Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy International Jazz Day!

In addition to being the final day of Jazz Appreciation Month 2013, Tuesday, April 30 is the second-ever International Jazz Day, a worldwide celebration of jazz presented by UNESCO, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, the Republic of Turkey and the city of Istanbul, which will host a "Global Concert" featuring an lineup of top jazz talent.

The extravaganza will be streamed live on the Internet, with scheduled performances featuring Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Esperanza Spalding, Joss Stone, Marcus Miller, John McLaughlin, Terence Blanchard, Ruben Blades, Ramsey Lewis, Hugh Masekela, Eddie Palmieri, Al Jarreau, Dianne Reeves, George Duke, Lee Ritenour, Jean-Luc Ponty, Milton Nascimento, John Beasley, Igor Butman, Anat Cohen, Vinnie Coliauta, Imer Demirer, James Genus, Bilal Karaman, Pedrito Martinez, Keiko Matsui, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hüsnü Şenlendirici, Joe Louis Walker, Ben Williams, Liu Yuan and others.

It all begins at 1:00 p.m. St. Louis time, and you can watch the live stream in the embedded video window down below. (For readers elsewhere, that time translates to 9:00 p.m. in the host city of Istanbul, 7:00 p.m. in London, 2:00 p.m. in NYC and 4:00 a.m. the next day in Sydney.)

Here locally in St. Louis, tonight's live performances will include a free International Jazz Day jam session, hosted by pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson's trio, at Jazz at the Bistro; a revue of Billie Holiday songs by Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and a free concert by the fusion band Steizuello and the Lindbergh High School orchestra at Lindbergh HS.

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.

(The video of the 2013 International Jazz Day concert will be available on YouTube until midnight on May 2.)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Site news: Spring cleaning, plus
several different ways to get StLJN

If over the next couple of weeks, some things on this site seem broken, or intermittently look or act a bit funny, it's likely because of some long overdue spring cleaning.

As time permits, I'll be pruning some dead links and adding new ones, fixing (I hope) a couple of nagging problems with certain sidebar gadgets, and perhaps rearranging things a bit as well. Please pardon the metaphorical dust, and accept my apologies for any temporary inconvenience.

Meanwhile, this seems like an opportune time for a gentle reminder that there are many ways to keep up with StLJN's content besides going directly to the front page of the blog:

* You can use your browser or newsreader to subscribe to the RSS feed.

* You can sign up for the email digest. You'll get an update only on days that there's at least one new post, containing the full text of all new posts for that day.

* Follow StLJN on Twitter. The feed features all the headlines from StLJN, right after they're posted, plus selected reTweets of other items of interest.

* You can "Like" StLJN's page on Facebook. This page features links to all StLJN stories right after they're published, plus "shares" from other jazz-related Facebook pages. Please note, though, that because of Facebook's restrictions, to get all the updates in your personal news feed, you need to not only "Like" the page, but also select from the accompanying list of options "Show in news feed" and/or "Add To Interest Lists" (if you use that feature).

* You also can access StLJN articles on AllAboutJazz.com, Alltop.com, Feedage, and through several other online news aggregators.

* Lastly, all the YouTube content posted on St. Louis Jazz Notes is available separately on StLJN's YouTube page

Saturday, April 27, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
From Benin to Berklee and beyond with
guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke

Thie week, let's peruse some video clips from guitarist and singer Lionel Loueke, who's coming to St. Louis to play Wednesday, May 8 through Saturday, May 11 at Jazz at the Bistro.

Born in the west African nation of Benin, Loueke studied starting in 1990 at the National Institute of Art in Ivory Coast and from 1994 to 1998 at the American School of Modern Music in Paris. He came to the USA in 1999 after winning a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, from which he graduated in the year 2000.

Loueke subsequently has worked a sideman with a host of well-known jazz musicians and singers, performing and/or recording with Terence Blanchard, Angelique Kidjo, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Charlie Haden, Marcus Miller, Sting, Brian Blade, John Patitucci, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove, Santana, Dennis Chambers, Gretchen Parlato and many others.

One of Loueke's most notable associations has been with Herbie Hancock, with whom he recorded on the albums Possibilities (2006) and River: The Joni Letters (2007). Loueke's only previous St. Louis appearance also was with Hancock, as he played on the keyboardist's Headhunters 2005 tour that began right here at The Pageant.

As a bandleader, Loueke has released two albums with the trio Gilfema, with Massimo Biolcati on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums, and five under his own name, the most recent being 2012's Heritage on the Blue Note label. His distinctive blend of jazz and west African styles has earned Loueke a lot of attention from fans and the media in recent years, including wins in the "Rising Star - Guitar" category in the 2008 and 2009 DownBeat reader's poll.

For his gig at the Bistro, Loueke will play with a trio, and today's selection of clips includes a nice long look at his work in that format. First, though, comes a pair of videos, up top and the first one down below, in which Loueke is introduced and interviewed, talks about his background and guitar and vocal techniques, and, in part two, performs "Madjigua."

Below that, you can see a complete 90-minute show Loueke played with the Gilfema trio in December, 2010 at the Library of Congress' Atlas Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. The fourth clip showcases a different trio, with some extended jamming on "Freedom Dance" by Loueke, drummer Mark Guiliana and bassist Michael Olatuja recorded in October 2012 in Denver.

The fifth clip shows Loueke playing solo in an appearance recorded in November 2012 at TSFJazz in Paris. And today's sixth and final video shows Loueke playing his composition "Tribal Dance" last September in London with keyboardist Robert Glasper, who produced the Heritage album.

For more about Lionel Loueke, see this 2009 interview with Jazz.com; his page at NPR music; this interview from October 2012 published on Blue Note's site; and this interview published just last month on AllAboutJazz.com.

Friday, April 26, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* In case you were wondering, last Saturday's National Record Store Day once again led to a big increase in sales at independent music stores across the nation, according to this article in USA Today.

Here in St. Louis, several local music retailers celebrated the day with live bands, guest DJs, giveaways of merchandise and beer, and more. Vintage Vinyl, where yr. humble StLJN editor took over the sound system for an hour-long, late-afternoon DJ set, has uploaded to Facebook a photo album documenting the festivities, while Euclid Records has put a compilation of video clips on YouTube.

* Speaking of Euclid Records, as soon as the doors closed on RSD 2013, employees there began packing for the store's move to a new location about a mile west at 19 N. Gore in Webster Groves, where they're scheduled to reopen on May 1. You can see a photo album documenting the move here, and a video of the store's new sign going up here.

* The fourth part of Dennis Owsley's audio documentary about the history of St. Louis jazz is set to air on KWMU's Jazz Unlimited at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday. This installment covers the 1950s, and you can get a preview and see photos and other supplemental content here.

* Singer Bobby McFerrin was in town last night to perform at the Sheldon Concert Hall's annual benefit gala, and the Post-Dispatch's Kevin Johnson has a review of the show here. While he was here, McFerrin also was interviewed on KWMU. You can see a photo album of the Sheldon's preparations for the big fund-raiser here.

* Speaking of radio interviews, Alarm Will Sound's artistic director and conductor Alan Pierson was interviewed Sunday on KMOX radio about the band's performance of 1969 tonight at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. Pierson also is scheduled to appear today on KWMU's Cityscape program.

* And in our final radio reference for the day, Radio Arts Foundation general manager Jim Connett talked about the new classical station in an interview with local NBC affiliate KSDK.

* Drummer and former St. Louisan Kim Thompson (pictured) has released a new album entitled Red Glory, now available for listening and downloading via her Bandcamp page. It's essentially a hip-hop and R&B release showcasing Thompson's production and writing, though the lone instrumental "Cairo Brazil" does provide a dash of South American-flavored funk. For more of Thompson, check out this video of her recent visit to LP Percussion, in which she tries out a new hybrid drum set/percussion rig.

* Lastly, if you're curious about what to expect when actress-turned-singer Molly Ringwald takes the stage on May 14 and 15 at Jazz at the Bistro, check out this review of her new album from the Associated Press, this review of her recent performance in Minneapolis, and this feature in Jazz Times magazine.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

StLJN turns eight

Eight years ago today, the first post went up on St. Louis Jazz Notes. More than 3,200 posts later, StLJN remains one of the longest continuously operating outposts of the jazz blogosphere and one of the longest running music blogs in St. Louis, as well as the city's most regularly updated source devoted to news about jazz.

Thanks once again to all the readers, commenters, musicians, music students and educators, presenters, club owners, publicists, tipsters, media people, record label employees, and others who have taken an interest in the site over the years. I'm grateful for your time and attention, and hope never to take it for granted.

If you have any anniversary wishes, congratulations, questions, suggestions, or complaints, the comments are, as usual, open.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Jazz this week: Dr. Lonnie Smith & James Carter, Bobby McFerrin, Dianne Reeves, Bill Frisell, Alarm Will Sound, Christian Howes, and more

As we head into the final week of Jazz Appreciation Month, culminating next Tuesday in International Jazz Day, there's a fine selection of jazz and creative music performances taking place over the next few days in St. Louis, with several touring headliners on local stages. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith (pictured) and saxophonist James Carter join forces for the first of four nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Although the two men don't normally work together, Carter performs frequently with his own organ trio, and certainly can go deeply into the kind of funk and soul grooves that are Smith's stock in trade. So the pairing seems like a natural combination. while still offering something out of the ordinary for the Bistro's habitués. You can see some videos of both Smith and Carter performing and read more about them in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also tonight, trumpeter Jim Manley plays at Sasha's Wine Bar, and pianist and singer Al Oxenhandler is at Frontenac Grill

Tomorrow night, singer Bobby McFerrin will be in town for the annual benefit gala at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The man who famously sang "Don't Worry, Be Happy" will perform with SpiritYouAll, a vocal ensemble informed by the traditions of African-American spirituals and gospel music. While the expensive patron tickets for the evening are sold out, some concert-only tickets still are available; contact the Sheldon for details. You can read an interview that McFerrin did with the St. Louis Beacon's Terry Perkins here.

Also on Thursday, the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly "Avant-Garde Arts Night" featuring live improvised music from local musicians such as pianist Jim Hegarty, flute player Fred Tompkins, and others associated with New Music Circle.

And speaking of new music, on Friday the new music ensemble Alarm Will Sound closes out their first St. Louis season* with a performance of the multimedia show 1969 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The work combines the music of 1960s icons including The Beatles, Leonard Bernstein, and avant-garde composers Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luciano Berio with projection video and stills and spoken word performances. For more, read this preview piece about 1969, again from Terry Perkins and the Beacon.

Also on Friday, singer Feyza Eren performs at Robbie's House of Jazz, singer Tony Viviano will serenade diners at Talayna's, and saxophonist Tim Cunningham continues his weekly Friday sets at Troy's Jazz Gallery.

On Saturday, singer Dianne Reeves returns for another performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall. One of the top female jazz vocalists working today, Reeves has been a frequent visitor here in recent years, thanks in no small part to the fact that her music director and pianist Peter Martin is from St. Louis. Should you somehow be unfamiliar with her considerable talents, you'll find some biographical information and some recent video clips of Reeves (and Martin) performing in this post from last Saturday.

Also on Saturday, trumpeter Keith Moyer leads a quartet at Thurman Grill, and saxophonist Willie Akins will bring his quartet to Robbie's.

On Sunday, guitarist Bill Frisell will be back the Old Rock House, this time performing with his group Beautiful Dreamers, which features violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston. Having played everything from free jazz to the music of Bob Dylan, Frisell is a guitarists' guitarist who manages to mix jazz with country twang, rock crunch, and lots more, without making it seem artificial or forced. If online comments are any indicator, there should be a crowd of local guitar players in attendance to applaud his efforts.

Also Sunday, violinist Christian Howes will be in town for a house concert performance at the Deco Fortress on the south side. Howes formerly was an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, and won first place in the "Rising Star - Violin" category of the 2011 Down Beat Critic's Poll. And if that weren't enough for one night, the Dave Dickey Big Band also has their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company on Sunday evening, this month including an intermission set from the Kirkwood High School jazz ensemble.

Looking beyond the weekend,on Tuesday the annual celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month ends with International Jazz Day and a plethora of live jazz performances all over the world. Here in St. Louis, there are several options for celebrants this year, notably Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes performing a tribute to Billie Holiday at the Sheldon Concert Hall. Singer Sarah Jane Ulrich will present Holiday's most famous songs, as arranged by saxophonist Jerry Greene and played by an ensemble including Greene and Zac Minor on saxes, Doug Burns on trombone, Tim Garcia on piano, Ben Osborne on guitar, Marlene Long on bass, and Mike Major on drums.

Also on Tuesday, Jazz St. Louis will present their second annual International Jazz Day open jam session hosted by pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson's trio. Admission for this event is free for musicians and patrons, but if you're an instrumentalist who wants to jam, plan on showing up early at the Bistro to sign up.

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.)

*Department of Full Disclosure: I am employed by the public relations firm Slay & Associates to assist Alarm Will Sound with publicity and marketing for their St. Louis shows, and to work on other music-related projects. Whatever you think about that, you should go hear AWS anyway, as I'd be recommending their gig whether I was working with them or not.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dan Thomas and Voyage playing Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 at Robbie's House of Jazz

Kansas City-based saxophonist Dan Thomas (pictured) is returning to St. Louis to play at 8:00 p.m., Friday, May 3 and Saturday. May 4 at Robbie's House of Jazz.

Thomas, a native Canadian who is associate director of jazz studies and co-chair of the division of jazz studies at UMKC's conservatory of music, will play with his band Voyage, which also includes Wayne Hawkins on piano, Forest Stewart on bass, and Mike Warren on drums.

The group will be promoting their eponymous debut CD, released last fall, and will be performing original music and "some interesting twists on rarely heard standards," said Thomas in an email to StLJN.

Tickets for Dan Thomas and Voyage at Robbie's House of Jazz are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and can be purchased online via the club's website or at the door.

Jazz St. Louis announces new shows
in May at Jazz at the Bistro

Jazz St. Louis has announced two weekends of performances to fill out the schedule for May at Jazz at the Bistro. 

Trumpeter Sean Jones (pictured), who was here just a couple of weeks ago for the "Triumph of Trumpets" show, will return to serve as a guest star with the student musicians from the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars and  JazzU programs, who will present their annual weekend of performances at the Bistro on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4. 

Then on Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18, it's "Great Guitars 2013," featuring a team-up of St. Louis guitarists Tom Byrne, Shaun Robinson (from Good 4 the Soul), and Eric Slaughter, backed by bassist Jahmal Nichols and drummer Montez Coleman.

Sets will be at the Bistro's usual times of 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and tickets for both weekends are on sale now via Metrotix.

Christian Howes performing this Sunday, April 28 at Deco Fortress

Violinist Christian Howes is coming to St. Louis to perform at 7:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 28 at the Deco Fortress, 3622 S. Broadway, across from the Lemp Brewery complex.

Howes (pictured) formerly was an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, and won first place in the "Rising Star -Violin" category of the 2011 Down Beat Critic's Poll. He has released 13 albums as a leader, including his most recent, Southern Exposure, which came out earlier this year on the Resonance Records label.

The Deco Fortress is a "house concert" venue, which means it's BYOB and advance reservations are recommended. Tickets for Christian Howes are $12 general admission, $10 students at the door. For more information, see the Deco Fortress' Facebook page.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
An evening with Dianne Reeves

Today, let's take a look at some videos of singer Dianne Reeves, who's coming back to St. Louis to perform next Saturday, April 27 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Reeves has been a frequent visitor here in recent years. She appeared at the Sheldon in December 2005 as part of a large cast of musicians at a post-Hurricane Katrina fund-raising benefit, and came back to headline at Washington University's Edison Theatre in May 2007. She was back at the Sheldon for another show in October 2008, and performed there most recently in February 2010 in a duo with her longtime pianist and music director, St. Louis' Peter Martin, to help him kick off his eponymous concert series at the hall.

Often to compared to the classic jazz singers of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, particularly Sarah Vaughan, Reeves was born in Detroit and raised in Denver as part of a musical family. (One especially notable relative is her cousin, pianist and composer George Duke.) At the age of 16, she sang with her high school big band at the National Association of Jazz Educators convention and attracted the attention of another St. Louisan, the great trumpeter Clark Terry, who became an early mentor.

After graduating from high school, Reeves moved to Los Angeles, where she met pianist Eduardo del Barrio and eventually began touring with his band Caldera. She continued to pay dues over the next few years by touring with pianist Billy Childs' band Night Flight, Sérgio Mendes, and Harry Belafonte before launching her solo career in the mid-1980s. Over the course of her career she's made dozen of appearances on record in support of others, and has released a total of 19 albums as a leader, including four that won Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Today's video clips will show you some of what Reeves has been doing since her last visit here to St. Louis. Up above, you'll find the first part of her complete set from Jazzwoche Burghausen 2012, with parts two and three down below. In addition to Peter Martin on piano, Reeves' band on this gig included another musician from our area, East St. Louisan Terreon Gully on drums, as well as bassist Reginald Veal and guitarist Romero Lubambo.

Below that, you can see Reeves and the groups performing an arrangement of Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm" recorded last August with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine at the Jazz in Marciac festival in France. (This is an audience-shot video, so the camera work is a little shaky but the sound is good.)

The fifth clip features an excerpt from another 2012 show, with Reeves, Lubambo and guitarist Russell Malone engaging in a bit of freeform vocal and guitar improvisation, then launching into a version of Reeves' song "Mista" that seems to owe a debt to bluesman John Lee Hooker. For the final clip, we go back in time a version of "Skylark" recorded in 2005 at Jazz Baltica that serves a nice showcase for the ballad stylings of both Reeves and Martin.

For more about Dianne Reeves, see this 2011 interview with Jazz Times, her page at NPR music, and this 2008 interview with radio station WBGO.

Friday, April 19, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* There's more coverage of this weekend's Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival from KWMU, KPLR, and KTRS.

* KWMU's Dennis Owsley has a preview of the third installment of his radio history of St. Louis jazz (airing at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday) plus some supplemental photos and videos here.

* The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted to Facebook an album of photos from their show this past Wednesday at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

* Here's a review of Nouveau Stride, the recently released CD featuring St. Louis pianist Stephanie Trick and singer Lorraine Feather.

* An exhibition of original artwork by Miles Davis, “Miles Davis: The Art of Cool,” will be presented by June 8 through July 28 at the Napa Valley Museum and Lincoln Theater in Yountville, CA. It features 35 pieces of Davis' artwork as well as personal effects, and will be accompanied by various special events and a film screening.

* Saxophonist and St. Louis native David Sanborn and pianist Bob James will celebrate the release of their new CD Quartette Humaine and begin a joint tour with a concert on June 6 at NYC's Town Hall.

* Tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, is the annual National Record Store Day, and, as has become the custom here in St. Louis, local music retailers are celebrating with exclusive limited releases, live bands, guest DJs, giveaways and more. You can get an overview of what's going on around town from the St. Louis Beacon and/or the Riverfront Times.

As part of the festivities, yr. humble StLJN editor has been invited to return to Vintage Vinyl in University City again this year for an hour-long "guest DJ" spot. I'll be in the store spinning some jazz, blues, soul and funk from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, so if you're nearby, stop in and say hello.

Sheldon Concert Hall announces
2013-14 season schedule

The Sheldon Concert Hall today announced the schedule for the various subscription series in its 2013-14 season.

The Sheldon's 2013-14 jazz series will kick off on Wednesday, October 23 with the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, featuring bassist/trombonist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck doing a tribute to their dad, the late pianist Dave Brubeck, who played at the Sheldon several times over the years.

The jazz series then will continue with New Orleans keyboardist Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human on Saturday, January 18, 2014, Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés on Saturday, February 15, and singer Catherine Russell (pictured) on Saturday, April 19.

In addition, the Sheldon for the first time will be selling series tickets for the Peter Martin Music concerts, curated by and starring the St. Louis based pianist. The lineup of musicians is TBA for Martin's first two concerts on Saturday, November 2 and Friday, February 7. The third, on Sunday, March 30, is billed as "Newport Jazz Festival at 60" and will feature Martin, saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, singer Karrin Allyson, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarist Mark Whitfield, drummer Clarence Penn, and bassist Larry Grenadier. Martin also will play a "jazz meets classical" concert with St. Louis Symphony violinist and concertmaster David Halen and other SLSO members on Wednesday, April 23.

The Coffee Concerts series, presented on selected Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, also will include some performers of interest to jazz fans, starting with Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers on October 15 and 16. Other Coffee Concerts series shows will feature the St. Louis Ragtimers (November 18 & 20) and Swing DeVille (April 29 and 30), and there will be a single non-series Coffee Concert by Red Lehr and the St. Louis Rivermen on Tuesday, March 18.

Subjectively, the most striking thing about this 2013-14 lineup is that Martin's Newport Jazz Festival tribute would appear to offer as much star power as the entire jazz series put together. Yes, Valdes is an innovator and elder statesman of Latin jazz, but the Brubeck Brothers, Batiste, and Russell all are essentially middle-of-the-pack acts - enjoyable and musically capable, but far removed from the cutting edge of the art form; and commercially viable, but not so buzzworthy as to be able to command especially high fees. There's nothing there likely to offend or put off the average potential season ticket buyer, but unless you're already a fan of any of the specific artists, the "must-see" factor seems fairly low, too.

Season tickets for the Sheldon's jazz series are $150 for orchestra seats and $135 for the balcony. Series tickets for Peter Martin Music will be $150 for VIP seating, $110 for orchestra, $95 for balcony. Series subscriptions will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 13 and continue through he first concert in the series. Single tickets will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. August 10 via Metrotix.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jazz this week: Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival with Anat Cohen, Matt Wilson, Doc Severinsen, Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary tour; and more

While this week's big event for jazz and creative music in St. Louis is the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, featuring a number of nationally known touring musicians, there also are plenty of noteworthy performances featuring local players coming up in the next few days. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, singer Mary Dyson and pianist Brock Walker's trio will play at Troy's Jazz Gallery; Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly open mic night at the Tavern of Fine Arts; and the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra performs at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

On Thursday, clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen and drummer Matt Wilson will open the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival by teaming up for two sets at Jazz at the Bistro. You can read StLJN's interview with Cohen here, and see a video preview of all of the festival acts here. Also, the St. Louis Beacon has a preview story about the festival by Terry Perkins here; and Matt Wilson talked with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson (no relation) for a brief article that can be found online here.

Also on Thursday, singer Erin Bode will be at Crave coffee house, and keyboardist Pete Ruthenberg plays an early evening set at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

On Friday, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival continues with the Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary Tour at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The all-star band features singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist Christian McBride, pianist Benny Green, drummer Lewis Nash, saxophonist Chris Potter, and trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire. The UMSL Big Band, directed by bassist and GSLJF head honcho Jim Widner, will open the show. For more, see the preview stories about as well as Bridgewater's interview with the Post's Calvin Wilson, which can be found online here.

Also on Friday, singer Feyza Eren performs at the Wine Press; saxophonist Willie Akins plays at Cigar Inn; and saxophonist Stephen Martin, a grad student at Webster University, brings a quartet to Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Saturday, the GSLJF concludes with a performance from the Doc Severinsen Big Band at the Touhill. The veteran Tonight Show trumpeter (pictured), still quite capable at age 85, has a band reportedly stocked with top players from the West Coast, including the great tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts, which should make for a enjoyable evening of music. The UMSL Big Band will open the show.

Also on Saturday, guitarists Tom Byrne and Eric Slaughter will play at Schlafly Bottleworks; the Kevin Mitchell 4 are at Robbie's House of Jazz; and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes return to the Venice Cafe

Then on Sunday, singer and pianist Anita Rosamond performs a free concert for the St. Louis Jazz and Blues Vespers series at Second Baptist Church in Richmond Heights; and the St. Louis Metrobones will bring their many trombones to the Highway 61 Roadhouse.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday, the Webster University Jazz Collective plays at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus.

Then on Tuesday, singer Joe Mancuso will perform for the Sheldon Concert Hall's "Notes From Home" series with a quartet plus guest stars including trumpeter Jim Manley, saxophonist Larry Johnson, and singers Wendy Gordon and Jeanne Trevor. Also on Tuesday, the Genesis Jazz Project plays a free concert at Hazelwood West High School.

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.)

StLJN interview: Anat Cohen

The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival began as primarily an educational event for local student jazz bands, and although the festival has been booking headlining talent for several years now, the professionals performing at the GSLJF still are involved in putting on workshops and adjudications for the students.

As you’d expect, the questions they get from young musicians can cover a wide range of topics, from technical to philosophical. But if any aspiring jazz clarinetists ask Anat Cohen this week which other clarinet players they should be listening to, the answer they get may be somewhat surprising.

“I think I'm more influenced by John Coltrane than any clarinetist,” said Cohen, who plays both clarinet and saxophone. “I don't listen to the instrument, maybe as much as I listen to the soul behind the notes.” Born in Israel and educated at the Berklee College of Music, Cohen (pictured) has risen to jazz stardom over the past decade, winning multiple polls as “best clarinetist,” playing major festivals and clubs, and recently headlining her first European tour.

“Sometimes you want to listen to other instruments to get your influences,” she explained last week in a phone interview with STLJN. “In many people’s minds, clarinet still belongs to certain genres and certain times, but you don’t have to play just swing music.”

Still, “it's important to listen to the history of your instrument,” she acknowledged, ticking off a list of influential clarinetists that included her friend and mentor Paquito D’Rivera as well as historic figures such as Edmund Hall, Sidney Bechet and Benny Goodman.

Perhaps the most important information she hopes to impart to the students has to do with being in the moment. “When you are a student, you study so many details about the music. The hardest thing to remember is that you are making music with other people. I really focus on the communication between the musicians,’ she said. “I tell them, ‘Take a step back. Play less notes, and let's listen to each other.’ Nobody told me those things when I was studying music.”

Cohen’s last album Claroscuro featured her regular quartet, which includes Jason Lindner on piano, Daniel Freedman on drums and Joe Martin on bass. That group made their St. Louis debut last year at Jazz at the Bistro. During this visit, Cohen will take part in educational events at the University of Missouri St. Louis and then team up with drummer Matt Wilson to perform on Thursday night at the Bistro.

For the last several years, the GSLJF's Thursday night opener has featured special combinations of musicians who don’t work together regularly. While that's also the case with Cohen and Wilson, they aren’t exactly strangers, either. After meeting a couple of years ago at a recording studio in New York City, where both reside, the two had been looking for a way to do something together, Cohen said. They finally got a chance to record together in December – no word on when that session will come out, though – and do a few trio gigs around NYC with Martin Wind from Wilson’s band Arts and Crafts on bass.

In addition to earning plaudits for their skills as instrumentalists and composers, both Cohen and Wilson have a reputation as performers who know how to relate to an audience. “I love playing with Matt. He's just so creative and so much fun and so musical and honest,” she said. “Matt likes to have fun. He’s crazy enough to do anything.”

Asked if more jazz musicians could benefit by emulating that crowd-friendly approach, Cohen noted that showmanship and musicianship aren’t incompatible. “It's a very individual thing. When you go out and see Jimmy Heath, he's the master of an instrument, and he's also an entertainer and he's having fun. It’s very individual.”

Cohen and Wilson will be joined by two local musicians, pianist Ken Kehner and bassist Jahmal Nichols, for what promises to be a very spontaneous set. “I don’t know when we're going to rehearse,” she said with a wry chuckle. “We'll be cool, we'll find stuff to play. Having Matt Wilson on the bandstand – it’s like, some drummers, you know you're going to play swing, or more groove-oriented music. But with Matt it’s like, start the conversation and see where it goes. I like to converse on stage.”

Cohen, Wilson and company will perform two sets, at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., on Thursday at Jazz the Bistro. The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival then continues at the Touhill Performing Arts Center with the Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary All-Stars on Friday night and trumpeter Doc Severinsen's big band on Saturday. The UMSL Big Band, directed by bassist and GSLJF head Jim Widner, will open the show both nights. For a video preview of this year's GSLJF, see this post.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Dr. Lonnie Smith and James Carter

Organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and saxophonist James Carter both have played St. Louis multiple times before with their own bands, but for their next visit here, they'll be teaming up for a series of performances starting Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27 at Jazz at the Bistro

Smith's back story was covered here at StLJN previously in a couple of video posts that preceded his appearances at the Bistro in March 2009 and January 2012, and Carter has been in our video spotlight before, too, back when he played the Bistro with his own organ trio in May, 2010.

Given that, today we're just going to share some recent performances from both men, all recorded since their last visits to St. Louis. In the first video up above, you can see Smith and his bandmates, guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Jamire Williams, performing Smith's composition "Turning Point" in January of this year at NYC's Jazz Standard.

Down below, you can hear them taking it to church on "Pilgrimage," and then see a complete set taken from last year's Sydney Jazz Festival in Australia.

Today's fourth and fifth clips show Carter's organ trio, with Gerard Gibbs on the keys and Leonard Kings on drums, performing Carter's "Lettuce Toss Yo' Salad" in January 2013 during the NYC Winter Jazz Fest.

Below that, you'll find Carter and band doing a version of "The Hard Blues" recorded in 2012 in Germany, and an extended take on "Sussa Nita" that was taped last year at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Memorial for Raymond Eldridge Jr.
to be held Monday, April 15

A memorial service and jam session honoring bassist Raymond Eldridge Jr. will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. this coming Monday, April 15 at Eddie Randle and Sons, 4600 Natural Bridge Rd.

Eldridge died Tuesday, April 9 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was 69. He had suffered a stroke on March 22, and had been in the ICU at Barnes-Jewish since then. His wife Alverne Eldridge told StLJN that prior to the stroke, he had survived a number of serious medical conditions, including lung cancer in 1996, acute kidney failure, and, in 2011, liver cancer that required a resection.

Born in St. Louis, Eldridge (pictured) came from a musical family. His mother sang, and his father Raymond Eldridge Sr. was a professional bassist who began teaching Raymond Jr. while he was still in grade school. The instruction paid off when the younger Eldridge was able to join the musicians union at age 13 and begin working professionally. One of his most memorable early experiences, his wife said, was getting the opportunity to jam with Miles Davis, who knew Eldridge Sr.

Eldridge served from 1965 to 1967 in the US Army band, where his band mates included saxophonist Julius Hemphill and pianist and trumpeter Jack Kent. Although he initially played sousaphone, he later switched to string bass and, as the unit's only available bassist, was able to stay out of combat in Vietnam.

Upon his return to St. Louis, Eldridge began playing with local musicians and groups, backing touring performers coming through town, and occasionally going on the road himself. He met his wife while touring with saxophonist Hank Crawford, and played with many other nationally and internationally known performers, including Marlena Shaw, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams, Johnny Hartman, Count Basie, Milt Trenier, Aretha Franklin, Dakota Staton, Tiny Tim, Anita Bryant, and more.

Besides Davis, Kent and Hemphill, Eldridge also played with literally hundreds of other musicians from St. Louis over the course of his career. Some were well known outside the area, such as Clark Terry, John Hicks, Jimmy Forrest, Don Cunningham, Oliver Sain, and Eddie Fisher. Other local singers and bandleaders who relied on his services over the years included Hugh "Peanuts" Whalum, Freddie Washington, Gene Lynn, Terry Williams, Charles Fox, John Pyatt, Tony Viviano, Mae Wheeler, Jim Becker, Eddie Fritz, Babs Robnett, David Hines, Elaine Donahoo, the Bosman Twins, Jeanne Trevor, and many more. Eldridge's last performance was with Whalum on March 15 at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

In addition to Alverne Eldridge, his wife of 47 years, Raymond Eldridge Jr. is survived by a brother, Dahn Brown, and sister, Sylvia Merriweather, both of St. Louis; a son, Raymond Eldridge III of Washington DC; a daughter, April Jones of Swansea, MA; and four grandchildren.

Photo courtesy of Dahn Brown and the Eldridge family.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* St. Louis radio gets a couple more hours of jazz each week starting at 8:00 p.m. this Saturday, April 13, as The Jazz Collective debuts on the new Radio Arts Foundation station. Host Jason Church calls it "an all-inclusive Jazz program" featuring "all styles of Jazz: Straight-Ahead, Smooth, Acid, Bop, Fusion, Funk, Soul, World." Listen in via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2, or online at http://www.rafstl.org/listen.

* Meanwhile, down the dial at 90.7 FM, Dennis Owsley, host of KWMU's Jazz Unlimited at 9:00 p.m. on Sundays, this week will present the second part of his audio documentary on St. Louis jazz history, covering the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II.

Featured musicians and groups include Red McKenzie and the Mound City Blue Blowers, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Johnson and the St. Louis Crackerjacks, Hayes Pillars and the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra, George Hudson, Eddie Randle and the St. Louis Blue Devils, Shorty Baker, Clark Terry, Miles Davis’ trumpet teacher Elwood Buchanon, and Floyd Smith. Owsley also will reveal how Cab Calloway and Fats Waller were connected to St. Louis, the true story of the discovery of bassist Jimmy Blanton, and, as the saying goes, much more.

* The recently released Miles Davis album Live In Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 2 was reviewed for Jazz Times magazine by Jim Miller.

* Speaking of reviews, the new Willie Akins/Montez Coleman disc The St. Louis Connection was the subject of a St. Louis Beacon article by Terry Perkins.

* Clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen was profiled by the Jewish Light's Marvin Glassman. Cohen and drummer Matt Wilson will play Thursday, April 18 at Jazz at the Bistro as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival.

* Meanwhile, the Funky Butt Brass Band got a profile of their own in the St. Louis University student newspaper, the U News.

* Gus Knobbe of Webster Groves High School is the first-place winner in the High School - Jazz category of the 2013 Creating Original Music Project competition, a statewide music contest conducted by the University of Missouri's Mizzou New Music Initiative. Knobbe wins a scholarship to a summer composition camp at Mizzou, and he and his school get cash prizes courtesy of the competition's sponsor, the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. Winners from the elementary, middle school and high school divisions all will perform their works in a concert next Saturday, April 20 in Columbia; you can listen in online here.

* And speaking of winners, drummer and St. Louis native Marcus Baylor (pictured) and one of his sponsors, Gator Cases, are conducting an online contest to give away some drum accessories. Winners will be selected in a random drawing next Friday, April 19, and the grand prize package includes a Gator GP-PC302 cymbal case, Artist Series stick bag, and a pair of Baylor's Signature Pro-Mark sticks.

* The Cabaret Project of St. Louis will host a trivia night at 7:00 p.m., Saturday , June 8 at the Jewish Community Center, with proceeds to benefit to benefit the upcoming 2013 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. The cost is $20 per person; to reserve a space, email info @ thecabaretproject.org or call 314-359-0786.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Molly Ringwald to perform Tuesday, May 14 & Wednesday, May 15 at Jazz at the Bistro

Actress, author, and now singer Molly Ringwald is coming to St. Louis to perform on Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15 at Jazz at the Bistro.

The star of hit films including The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, and Sixteen Candles, Ringwald (pictured) has just released her first album as a jazz vocalist, Except Sometimes, on Concord Records.

Except Sometimes includes Ringwald's takes on standards such as "The Very Thought Of You," "I Get Along Without You Very Well," and "Pick Yourself Up," as well as a version of "Don’t You (Forget About Me)," the Simple Minds pop hit famously featured in the credits sequence of The Breakfast Club. The album was produced by pianist Peter Smith, and also features Clayton Cameron on drums, Allen Mezquida on alto saxophone and Trevor Ware on bass.

At the Bistro, Ringwald will perform sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 both nights. Tickets are $50 for the front room, $40 for the bar and balcony areas, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. next Wednesday, April 17 via Metrotix.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jazz this week: Marlena Shaw, Four In One, Cornet Chop Suey, Oikos Ensemble, and more

It's finally spring in St. Louis, and it's Jazz Appreciation Month all over the world, so it's a good week to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music. Here's a look at what's going on around town over the next few days...

Tonight, singer Marlena Shaw (pictured) returns to Jazz at the Bistro for the first evening of a four-night engagement. Known for signature songs such as "Go Away Little Boy" and "California Soul," Shaw performed in St. Louis most recently in 2010, and had been scheduled to appear at the Bistro last spring but had to cancel.

Given those circumstances, it seems likely that there's some pent-up demand among Shaw's local fan base, and so advance reservations are recommended. For more about Shaw and some video of her performing, check out this post that ran before her last set of shows here at the Bistro.

Also tonight, singer Joe Mancuso leads a quartet at Frontenac Grill, and trumpeter Jim Manley plays at Sasha's Wine Bar.

Tomorrow night, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University wraps up for the spring semester with a free concert from Four In One, featuring guitarist Steve Schenkel, saxophonist Paul DeMarinis, bassist Ric Vice and drummer Kevin Gianino engaging in electrified explorations of the compositions of Thelonious Monk. 

Also on Thursday night, Good 4 The Soul will be back serving up jazz, funk and R&B during their monthly gig at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups

On Friday, guitarist Tom Byrne will perform at the Tavern of Fine Arts; the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will bring swing and jump blues to Voce, and guitarist Dave Black will lead a trio at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday, singer Wendy Gordon and her band will perform for a jazz brunch at Ace's Bar & Grill, 9600 Natural Bridge Rd (inside the Comfort Inn). That evening, Miss Jubilee will endeavor to get the joint jumping at Schlafly Bottleworks, while guitarists Brian Vaccaro and Randy Bahr team up to play at Wolf Public House.

On Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a matinee performance of traditional jazz and swing from Cornet Chop Suey at Bel Air Bowl, 200 South Belt West in Belleville.

Also on Sunday, just as Cornet Chop Suey is wrapping up, the Oikos Ensemble will be starting a late afternoon performance at Kirkwood United Church of Christ, 1603 Dougherty Ferry Rd. With the group's leader, saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie, now based in St. Louis, this is the first of what's projected as a series of "Inner Jazz" concerts sponsored by the church's Ministry of Imagination, Creativity and the Arts. Aerie will be joined for this concert by pianist Carolbeth True, bassist Dave Troncoso, trumpeter Danny Campbell, and drummer Kevin Gianino.

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.)

(Edited after posting,) 

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

New Orleans' Soul Rebels to play
Thursday, May 23 at Old Rock House

New Orleans' Soul Rebels are coming to St. Louis to play at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, May 23 at the Old Rock House.

Formed in the mid-1990s by ex-members of the Young Olympia Brass Band to offer an updated take on the Crescent City's brass band tradition, the Soul Rebels (pictured) have won many local music awards in New Orleans. They have put out a total of seven albums on various small labels, with the most recent, Unlock Your Mind, released in 2012 on Rounder Records.

Tickets for the Soul Rebels at the Old Rock House are $13 in advance, $15 day of show, and will go on sale at 5:00 p.m. this Friday, April 12.

Diana Krall to perform Friday, September 27 at the Fox Theatre

Singer and pianist Diana Krall is coming to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m., Friday, September 27 at the Fox Theatre.

Krall (pictured) continues to tour in support of her 2012 album Glad Rag Doll, which was produced by T-Bone Burnett and features an eclectic selection of material drawn from as far back as the 1920s until today.

It's been a while since Krall has visited St. Louis; she was here last in August 2007, performing at the Fox on a joint tour with trumpeter Chris Botti.

Tickets for Diana Krall at the Fox Theatre are priced from $37.50 to $100, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, April 13 via Metrotix.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Radio Arts Foundation's new station goes live

Since the sale of the former KFUO (aka Classic 99) to new owners back in 2010, there's been no local classical music programming on broadcast radio in St. Louis.

Today, classical music radio came back to the airwaves here in the form of a new station run by the Radio Arts Foundation, and it's bringing a bit of jazz with it.

Broadcasting on analog FM at 107.3; on HD radio at 96.3-HD2; and streaming online at rafstl.org, "The Classical Station" was created by the not-for-profit RAF specifically to fill the void left by the loss of KFUO. The new venture's staff even includes some veterans of KFUO, such as station manager Jim Connett and on-air personality Tom Sudholt.

However, RAF-STL also will be broadcasting some music that wasn't on KFUO's playlist. Early announcements of programming plans said there would be a regular "new music" program, devoted to contemporary composers, as well as a locally produced jazz show and other arts-oriented programming.

Although the station is now up and running, they've yet to post a program schedule online, so there aren't many more details available. However, StLJN can confirm that at least one part of that programming agenda already is set to happen, as radio personality Jason Church, who programs the local HD jazz station Hip 96.3 HD-3, has announced he'll also be hosting a weekly jazz program for RAF-STL.

Church's program The Jazz Collective will air from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday nights, beginning this Saturday, April 13.

According to the Facebook page that he's set up to help promote it, The Jazz Collective will "explore the roots of Jazz through the vast array of Straight-Ahead acts, from Miles Davis to Thelonious Monk, to Stan Kenton. We'll also explore the many branches of Jazz that have grown from those roots."

For more on the Radio Arts Foundation's programming schedule, you can check this page on their website, or keep reading StLJN for future reports of any relevant information as it is released.

(Edited after posting.)

Pollstar: Yellowjackets returning to
Jazz at the Bistro in September 2013

As St. Louis' non-for-profit jazz presenters head into the final few weeks of their seasons, some information about next year already is beginning to trickle out in advance of 2013-14 season schedule announcements.

For example, the touring information service Pollstar has added a listing showing the jazz-fusion group Yellowjackets performing at Jazz at the Bistro from Wednesday, September 25 through Saturday, September 28.

Yellowjackets have appeared at the Bistro several times during the past decade, most recently in April 2011, but this will be their first St. Louis gig with new bassist Felix Pastorius, who first subbed for founding member Jimmy Haslip on tour last year and subsequently was named his permanent replacement.

That leaves keyboardist Russell Ferrante as the group's only remaining original member, along with saxophonist Bob Mintzer (who came on board in 1991) and drummer Will Kennedy (who played with them from 1987 to 1999 and rejoined the band in 2010).

The new Yellowjackets lineup (pictured) also has a new album, A Rise In The Road, scheduled for release in June on Mack Avenue Records. Their second for the label, the album marks Pastorius' recorded debut with the band and also features a guest appearance on three tracks by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.

As always, listings on Pollstar should be considered unconfirmed until officially announced by the presenter or venue, but given that these dates also are already listed on the Yellowjackets website, they seem like an almost-sure bet to happen.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival 2013

This week, let's take a brief look at some of the musicians who will be coming to St. Louis this month for the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, which takes place Thursday, April 18 through Saturday, April 20 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center and Jazz at the Bistro.

Student jazz bands from around the area will take part in workshops and adjudications during the three days of the event at the University of Missouri St. Louis, but for the general public, the action begins on Thursday night when clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen and drummer Matt Wilson team up for a performance at the Bistro.

Then on Friday night, the Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary All-Stars will perform at the Touhill. An all-star sextet assembled specifically for this tour, the group features singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, bassist Christian McBride, pianist Benny Green, drummer Lewis Nash, saxophonist Chris Potter, and trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire. The GSLJF then concludes on Saturday at the Touhill with a performance by the Doc Severinsen Big Band.

Up above, you can see Cohen playing her composition "Anat's Dance" at a gig last June in Washington, DC, backed by pianist Jason Lindner, bassist Joe Martin, and drummer Daniel Freedman. For more about Cohen and additional videos of her performing, check out this post that preceded her headlining gig at the Bistro in  February of last year.

As has been the case for the past several years, the GSLJF's Thursday night show will feature a combination of musicians who usually don't work together - in this case, Cohen and drummer Matt Wilson, who's played in St. Louis with his band Arts & Crafts several times in recent years. Down below, you can see Arts & Crafts performing Wilson's tune "Bubbles," in a video shot last year at NYC's Tribeca Arts Center. Along with Wilson, that's Terell Stafford on trumpet, Gary Versace on keyboards and Martin Wind on bass.

A couple of the members of Monterey Jazz Festival all-star band also have played here recently with their own groups, and were featured at that time in a video post here. You can see clips of Chris Potter in this post from last December and this one from February 2011, and videos of Christian McBride in posts from 2009 and 2010.

As for the rest of the ensemble, in the next embed window down below you can see trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, performing last year with his band at the Jazz Standard in NYC. Below that, there's a clip of Dee Dee Bridgewater and Benny Green, whipping up a duet on "All Blues" earlier this year while visiting the studios of radio station WPLU in Tacoma, WA.

The final two clips feature Doc Severinsen, who gained national fame as the longtime bandleader for NBC's Tonight Show during Johnny Carson's tenure as host, and remains remarkably active today at age 85. In addition to performing with his big band and the small group San Miguel Five, Severinsen continues to do educational events and make guest appearances similar to the one depicted in today's fifth clip, which shows him performing "The September Song" with the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble just last year at the National Trumpet Competition at George Mason University.

Contrast that with the sixth clip, a vintage Severinsen performance of "Blues In The Night" and "Sunday Morning" recorded way back in 1965 for a local charity telethon in Louisville, Kentucky. While Severinsen's tone and range might not be quite what they were nearly 50 years ago, it's impressive and inspiring to see the degree to which he's been able to maintain his skills at an age when most brass musicians have long since retired.

Severinsen's big band draws on material from his recording career, famous standards, and the book of arrangements used by the Tonight Show band, and features some top-drawer players from the West Coast, including the great tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts. Although there no doubt will be some familiar favorites in the set list, Severinsen's remarks at the start of the clip from 2012 would suggest that he's not content just to relive the past.

Friday, April 05, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The April episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz, featuring interviews with and performance footage of the Montez Coleman-Willie Akins group, premiered on the cable network last night and now can be viewed online.

Meanwhile, HEC-TV gave a much-appreciated shout-out to StLJN in a blog post this week offering suggestions on "10 Ways to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in St. Louis."

* Speaking of Jazz Appreciation Month, Jazz St. Louis will present their second annual International Jazz Day jam session at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 30 at Jazz at the Bistro. Pianist Adaron “Pops” Jackson’s trio will serve as hosts. Musicians wishing to participate are encouraged to sign up beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Bistro. Admission is free for musicians and patrons, but seating is limited.

* JSL also has posted to Facebook a photo album of this week's educational residency by Jon Faddis, Terell Stafford, and Sean Jones. The trio of trumpeters will perform tonight and Saturday night at the Bistro.

* And lastly for this week from Jazz St. Louis, auditions for the 2013-14 JazzU program for middle school and high school musicians will be held June 3 through June 6 at the Centene Center for Arts and Education, 3547 Olive St. in Grand Center. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, May 3. For all the details, visit the JSL website

* While we're on the subject of jazz education, pianist Peter Martin will conduct a master class next Friday, April 12 at the Sheldon Concert Hall for jazz students from three area high schools. Martin will work with young musicians from University City High School, led by Stanley Coleman; St. Charles West High School, taught by by Ben Meyer; and East St. Louis High School, under the direction of Delano Redmond.

* KWMU's Jazz Unlimited will begin airing host Dennis Owsley's updated documentary on the history of St. Louis jazz at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday, April 7. The series will run for eight weeks, and features music and exclusive interviews gathered by Owsley over the past 30 years.

Sunday's first installment focuses on "The Ragtime Era and The Roaring Twenties," and includes music from Tom Turpin, Scott Joplin, Charles Creath, Dewey Jackson, and more, plus interviews with St. Louis historian Judge Nathan Young, ragtime expert Trebor Jay Tichenor, tuba player Singleton Palmer, bandleader Eddie Johnson, trumpeters Clark Terry and David Hines, and Charles Creath IV, great-grandson of Charles Creath.

* After being elected this week to Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame, legendary trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry also is featured in Jazz Times magazine, reminiscing about his friend, the late tenor saxophonist Red Holloway.

* The New York Times' Ben Ratliff reviewed an NYC gig by the Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary All-Stars. The group will be in St. Louis to perform as part of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival on Friday, April 19 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

* Rob Endicott, trumpeter for the Voodoo Blues Band, attorney, and board member of the National Blues Museum, was the subject of a profile in his hometown paper, the Carmi (IL) Times.

* HD radio station Hip 96.3 HD-3 has posted to their Facebook page an album of photos from last Friday's "Autumn Hill Jazz Festival" at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

* Singer Miss Jubilee was featured this week in a news story on local NBC affiliate KSDK.

* Saxophonist and St. Louis native David Sanborn (pictured) and keyboardist Bob James will release Quartette Humaine, their first collaborative effort for the revived OKeh label, on Tuesday, May 21. The all-acoustic album, which also features drummer Steve Gadd and bassist James Genus, is Sanborn and James' first new recording together since 1986’s Double Vision. It will pay tribute to the late pianist Dave Brubeck and his frequent musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Sanborn and James also will be touring together this year, with 37 dates between June and November in the USA, Europe and Japan (but nothing in St. Louis) announced so far.

* Entertainment Cruise Productions, LLC of St. Louis has announced the lineup for The Jazz Cruise 2014, which will take place aboard the Holland America MS Eurodam from January 26 to February 2, 2014.

First-time participants will include Manhattan Transfer, Poncho Sanchez, Cedar Walton, Dick Hyman and Gregory Porter. Returning performers include Randy Brecker, Ann Hampton Callaway, Bill Charlap, Clayton Brothers, Freddy Cole, Kurt Elling, Nnenna Freelon, Wycliffe Gordon, Tommy Igoe, Lewis Nash, Houston Person, John Pizzarelli, Arturo Sandoval, Shelly Berg, John Fedchock, and Ken Peplowski. Cabins start at $1725 per person and can be booked now online or by phone at 888-852-9987.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Clark Terry elected to Jazz Hall of Fame

Thanks in part to the enthusiastic support of hometown fans, trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry (pictured) will be one of three 2013 inductees into Jazz at Lincoln Center's Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.

JALC announced today that Terry, drummer Art Blakey, and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton got the majority of votes cast online during the month of March by jazz fans around the world.

Terry - who's 92 and no longer performs due to health issues, though he's still teaching - will be only the third jazz musician, along with Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, to be inducted into the hall while still living. Here in Terry's hometown, StLJN stumped hard for votes for the much-loved trumpeter, encouraging fans to cast their ballots in a couple of blog posts and on Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, something must have worked, and thanks are due to all you StLJN readers who voted, and to everyone - including Vintage Vinyl; the Jazz St. Louis organization; radio personalities John Carney and Jason Church; publicist and producer Maddie Dames; and many others - who publicly supported the cause and urged others to vote. 

The three new inductees will be honored in a ceremony on Tuesday, June 4 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, the jazz club operated by JALC. If you can't be in Manhattan for the festivities, you can watch a live webcast of the event via JALC Live.

(Edited after posting to add the names of more supporters.)