunday, a group billed as the SIUE Jazz Faculty Ensemble, led by guitarist Rick Haydon and saxophonist Jason Swagler, will play a free concert presented by St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers series at Second Baptist Church.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday pianist Kim Portnoy's ensemble will perform at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium; and on Tuesday, the weekly swing dance presented by Lindy Hop St. Louis at the Grandel Theatre in Grand Center will feature live music from The Sidemen.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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, March 12, 2013

Jazz at Lincoln Center's Jazz Hall of Fame opens voting to fans; St. Louis native Clark Terry eligible for election this year

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame is asking jazz fans to help select its next set of inductees through online voting, and legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry (pictured) is one of this year's nominees.

Started in 2004, the Hall currently has 34 members, including former St. Louisan Miles Davis. If elected, Terry, who's now 92, would be only the third musician (along with Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman) to be honored with induction while still living.

Fans can cast their votes between now and March 31 on JALC's website. Each person who registers an e-mail address can vote for up to four nominees. Only those nominees who get at least three-quarters of the vote will be honored, up to a maximum of four inductees this year. If no one gets 75 percent of the vote, the top vote-getter will be inducted.

Interestingly, Terry isn't the only musician with St. Louis ties who is eligible for election this year. Also on the ballot is bassist Jimmy Blanton, who worked here in the late 1930s with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra and gained fame for his innovative bass playing with Duke Ellington from 1939 to 1941. Blanton died of tuberculosis at age 23 in 1942.

There's also one other living nominee this year, the great bebop drummer Roy Haynes, who's just turned 88. Other nominees include James P. Johnson, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Don Redman, and Ben Webster.

With a storied career spanning nearly eight decades, Terry certainly meets the Hall's criteria for election. He's made hundreds of records, played thousands of gigs all over the world, and his tune "Mumbles" is familiar to jazz fans everywhere as a humorous demonstration of the art of scat singing. Among his many noteworthy accomplishments, Terry also is one of a select group of jazz musicians to have performed with the orchestras of both Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and he was one of the first African-American musicians hired by a orchestra on network TV when he joined the band for NBC's Tonight Show in the early 1960s.

Equally important is that Clark Terry is, simply put, an exemplary human being and a great ambassador for jazz. Terry has taught and mentored hundreds of musicians who have gone on to have professional careers, and his positive attitude about life and continued good humor, even in the face of serious health issues in recent years, have served as inspiration to countless other musicians and fans alike.

If you need further convincing, just consult the biography on Terry's website or his Wikipedia page, which shows that he's already the recipient of more than 250 awards and honors, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Award, and numerous honorary doctorates from colleges and universities.

So, St. Louis jazz fans, the ball's in your court. To help elect Clark Terry to the Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, please go here before March 31 and cast your vote.

(Edited 3/13/13 to correct Roy Haynes' age and the spelling of "Nesuhi")

Saturday, March 09, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The hot licks of Dan Hicks



This week, let's check out some video clips of singer-guitarist Dan Hicks, who will be in Edwardsville this coming Wednesday, March 13 to perform at the Wildey Theatre. Hicks' quirky blend of Gypsy jazz, swing, folk, country, and blues has been entertaining and amusing audiences for more than 40 years, ever since he emerged as part of the San Francisco rock scene of the 1960s.

The Arkansas native first gained a measure of fame in the mid-60s as a drummer for the folk-rock group the Charlatans before launching his own band, the first edition of Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks, in 1969. That group enjoyed a good deal of success with albums including Where's The Money?, Striking It Rich and Last Train To Hicksville before breaking up in 1973.

Hicks subsequently recorded and toured as a solo act, eventually put together a couple of other groups (the Acoustic Warriors and Bayside Jazz), and also has done some work as a graphic artist. Reforming a new version of the Hot Licks in 1998, Hicks has managed to find a new generation of fans as well as hang on to many of the old ones, and continues to tour and release occasional recordings, the most recent of which was 2010's Crazy for Christmas. His last appearance in the St. Louis area was in April 2012 at the Old Rock House.

Today, we've got a grab-bag of clips from various stages of Hicks' career, starting up above with a version of the Swing Era standard "Avalon" take2 from a performance in 2010 in Denver.

Down below, we go back in time to find Hicks performing one of his signature songs, "I Scare Myself," in 1990 on David Sanborn's Night Music TV program. Along with fiddler Brian Godchaux and The Groovettes on vocals, Hicks is backed by the Night Music house band, including Sanborn on sax, Don Alias on percussion, Hiram Bullock on guitar, Philippe Saisse on keyboards, Tom Barney on bass and Omar Hakim on drums.

Below that, the third clip takes us all the way back to 1972, and shows Hicks and the "classic" lineup of the Hot Licks - Sid Page (violin), John Girton (guitar), Jaime Leopold (bass) and singers Maryann Price and Naomi Eisenberg - performing "By Hook or by Crook" and "Shorty Falls in Love" during rehearsals for an appearance on The Flip Wilson Show. While there are a few bits of extraneous audio that seem to be coming from somewhere else on the sound stage, it's worth seeing as a rare look at the band during that period.

The last three clips bring us back closer to the present day, beginning with a version of Tom Waits' song "The Piano Has Been Drinking," recorded in 2011 at guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch. Below that, there's a rendition of "Along Comes A Viper" (styled here as "'Long Comma Viper") recorded at Hicks' 70th birthday party in April 2012 at Davies Hall in San Francisco. And today's final clip features another Hicks favorite, "How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away," recorded in July 2012 during an outdoor show in Egg Harbor, WI.

For more about Dan Hicks, check out this extended interview, done in 2001 for the website PureMusic.com; a slightly more recent conversation with PopMatters.com; and and this interview, published just last month on the website Music Illuminati.









Friday, March 08, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Singer and former East St. Louisan Phil Perry (pictured) has a new album called Say Yes on Shanachie Records.

* Drummer and St. Louis native Mark Colenburg, now working with acclaimed pianist Robert Glasper's band, is starring in a new promotional video for Vater drumsticks.

* While in town last week to perform at Jazz at the Bistro, singer Kurt Elling was interviewed on KWMU's "Cityscape" program.

* The St Louis Low Brass Collective has posted on Facebook an album of photos from trombonist's Jim Pugh's performance last week here at Maryville University.

* St. Louis' new classical music radio station, founded by a group of former KFUO staffers, supporters and others known as the Radio Arts Foundation, has received FCC approval to begin broadcasting on Monday, April 8. The station will be available via a low-power signal at 107.3 FM; on HD radio at KIHT-HD2 (96.3 FM); and as an online audio stream. The Post-Dispatch's classical music writer Sarah Bryan Miller has more here.

* Also in the Post, pop music writer Kevin Johnson notes the five-year anniversary of music venue The Gramophone.

* At a meeting at The Sheldon on Monday night, the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis announced the results of last year's Artists Count survey and some new grant programs for individual artists. Starting later this year, RAC will award 10 $20,000 fellowships per year to area artists, hoping to provide "a financial endowment and investment in the careers of the selected artists and in the cultural vibrancy of the region." RAC also will invest another $75,000 into support grants of $500 to $3,000 to fund specific projects and needs of individual artists. Read more in the agency's news release here (.pdf file).

* And speaking of surveys, the Arcade Building downtown at 812 Olive St is being restored as live/work space for artists, and the developer, Dominium, Inc, is working with a group called PLACE (Projects Linking Art, Community & Environment) to conduct a survey of local creative types, which you can take online here.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Jazz this week: Thomas, Whitaker, Hayward & Warfield; Chris Hazelton & Cory Weeds; Oikos Ensemble; and more

This week's schedule of live jazz and creative music includes a diverse group of musician/educators brought together here by a returning St. Louisan; visiting players from Kansas City, Vancouver and Mississippi; the debuts of two new ensembles featuring some top local musicians; and more. Let's go to the highlights....

Tonight, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra performs at First Unity Church of St. Louis, 4753 Butler Hill Rd in south county.

On Thursday night, the Young Friends of Jazz St. Louis and two other local organizations' "young friends" groups will present the annual "Jazz Under The Stars" benefit at the Planetarium in Forest Park. The event will include live music from guitarist Eric Slaughter, bassist Bob Deboo, saxophonist Willie Akins, pianist Jesse Gannon, and drummer Marty Morrison.

Also tomorrow, the St. Louis Avant Garde Ensemble makes its debut at the Tavern of Fine Arts. This new project features Fred Tompkins, flute and melodica; Jim Hegarty, piano and electronics; Tracy Andreotti, cello; Lee Scott Price, guitar; and Thomas Zirkle, percussion and electronics.

And while all that's going on, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University will have something a little different this Thursday: a free screening of the Mississippi blues documentary film We Juke Up In Here, produced and directed by St. Louis resident Jeff Konkel and former St. Louisan Roger Stolle. Along with the film, the event will include a Q&A with Konkel and Stolle and a performance by guitarist and singer Jimmy "Duck" Holmes.

On Friday, pianist Reggie Thomas, who grew up and worked here for most of his life but moved away last year for a teaching job in Michigan, will be back in town to perform for the second time since the move. Thomas (pictured) will join forces with bassist Rodney Whitaker (a fellow faculty member at Michigan State University), trombonist Andre Hayward, and saxophonist Tim Warfield for shows on Friday and Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.

All four men have been in town throughout the week as part of an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis, performing and teaching at local schools and working with students in the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars and JazzU programs. Thomas, of course, is a longtime StLJN favorite who's well known to local jazz fans, and yr. humble editor found Hayward to be particularly impressive a few years ago here with the SF Jazz Collective at the Bistro. (And that's certainly not to slight Whitaker or Warfield, both of whom have impressive resumes of their own.)

Also Friday, the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom, singer Joe Mancuso brings a quartet to Robbie's House of Jazz; and Eric Slaughter will lead a quartet with Akins, Morrison and DeBoo at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday afternoon, singer Wendy Gordon and her band will be playing a new jazz brunch, this one at Ace's Bar and Grill, 9600 Natural Bridge Rd (inside the Comfort Inn) on the north side. Meanwhile, across town, trumpeter/vibraphonist Joe Bozzi and his group will be performing a matinee at Schoemehl's Southside Grill, 7529 Michigan Ave.

Then on Saturday evening, organist Chris Hazelton, who's from Kansas City, and Cory Weeds, a saxophonist from Vancouver, will team up for a performance at Robbie's. Hazelton is a former student of Hammond master Dr. Lonnie Smith, while Weeds frequently plays in the organ-trio format and also operates a club called the Jazz Cellar in Vancouver. As far as StLJN can tell, this gig is the St. Louis debut for both men; check out their respective websites for some music samples.

Also on Saturday, singer Danita Mumphard will perform at Jazz on Broadway; and the WirePilots, a new group featuring brothers Dan and Ted Rubright on guitar and percussion plus Ric Vice on bass, will debut at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

On Sunday, the Oikos Ensemble, featuring Rev. Cliff Aerie on saxophone, will present a free concert called "Inner Jazz" at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, 1603 Dougherty Ferry Rd. Aerie's collaborators for the performance will include Carolbeth True (piano), Danny Campbell (trumpet), Dave Troncoso (bass) and Kevin Gianino (drums).

Also on Sunday, multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris will present a free concert at Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, offering jazz interpretations of the music of the late hip-hop performer/producer J Dilla.

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 http://twitter.com/StLJazzNotes 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.)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Old Orchard Gazebo series to include Jim Manley, Miss Jubilee, Erin Bode, and more

The Old Orchard Gazebo Music and Movie Series is adding more jazz to its 2013 schedule.

In the recent past, the free concert-and-film events - sponsored by the Old Orchard business district in Webster Groves with music programming help from Euclid Records - have included bands from a variety of genres, notably indie rock and Americana, but this year's lineup includes several acts of potential interest to local jazz fans. The 2013 schedule is:

Friday, June 14: Javier Mendoza & Raiders of the Lost Ark
Friday, June 21: North of the Quarter & Night at the Museum
Friday, June 28: Jim Manley (pictured) & The Big Chill
Friday, July 5: Miss Jubilee & Some Like It Hot
Friday, July 12: Erin Bode & Undefeated (2012 Academy Award winning documentary)

The Old Orchard Gazebo Music and Movie Series is free and open to the public. Music begins at 7:00 p.m. with films following at about 9:00 p.m. in Gazebo Park at the corner of Big Bend and Oxford in Webster Groves. Concert attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and food and beverages from area restaurants will be on sale.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Lotte Anker



This week, our video spotlight shines on Danish saxophonist and composer Lotte Anker, who will be making her St. Louis debut Thursday, March 14 in a concert presented by New Music Circle at 560 Music Center.

Though Anker seems to be known in this country more as a improvisor, in Denmark she also has composed music incorporating jazz and contemporary classical influences for a variety of groups and projects. Anker works most frequently in Europe, and collaborates with a number of different musicians from her home country, but in St. Louis she'll perform with a trio featuring two Americans, drummer Gerald Cleaver and keyboard player Craig Taborn.

Taborn, whose notable credits include Chris Potter's Underground, Dave Holland's quartet Prism, and the bands of saxophonists James Carter, Roscoe Mitchell, and Tim Berne, is widely regarded as one of the top electric keyboard players in jazz today. Cleaver has worked with many notable musicians, too, including Mitchell, guitarists Joe Morris and David Torn, bassist Miroslav Vitous, and many others.

Anker was born in 1958 in Copenhagen and studied music at Copenhagen University. She formed her first quintet with pianist Mette Petersen in 1988, and has developed many other musical associations over the years. With pianist Marilyn Crispell, she serves as one of the co-leaders of the Copenhagen Art Ensemble, and Anker also has worked frequently in various groups with percussionist Marilyn Mazur.

Other key collaborators have included guitarist Hasse Poulsen, bassist Peter Friis-Nielsen, and trombonist Ture Larsen. Anker has worked with many other European and American musicians as well, and also has written music for several theater and dance productions. In addition to recording as a side musician and co-leader, she has made four albums as a leader, plus three more with Taborn and Cleaver, the most recent being 2009's Floating Islands.

While many of the videos of the Anker/Taborn/Cleaver trio that are available online are short snippets, just a minute or two long, there is one longer clip, a half-hour excerpt from a concert in 2011 at Barbes, a performance space in Brooklyn, NYC. That's today's first video, in the embedded window up above.

Down below, there's are five more clips showing Anker playing with various other combinations of musicians, starting with an excerpt recorded at a Danish jazz festival in 2010. It features her with pianist Søren Kjærgaard, saxophonists Jesper Løvdal and Nils Bo Davidsen, bassist Peter Friis Nielsen, and drummers Kresten Osgood and Claus Bøje.

The next clip also is from 2010, and shows Anker, electronic musician Iku Mori (who played in St. Louis last year with the Mephista Trio) and drummer Steve Noble at a gig in the UK. Below that, there's video from a 2012 duo performance by Anker and Mori.

The last two videos feature Anker with two more larger ensembles. In the fifth position, you can see her with fellow Danish musicians Sture Ericson and Jeppe Højgaard on saxophones, Jeppe Zeberg on piano, Tapani Toivanen and Jesper Thorn on basses, and Mads Forsby and Magnus Jochumsen on drums and percussion.

The sixth and final clip show Anker performing in Copenhagen with the What River Ensemble, a multi-national group of improvisors and composers that includes Mori, Chris Cutler, Phil Minton, Fred Frith, Garth Knox, Anna Klett, and Jesper Egelund.

For more about Lotte Anker, check out this profile, written in 2009 by Celeste Sunderland for AllAboutJazz.com.









Friday, March 01, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Clark Terry's blog has a new entry this week with news of the great trumpeter's health - holding steady for the past few months - and recent activities.

* Drummer Ronnie Burrage is the subject of a feature story this week by Terry Perkins in the St. Louis Beacon. Burrage and his quartet also performed Wednesday on the 9:00 a.m. newscast on Fox 2 (KTVI); you can see that segment online here. Their performances tonight and tomorrow night have been moved at the last minute to a new venue, the clubhouse of the Probstein Golf Club in Forest Park

* Saxquest has posted to their Facebook page an album of photos from last Friday's performance and master class by Jeff Coffin.

* The Willie Akins/Montez Coleman Group's CD release event last Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro was reviewed by KDHX's Mike Herr.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake was interviewed by a campus publication in advance of a performance tonight at Duke University.

* Don Wolff has posted on his website a new interview with singer Norm Drubner.

* There's more coverage of  trumpeter Terence Blanchard's visit to St. Louis last week from the St. Louis Beacon, as well as three separate stories about his residency from the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller. Champion, the new opera composed by Blanchard (pictured), will get its world premiere in June at Opera Theatre St. Louis.

* Also from the P-D's Miller comes word that the Radio Arts Foundation has won FCC approval to begin operating a new classical music radio station in St. Louis later this year. In addition to orchestral, chamber and choral music, previously announced plans for the station's proposed program schedule also include a "new music" show featuring contemporary composers, and a jazz program hosted by Calvin Wilson of the Post-Dispatch.

* The 2013 SXSW music convention, held later this month in Austin, TX will include a panel about Miles Davis' 1969 quintet.

* Jazz St. Louis is looking for a new Development Associate to join their staff. For information on the job and how to apply, visit the JSL website.
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