Saturday, June 29, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
David Sanborn & Bob James
team up again for Quartette Humaine

With a paucity of touring jazz musicians coming to St. Louis for the next couple of weeks, and thus no upcoming shows to preview in this space, this seems like an opportune time to take a closer look at Quartette Humaine, the latest album from saxophonist and St. Louis native David Sanborn.

The collaborative effort with keyboardist Bob James (who grew up in the northwest Missouri town of Marshall) is the first time the two have recorded together since their multi-platinum-selling 1986 album Double Vision, and also features James Genus on bass and Steve Gadd on drums.

Interestingly, the series of live dates underway right now is the first time Sanborn and James have toured together. Given that, plus the fact that the tour only has been going on for a couple of weeks, there's not a huge amount of video documentation online of their collaboration. Nevertheless, we've managed to find a few clips that should provide a taste of Quartette Humaine and the live shows supporting it.

The first clip up above is a music video for "Deep In The Weeds," recorded in the studio during sessions for the album. Down below is a "making of" promotional video includes some of the same track along with comments from Sanborn and James.

Below that, we've got two clips recorded earlier this year during the Smooth Jazz Cruise, in which bassist Marcus Miller hosts a discussion with James and Sanborn.

In the number five slot, there's a live version of James' instantly recognizable tune "Westchester Lady," recorded just last week by an audience member at a show in Orlando, FL. While there are some issues with the clip - the video quality is what you'd expect from a consumer-level, hand-held camera, and the audio mix loses a lot of Genus' bass - it's just about the only live recording of the group playing a full-length song that seems to have surfaced so far.

The final video is an outtake from Sanborn and James' recent appearance on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and shows them playing James' tune "Nautilus" with the show's house band The Roots.

You can hear short excerpts of all the tunes on Quartette Humaine at the SoundCloud page set up for the album by OKeh Records. The album also has been reviewed by, among others, Blogcritics' Jack Goodstein;'s Dan Bilewsky; and Something Else's Nick DeRiso.

Will the Sanborn and James tour come to St. Louis? Nothing's scheduled right now, but given that both men have a connection to the state, a swing through Missouri certainly would seem to be a logical step.

So could a proposed Sanborn-fronted jazz festival in St. Louis - a concept teased in one newspaper story last year, but unmentioned since then - serve as a vehicle for their show? In the linked story, the festival was proposed for September, 2013; the schedule for the Sanborn/James tour currently shows no gigs at all, and therefore no conflicts, for that entire month. But if a Sanborn festival in St. Louis actually is going to happen around then, organizers would need some lead time to promote it, which in turn suggests that an announcement would have to be forthcoming quite soon. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 28, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Saxophonist David Sanborn and keyboardist Bob James are out on tour in support of their new album Quartette Humaine. Here's a review of their show at the Ottawa Jazz Festival from the Ottawa Citizen's Peter Hum.

* Saxophonist Oliver Lake's new big band album Wheels was reviewed by Jazz Times magazine's Mike Shanley. Lake is in California for the next couple of weeks, playing solo Saturday in Healdsburg; with the Airstrike Quartet on Monday in Sacramento; and next weekend doing four different programs, including a duo show with Roscoe Mitchell, in Oakland.

* More reviews of Opera Theatre of St. Louis' world premiere production of Terence Blanchard's opera Champion, from the New York Times' Vivien Schweitzer and KDHX's Chuck Lavazzi, plus another interview with Blanchard from BusinessWeek.

* Is actor Don Cheadle re-thinking the casting for his long-awaited Hollywood movie biography of trumpeter Miles Davis (pictured)? Jeff Hyatt of Miles Davis Online dissects the latest developments here.

* Synthesist Joe Raglani's track "Start Over" was featured on the indie music website Tiny Mix Tapes.

* The Muny pit orchestra was the subject of a feature story this week on local NBC affiliate KSDK, while Fox affiliate KTVI turned its lenses on the eclectic chamber ensemble The 442s.

* Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran is profiled in the latest issue of St. Louis magazine.

* New photo albums online this week include pics from New Music Circle's presentation for last Satuday's Open Studios STL event; Wack-A-Doo's performance at Strauss Park for the StL Fringe Fest; and from KDHX, this past Sunday's performance by Bonerama at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

* Webster University is looking for a few more participants - especially bassists, drummers and trombonists - for its summer jazz camp, held the week of July 8 - 12 on the Webster campus. Taught by members of the Webster jazz faculty, the camp is open to players of all experience levels from high school age to adult, and focuses on improvisation in a small combo setting. Sessions run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day, and the cost for the week is $235. For details, see the Webster U department of music website.

* This week in local jazz radio: On this Saturday's edition of "Somethin' Else," Calvin Wilson will focus on selections from the Great American Songbook (syncing up thematically with Erin Bode's shows this weekend at Jazz at the Bistro). The program begins on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis at 8:00 p.m., and can be heard over the air at 107.3 FM and 96.3 HD-2, or online at

Then on Sunday's "Jazz Unlimited" on KWMU (90.7 FM), host Dennis Owsley will be spinning selections from "Jazz Giants" including Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Joe “King” Oliver, Fats Waller, Benny Goodman, Miles Davis, Shelly Manne, Freddie Redd, Betty Carter, Woody Herman, Eric Dolphy, Chick Corea, Bud Shank, Bill Holman, Betty Carter and Sun Ra. If you're outside the broadcast area, catch the stream online at

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jazz this week: Mike Dillon Band, Erin Bode sings standards, Phil Dunlap Quintet with Nicholas Payton, and more

Though many touring jazz stars are busy playing the festival circuit this month, there's still plenty of live jazz and creative music this weekend in St. Louis. Here's what's coming up over the next few days...

Tonight, the Mike Dillon Band returns to perform at The Demo. Led by percussionist Mike Dillon (pictured), the MDB were here last in February, opening for Umphrey's McGee at The Pageant. They mix up jazz, funk, rock and punk in an energetic and entertaining way, and you can check out some samples of them on video in this post from a couple of weeks ago.

Also tonight, guitarists Eric Slaughter and Tom Byrne play at the Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood; the Tavern of Fine Arts features live improvised music for its monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night"; and and saxophonist Tim Cunningham plays a free outdoor concert at Bluebird Park in Ellisville.

On Friday, singer Erin Bode returns to her musical roots as a student in the jazz program at Webster University, opening a two-night engagement at Jazz at the Bistro during which she'll revisit material from the "Great American Songbook." Though Bode performs mostly original songs these days, those who remember her early gigs here know that she's a capable interpreter of standards, too.

Elsewhere on Friday, saxophonist Michael Anthony Fitzgerald performs at Jazz on Broadway, Second Generation Swing takes the stage at the Casa Loma Ballroom; and guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio will play a mini-concert at a rather unusual venue, the Clayton cafe and spa Sip Salon. There's also another free outdoor show of interest on Friday, as trumpeter Jim Manley performs before a screening of The Big Chill for the Old Orchard Gazebo Music and Movie series in Webster Groves. 

Saturday brings a couple of very different grand openings  - one on the Hill, the other on Art Hill - with jazz accompaniment. First up, in the afternoon singer Tony Viviano and band will perform to celebrate the new outdoor cafe at J. Viviano & Sons grocery and deli, located in the heart of South St. Louis' famed Italian neighborhood.

Then a few hours later and just a couple of miles away in Forest Park, pianist and Jazz St. Louis director of education Phil Dunlap will debut a new quintet at the long-awaited grand opening of the new wing of the St. Louis Art Museum. Dunlap's quintet, with drummer Montez Coleman, bassist Jahmal Nichols, saxophonist Ben Reece and trumpeter Danny Campbell, will be augmented for the occasion by special guests including trumpeter Nicholas Payton, saxophonist Willie Akins and singer Brian Owens.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Larry Brown Jr. is back home from Chicago to lead his group at Robbie's House of Jazz; singer Feyza Eren is at Thurman Grill; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes perform at the Wine Press; and singer Jerome Elliott presents his cabaret show "My Favorite Springs" at The Chapel.

On Sunday, trumpeter/singer Dawn Weber and multi-instrumentalist Lamar Harris (in his alternate identity as "DJ Nune") will supply the sounds for Sauce Magazine's annual "Saucy Soiree" at the Four Seasons Hotel; and singer and pianist Jesse Gannon will promote the release of his new CD with a show at The Gramophone.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Compiling a list of St. Louis jazz
musicians and venues on Twitter

When yr. humble editor first set up the StLJN Twitter account a couple of years ago, I also put together a list of St. Louis jazz musicians, venues and others of interest who had accounts on Twitter. At the time, there weren't a whole lot of local users to put on the list, but since then, the use of Twitter, both in general and here locally, has grown exponentially.

So, the plan now is to revisit, revise and update that St. Louis jazz Twitter list, adding as many local musicians (and expats), venues, and any other accounts that seem to fit, in hopes of making it something that might actually be useful for getting an overview of St. Louis jazz via Twitter.

If you're a musician, presenter, venue, provider of products and services to musicians, or someone else who'd like to be included, let me know the URL of your Twitter account, and I'll add it to the list. You can send your information by:

* Tweeting it directly to @StLJazzNotes
* Commenting on this post, or on the link to it over at StLJN's Facebook page
* Email it to stljazznotes at yahoo dot com

When the updates are complete, I'll put up another post with a link to the revised list.

Recently on Heliocentric Worlds

As regular readers know, around here we like to slip in the occasional gratuitous plug for StLJN's sibling site Heliocentric Worlds, which features a daily online music video from the greats of jazz, blues, soul, funk, classic rock, prog rock and/or experimental music.

What sort of musicians are featured? This month, posts have included live performance clips from Jimmy McGriff, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Jack Bruce & Friends, King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree, the Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Miles Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Sun Ra Arkestra, Hank Jones, Sarah Vaughan, Reuben Wilson, Ginger Baker's Air Force, Herbie Hancock & Mwandishi, Groove Collective, Solomon Burke, Frank Zappa, Arthur Blythe, Albert King, Lou Donaldson, Johnny Taylor, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Clark Terry, Fats Domino, and Gateway, featuring Jack DeJohnnette, Dave Holland and John Abercrombie.

In addition to these, there are a couple thousand more carefully curated clips in the archives, which you can investigae either by artist or chronologically. Add it all up, and it's like a video "College of Musical Knowledge," accessible to any and all who care to visit

Saturday, June 22, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Six from Sonny Rollins

Since his continuing health issues forced the great saxophonist Sonny Rollins to cancel his concert originally scheduled for tonight at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, it seems fitting to use today's video showcase to pay tribute to the man who's been called "the world's greatest living tenor saxophonist," "the heavyweight champion of the tenor sax," and many similar complimentary names.

Of course, no video of Rollins truly can substitute for the real thing, so let's just call this a sort of "get well" card, expressing our hope for a fast and full recovery and serving as a reminder of Rollins' continued greatness.

Longtime readers may remember that he's been featured in this space twice before, in 2007 and 2009. One of those clips from that little-seen 2007 post is so compelling as to warrant another look, and so we've chosen it to kick off today's festivities.

It's an excerpt from the Robert Muegge film Saxophone Colossus, and features Rollins and his mid-1980s band (trombonist Clifton Anderson, bassist Bob Cranshaw, pianist Mark Soskin, and a very young-looking Marvin "Smitty" Smith) at an outdoor show in Saugerties, NY. The tune is Rollins' "G-Man," which in this case consists of nearly 14 minutes worth of jaw-dropping soloing from the leader. It's as good an example of Rollins' unflagging energy, inventiveness and pure audacity at mid-career as you're likely to find.

Let's fast-forward a few years for the next two clips, which are extended versions of "Long Ago and Far Away" and "Tennessee Waltz" recorded in May, 1992 at the Philharmonie im Gasteig in München, Germany, featuring Rollins, Anderson, Soskin, Cranshaw, guitarist Jerome Harris and drummer Yoron Israel.

Below that is an excerpt from a 2006 show in California, featuring Rollins and band as shot by his friend and associate Bret Primack, aka the Jazz Video Guy, who has lots more Rollins- and jazz-related material on his YouTube channel.

We close out with two vintage B&W clips showing Rollins in an intimate trio setting. Recorded in 1965 in Denmark, "There Will Never Be Another You" features Rollins swinging with drummer Alan Dawson and bassist Niels Henning Orsted-Pedersen, while "Love Letters" from all the way back in 1959 shows him in ballad mode, aided and abetted by bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Joe Harris.

Friday, June 21, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The New Orleans Times-Picayune says that pianist and former St. Louisan Tom McDermott (pictured) will release an anthology of tracks from his back catalog curated by famed arranger/producer and performer Van Dyke Parks. Keyboard magazine has more on the story here.

* New Music Circle was recognized as best "Cutting Edge Arts Organization" in St. Louis' magazine's annual "A-List" issue, which is out this week.

* Reviews of trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard's opera Champion, which had its world premiere last Saturday at Opera Theatre St. Louis, are in from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller; former P-D columnist Harper Barnes, now writing for the St. Louis Beacon; and Denver Post classical music critic Ray Mark Rinaldi.

* Speaking of reviews, here's one by's Dan Bilawsky of Quartette Humaine, the new album from St. Louis native David Sanborn and keyboardist Bob James.

* The Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted on Facebook a photo album from their most recent show at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

* Two St. Louis music-related businesses have gotten some recent national attention, as Mel Bay Publishing won several 2013 Paul Revere Awards for Graphic Excellence from the Music Publishers Association, while Logic Systems Sound & Lighting was featured in the trade publication Lighting and Sound America.

* This week in jazz radio: If you still can't get enough of Terence Blanchard and Champion, Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's program "Somethin' Else," airing at 8:00 p.m. on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, features an interview with the trumpeter, plus music from his new Blue Note album Magnetic.

Right after that at 9:00 p.m., Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will have sounds from the great female vocalists of jazz - i.e. "Ella, Sarah, Billie, Nina" - in the first hour, with music in hour two from the Carolbeth True Trio, Commonwealth, Brian Owens, Jason Swagler, Brian Vaccaro Trio, Christopher Braig, Bela Fleck, Fourplay and Richard Boulger. You can hear both programs over the air at 107.3 FM and 96.3 HD-2, or online at

Elsewhere on the radio dial, having finally completed the 10-week-long, updated version of his radio history of St. Louis jazz, Dennis Owsley will be back to regular programming on this Sunday's "Jazz Unlimited", airing at 9:00 p.m. on KWMU (90.7 FM). This week will have "new music featuring a duet between Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan, Ben Sidran, Joey Calderazzo, Monty Alexander, Keith Jarrett, Jaleel Shaw, the Jim Widner Big Band and a five part Suite called "Hagar’s Song" by Charles Lloyd and Jason Moran."

* Turning to what might be called "Crowd-Funding Corner," bassist Willem von Hombracht is in the final days of a campaign on Indie-A-Go-Go to raise money for the International Jazz Academy, which sends jazz musicians from the USA and elsewhere to work with music students in Eastern Europe; and guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran is using the same service to raise the cash needed to press the next CD from his band Guerilla Swing.

* Finally, here's a new promotional video from Wack-A-Doo for their song "The Black Bear Bounce," featuring, among other things:  the local bakery of the same name; a lot of local outdoor art; and a guy in a bear costume dancing and riding a unicycle. While film buffs might quibble that the shot selection gets a little repetitive after a while, overall it's a fun and imaginative way to promote a piece of instrumental music, setting an example that other local bands might do well to emulate.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jazz this week: Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bonerama, "88 Squared," and more

For a lot of St. Louis jazz fans, there's a hole in this weekend approximately the size and shape of tenor saxophone giant Sonny Rollins, who, up until a couple of weeks ago, had been scheduled to play this Saturday night at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Unfortunately, Rollins' continuing health issues forced him to cancel the show here, along with the rest of his summer schedule. Fortunately, there are lots of other jazz and creative music events on tap over the next few days, and while none of them are Sonny Rollins, there's still some good stuff in the offing. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the second-ever STL Fringe Fest begins, with a variety of events at venues along Locust St., just to the east of the Grand Center district. Though it's oriented mostly toward theater and performance, the Fest once again will include some events that may be of interest to jazz fans, including tonight's set by singer Christy Strickland and the Randy Holmes Quartet at Satori and "Hey, Minnie the Moocher: A Musical Tribute to Cotton Club Swing Jazz Legends," the title of which seems self-explanatory.

(Both productions will be repeated at various times over the weekend, and interested listeners should note that admission requires both a Fringe Fest wristband and a separate ticket for the specific performance you want to see; consult the Fest's website for details.)

Tomorrow night, pianists Adaron "Pops" Jackson of Good 4 the Soul and Phil Dunlap, Jazz St. Louis' director of education, will team up for "88 Squared" at Jazz at the Bistro. The one-off performance will feature the two keyboardists playing together, backed by bassist Jahmal Nichols and drummer Marty Morrison.

Also on Friday, singer Joe Mancuso and his quartet will revisit a concept that dates back to the Beat era, as they'll perform at Robbie's House of Jazz while artist Vesna Delevska paints "live" in accompaniment. That same evening, pianist Ptah Williams, drummer Montez Coleman and bassist Darrell Mixon will play at Cigar Inn; and singer Ann Dueren and her trio will be at Il Bel Lago.

On Saturday, New Music Circle will be taking part in Open Studios STL, presenting what's being called "a group sound environment" at the William A Kerr Foundation building on Laclede's Landing. (The free, all-day Open Studios event, organized by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, is designed to encourage visitors to artists' studios throughout the area.)

Musicians playing as part of NMC's presentation will include Tracy Andreotti (cello), Joseph Raglani (modular synthesizer), John Tamm-Buckle (computer), Michael Williams (electronics), Connie Su (electronics), Ajay Khanna (guitar/computer), Nathan Cook (electronics), Laura Dempsey (electronics), Fred Tompkins (flute), Dave Stone (saxophone), Henry Claude (percussion), Gwenyth Merner (theremin/electronics), and Patrick Boland (percussion).

There also will be an Open Studios "after party" Saturday night at 2720 Cherokee with music from funky organ trio Downstereo and Moon Hooch, a group of former NYC subway buskers made up of two saxophonists and a drummer.

Elsewhere on Saturday, pianist Matt Villinger leads a trio at Robbie's, while Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes hold forth around the block at C.J. Muggs.

On Sunday, there's a double-header of music from two well-known New Orleans bands, starting with a 2:00 p.m. matinee from the "brass funk rock" ensemble Bonerama at Broadway Oyster Bar. Bonerama's show originally was scheduled for Sunday evening, but got moved to the afternoon, presumably to minimize conflict with the performance by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (pictured) on Sunday evening at Off Broadway.

Both bands have played here numerous times in recent years, but if you'd like to sample some of their music, you can see some videos that will give you a taste of both in this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also on Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will play their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. UPDATE - 6/21/13, 10:20 a.m: Notwithstanding that the gig still is listed on the venue's website as of this writing, Dickey has just told StLJN that the band is taking this month off and will return in July.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday guitarist Denny Jiosa will be in town to present a free workshop at Mozingo Music, and "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Phil Dunlap Quintet to debut Saturday, June 29 at SLAM, with Nicholas Payton as special guest

As director of education for Jazz St. Louis, Phil Dunlap certainly gets ample opportunities to use his piano chops during the regular working week. However, the SIUE alumnus also does a fair amount of playing on the side, doing casual gigs and leading both a trio and the Legacy Jazz Quintet, a group that draws on the repertoire of well-known jazz composers for gigs at Jazz at the Bistro and elsewhere.

Now Dunlap (pictured, top left) is launching a new jazz quintet, which will make its debut in a special performance at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29 for the grand opening of the new wing of the St. Louis Art Museum.

The lineup of Dunlap's new quintet includes drummer Montez Coleman, bassist Jahmal Nichols, saxophonist Ben Reece and trumpeter Danny Campbell. They'll be joined for the performance at SLAM by several special guests, including the well-known New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton (pictured, lower left), who played here last season at the Bistro, plus fellow St. Louisans Willie Akins on tenor sax and Brian Owens on vocals.

Given Dunlap's fondness for the hard-bop sound, "we will definitely include some (music) from that era, including some Blue Mitchell and Chick Corea tunes from the 50s," he told StLJN. "The set will also include some original compositions, written specifically for this ensemble."

The Phil Dunlap Quintet concert with Nicholas Payton at the St. Louis Art Museum is free and open to the public. (Fans and friends also should note that Dunlap also will be performing this Friday at the Bistro, teaming with pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson of Good 4 The Soul for "88 Squared," a rare two-keyboard effort backed by Nichols and drummer Marty Morrison.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Artist, location selected for
Miles Davis statue in Alton

According to a story published in yesterday's Alton Telegraph, artist and sculptor Preston Jackson has been selected to create a statue of Miles Davis for display in the town where the legendary trumpeter was born.

Jackson, who grew up in Decatur and now lives in Peoria, has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and created numerous works of public art in Illinois and elsewhere. His statue of Davis will be placed in front of the Lauschke Building at 117 W. Third St. in downtown Alton. (Davis was born in Alton in 1926; the family moved to East St. Louis the following year.)

The Miles Davis Memorial Project plans to share Jackson's renderings of the sculpture at the annual "Alton Block Party" on July 20, with the artist on hand to answer questions. Committee members have said they hope the statue will be completed in time for unveiling on May 26, 2014, in celebration of Davis' birthday.

Fund-raising efforts to pay for the work are ongoing. Donations can be made to the Miles Davis Memorial Project c/o Pride Inc., Alden Hall, 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, IL 62035.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Jazz at Holmes series announces
dates of free summer concerts

The Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University has announced a summer schedule of three free concerts during the month of July.

The summer series starts on Thursday, July 11 with a performance by singer Feyza Eren and her band.

Next up, trumpeter Erik Jekabson (pictured), who's from San Francisco, will play with a quartet of local St. Louis musicians on Thursday, July 18. Drummer Maurice Carnes and his group will close out the summer series on Thursday, July 25.

All concerts are free and open to the public, and begin at 8:00 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, Ridgley Hall, located on Washington University’s campus at the west end of the Brookings Quadrangle, near the intersection of Brookings and Hoyt drives.

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Ride the "Lunatic Express" with Mike Dillon

This week, let's check out some videos of the Mike Dillon Band, who will be in St. Louis to play on Thursday, June 27 at The Demo.

The group features Dillon on vibraphone, percussion and vocals, Carly Meyers on trombone and bass pedals, Cliff Hines on guitar, bass and keyboards, and Adam Gertner on drums. They played here most recently back in February, when they opened for Umphrey's McGee at The Pageant.

Dillon, a prolific collaborator and relentless live performer, also has played St. Louis in recent years with both Garage A Trois and The Dead Kenny Gs, and the MDB shares to an certain extent what might be called the "punk/jazz" sensibility of those two bands.

All three are high-energy, generally high-volume ensembles that rely most on driving, danceable rhythms with occasional quiet interludes and/or bursts of odd time signatures. In addition, given the MDB's trombone and mallet percussion; frequent use of fast, angular unison melodies; and penchant for cryptic or tongue-in-cheek song titles, some listeners of a certain age might be tempted to use the adjective "Zappaesque" to describe their music.

That impression is further reinforced visually by Meyers, whose interpretive-dance stage moves seem like they'd fit right in next to those of famously rubber-legged former FZ sideman Napoleon Murphy Brock and Zappa Plays Zappa keyboardist/saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez.

Though Dillon has recorded extensively with a number of different bands, his 2012 solo album Um seems to be the source of much of the MDB's current live repertoire. And while comparisons can be useful as shorthand or a starting point, there's really no substitute for actually hearing the music. So, let's get to that...

The first video up above is of a tune called "Hafta" and was recorded right here in St. Louis in the studios of KDHX (88.1 FM) during Dillon's last visit here in February.

Down below are two songs, "DVS" and "Ding Dong (The Party's Over)," recorded in September 2012 at Mezo's Juke Joint in Ocean Springs, MS. Below that is a version of "Lunatic Express" captured in May of last year at Keg Lounge in Orange Beach, AL.

The fifth clip, date and place of origin unknown, features a tune called "Harris County." The sixth video is of a tune called "Omar," recorded at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans, with New Orleans native (and Dillon's fellow Garage A Trois member) Stanton Moore sitting in for Gertner on drums.

You can hear more audio of the Mike Dillon Band recorded during their visit to KDHX here. For more about Dillon, check out this 2011 interview with Drum magazine.

(Edited 6/17/13 to correct a typo.)

Friday, June 14, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Congratulations to Richard McDonnell and Clayton McDonnell, as their St. Louis based independent jazz label MAXJAZZ last weekend celebrated the 14th anniversary of its very first release. You can see the catalog of all the music they've put out over the years at

* Saxophonist and St. Louis native David Sanborn has put his NYC home up for sale with an asking price of a cool $12 million. Once the pad sells, Sanborn plans to split time between a house in the country and a smaller, yet-to-be-purchased city home. He currently is touring with keyboardist Bob James in support of Quartette Humaine, their new album on the OKeh label.

* The recent induction of trumpeter Clark Terry, Art Blakey and Lionel Hampton to Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame is the subject of a feature story at the website

* Modern Luxury magazine speculates that, before a certain beer company appropriated the title for their commercial spokesman, the "most interesting man in the world" was none other than trumpeter Miles Davis.

* Trumpeter Terence Blanchard's Champion, opening tonight at Opera Theatre St. Louis, is the the subject of an Associated Press story by Charles Gans.

* Speaking of Blanchard, next Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" program on Radio Arts Foundation will focus on the trumpeter's jazz recordings and includes an interview with him. First, though, this Saturday Wilson will present the second half of his feature on Sonny Rollins (who was scheduled to play in St Louis next weekend but had to cancel for health reasons). To listen, tune in at 8:00 p.m. at 107.3 FM, on HD radio at 96.3 HD2 or listen online at

* Meanwhile, Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" broadcast at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday on KWMU (90.7 FM) will feature tributes to the late Mulgrew Miller and the late Ed Shaughnessy, plus new music from Dave Douglas, Gerald Clayton, Lionel Loueke, Freddy Cole, Ian Dogole, the Bad Plus, Jack DeJohnette, Grant Green, John and Ravi Coltrane and Charles Lloyd, plus St. Louisans Keith Moyer, James “Jabbo” Ware and the Jim Widner Big Band. You can listen over the air or online at

*The Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival has announced the lineup for this year's event, which will take place from noon to 10:00 p.m. Saturday, September 21. Two stages in the Old Webster Business District (on Lockwood between Gore and Allen) will feature music from Scott Air Force Band, Marquise Knox, Miss Jubilee, Webster University Jazz Ensemble, David Dee & The Hot Tracks Band, the Willie Akins/Montez Coleman Group, Sarah Jane & The Blue Notes (pictured), the Webster Groves High School Jazz Band, and the Javier Mendoza Latin Jazz Experience.

Once again this year, the opener on the Allen Ave. stage will be a musical act selected as the winner of the “Webster’s Got Talent” contest. To enter, download the application form as either a Word .doc or .pdf, and submit it with .mp3 audio files (limit of two) to

* Friends and fans of Jazz St. Louis are invited to a party previewing the organization's 2013-14 season at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 26 at Jazz at the Bistro. The event will be hosted by executive director Gene Dobbs Bradford and artistic director Bob Bennett, who will offer "an entertaining, behind-the-scenes look...complete with a multi-media presentation and Q&A with the audience." Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine, and beverages will be served, and a cash bar also will be available. If you'd like to attend, RSVP no later than June 21 by calling 314-289-4034 or sending an email to

Edited after posting to correct the info on the next two weeks' "Somethin' Else" programs.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jazz this week: Terence Blanchard, Willie Akins & Montez Coleman, Chesterfield Jazz Festival, Voicehandler, and more

Though it's not officially summer for another week or so, the steamy weather associated with that season in St. Louis is already here. Fortunately, there's a variety of jazz and creative music events on tap over the next few days, both indoors and out, to help you cool out and beat the heat.

Tonight, trumpeter, composer and New Orleans native Terence Blanchard continues his time in the local spotlight, as he and his quintet will play their second free outdoor concert of the week, taking the stage at St. Louis Place Park as part of the Whitaker Urban Evenings series. (Blanchard's opera Champion gets its world premiere this week at Opera Theatre St. Louis - more about that below - and you can see some videos of him and the quintet in action in this post.)

Also tonight, Good 4 The Soul plays at BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, and singer Joe Mancuso's quartet will be at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

On Friday, the Willie Akins/Montez Coleman Group will perform for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro, where the veteran saxophonist (pictured) and his percussionist partner likely will be drawing on at least some of the hard-bop-influenced material from their recent CD St. Louis Connection.

Also on Friday, Herman Semidey and his Orquestra Son Montuno bring their Latin sound to Robbie's House of Jazz; trumpeter Delano Redmond leads a quartet at Cigar Inn; and saxophonist Paul Taylor will be taking part in a workshop and meet-and greet at Mozingo Music.

Taylor will be in town to perform as one of the headliners at the Chesterfield Jazz Festival on Saturday. The day-long event takes place at Chesterfield Amphitheatre, just off Highway 40 near Chesterfield Mall, and also will include music from keyboardist David Benoit; singer Jeanne Trevor; saxophonist Freddie Washington, leading a tribute to John Coltrane; and Bach to the Future, the band fronted by keyboardist and festival organizer Mike Silverman.

Also on Saturday afternoon, Tim Zavadil, clarinetist and bass clarinetist with the Minnesota Orchestra, will present a free clinic and master class at Saxquest.

Then on Saturday evening, Blanchard's Champion, described as "an opera in jazz," will get the first of its six performances this month at Opera Theatre St. Louis. The work, created especially for OTSL with Jazz St. Louis as co-producers, has been the subject of extensive media coverage both in and outside St. Louis, much of which which you can see by reading this post and following the links therein. Most OTSL performances sell out, but you can find out the latest on ticket availability by calling their box office.

Also on Saturday evening, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will be at Venice Cafe, singer Feyza Eren performs at the south side house concert venue KindaBlue; Silk Pajamas play at The Wine Press, and singer Tony Viviano will entertain diners and drinkers at Talayna's.

Then on Sunday, Dizzy Atmosphere plays gypsy jazz and swing at the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday trumpeter Keith Moyer brings his band to BB's. Then on Tuesday, Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center will present a concert of free improv music headlined by Voicehandler, which features musicians Jacob Felix Heule and Danishta Rivero performing on voice, percussion, electronics, and the Hydrophonium (an electroacoustic percussion instrument created by Rivero).

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

St. Louis premiere of Terence Blanchard's opera gets national media attention

Trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard's new opera Champion, which will receive its world premiere performance this Saturday, June 15 at Opera Theatre St. Louis, got some national attention today in an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Jazz Times magazine recently also ran a short item about the premiere, while Opera News had a more extensive piece.

Blanchard also appeared last month on PBS' The Tavis Smiley Show to discuss Champion and his new album on Blue Note records, Magnetic. You can see that interview in the embedded video window below.

Here locally, St. Louis magazine's Stef Russell interviewed Blanchard and librettist Michael Cristofer, and the St. Louis Beacon's Patricia Rice talked with baritone Aubrey Allicock about his role as one of the singers portraying the opera's protagonist, real-life professional boxer Emile Griffith.

Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller filed a preview story about the production; an interview with singer Denyce Graves, who plays Griffith's mother; and a story recapping a roundtable discussion with Allicock and fellow singers Arthur Woodley, who plays the older version of Griffith, and Robert Orth, who portrays Griffith's boxing trainer.

Champion will be performed a total of six times, starting with the premiere on Saturday and continuing through the end of the month. For performance dates and times and ticket information, see the OTSL website.

Blanchard also will play two free outdoor jazz concerts this week in St. Louis, on Wednesday night at the Missouri Botanical Garden and Thursday night at St. Louis Place Park. For more about Blanchard and those concerts, see this post from a couple of Saturday ago.

(Edited after posting.)

Saturday, June 08, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The StL - NOLA connection, revisited

As we've observed before in this space, many New Orleans bands and musicians seem to do well in St. Louis, and so it's no surprise that they keep coming up the Mississippi to play here. Last week's post referenced the upcoming shows here by trumpeter Terence Blanchard, and this week, we've got videos from two more New Orleans bands who will be in St. Louis later this month.

Both the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Bonerama have made regular visits to St. Louis in recent years, but on Sunday, June 23, they'll be here on the same night, as Bonerama will be at the Broadway Oyster Bar while the Dirty Dozen Brass Band performs at Off Broadway.

Since there are some older Bonerama clips contained in the first link up above, and the DDBB has been featured here twice before, in 2009 and 2011, today we'll look at some more recent videos from both bands.

The first clip up above is from the DDBB's performance at Louisiana Music Factory during the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and features the songs "Trippin Inside A Bubble" and "Tomorrow" from the group's 2012 album Twenty Dozen.

You'll find part two of the Louisiana Music Factory performance down below, followed by a stylized B&W video of the Dirty Dozen playing "Unclean Waters" from their 1999 album Buck Jump.

The fourth clip shows Bonerama at Jazz Fest in 2011, opening their show with "Hard Times." That's followed by a heavy-riffing version of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean," featuring what can only be described as some trombone shredding, that was recorded in February of this year in Hollywood, FL.

In the sixth and final clip, Bonerama represents their hometown with an interpretation of the traditional favorite "Indian Red," recorded in 2012 in Worcester, MA.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Sonny Rollins cancels summer concerts including June 22 show at the Touhill

This just in: Saxophonist Sonny Rollins (pictured) has cancelled all his shows for June and July, including a scheduled date on Saturday, June 22 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center here in St. Louis.

Here's the complete text of the news release sent out this morning by Jazz St. Louis:

ST. LOUIS, MO. Citing ongoing health issues, saxophone legend Sonny Rollins has canceled all June and July 2013 shows, including his June 22 St. Louis appearance at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

Jazz St. Louis, presenter for the June 22 date, received the following official statement from Rollins after close of business on Thursday, June 6:

“This past spring, I was dealing with some respiratory issues that necessitated my canceling several concerts. I have been under a doctor’s care, and we were hopeful that I would be able to return to performing in time for my scheduled concerts this month and next. However, I am still not in condition to perform, and regretfully I must cancel these shows.”

All tickets will be refunded by the Touhill Performing Arts Center box office by calling 314-516-4949 or visiting the box office during regular business hours."
While this is, of course, a huge disappointment for St. Louis jazz fans, here's hoping for a fast and full recovery for Rollins.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The June episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz premiered last night on the St. Louis based cable network, featuring an interview with and performance by singer Marlena Shaw (pictured). The program airs at 8:00 p.m. Thursday and Sunday nights - see your TV provider's guide for channel information - and also can be seen online.

* Live at the Sunset, saxophonist Oliver Lake's new album with Trio 3, was reviewed by Jazz Times magazine's David Whiteis.

* In an interview with DownBeat magazine, Sony engineer Mark Wilder explained the process of remastering classic Miles Davis LPs for reissue.

* And on a related note, Davis' album Milestones was discussed by bassist Marcus Miller for a brief "One LP" feature at

* Here are two different photo sets from the Funky Butt Brass Band's show on Wednesday at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

* Champion, the new work by trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard that premieres next week at Opera Theatre St. Louis, is previewed briefly by CultureKiosque.

* The late pianist Mulgrew Miller's St. Louis connections were the subject of a brief article by the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson. Also, NPR this week compiled a tribute to Miller, which can be heard online here. Funeral services for Miller, who died a week ago after suffering a stroke, will be held today near his home in Easton, PA.

* Speaking of Wilson, his radio program "Somethin' Else'" at 8:00 p.m. this Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis will preview Sonny Rollins' concert on June 22 at the Touhill. (UPDATE: Jazz St. Louis this morning announced that Rollins' show was being cancelled due to the saxophonist's health issues. See this post for details.)

Right after that at 9:00 p.m., Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will feature tracks from the musicians playing at next weekend's Chesterfield Jazz Festvial, as well as music from Fourplay, Arturo Sandoval, Chieli Minucci, Nat King Cole, John Klemmer and Lou Donaldson. Both programs can be heard over the air at 107.3 FM, on HD radio at 96.3 HD2 and online at

* Then on Sunday, just a short distance up the radio dial, the "Jazz Unlimited" program on KWMU (90.7 FM) will feature the 10th part of Dennis Owsley's audio documentary history of St. Louis jazz. This final segment covers the late 2000s to the present day, and will feature tracks from more than 30 current local St. Louis musicians and bands, plus interviews with Carolbeth True and Jim Widner.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Kermit Ruffins to perform Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25 at The Gramophone

This just in: via the Twitter feed of Basin Street Records, StLJN has learned that New Orleans trumpeter and singer Kermit Ruffins (pictured) will be coming to St. Louis to perform on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25 at The Gramophone.

Ruffins is a fixture on the New Orleans scene, playing weekly gigs with his band the Barbecue Swingers at various spots, most notably Vaughan's Lounge, where he recorded a live album in 2007. Ruffins also has been a recurring character playing himself in the HBO series Treme. His most recent album, We Partyin' Traditional Style, was released last month on the Basin Street label.

There's nothing yet on The Gramophone's site about the shows, but when ticket prices and an on-sale date are announced, we'll have the information for you right here.

UPDATE, 6/11/13: The Gramophone today officially announced Ruffins' shows. Tickets are priced at $25 and are on sale now for both Wednesday and Thursday.

Jazz this week: Rick Haydon Quartet, Terence Blanchard, ragtime at Scott Joplin's house, Oikos Ensemble, and more

If you're looking to get out hear some live jazz in St. Louis, there's there's plenty of local music on tap over the weekend, with some new weekly gigs getting underway, plus some visiting players coming to town to play free concerts next week. Let's go to the highlights:

Tonight, singer Joe Mancuso and his band begin a new weekly Thursday gig at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, and Miss Jubilee performs downtown at Thaxton Speakeasy.

On Friday, guitarist Rick Haydon will take the stage for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Haydon, who plays a seven-string guitar not unlike those used by Bucky and John Pizzarelli, is a longtime member of the jazz faculty at SIUE, and just wrapped up his first year heading the jazz studies program there. He'll be backed at the Bistro by Kara Baldus Vandiver on keyboards, Roger Guth on drums and Jim Mayer on bass.

Also Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band is doing a free outdoor show for the annual Art & Air Festival, held on the grounds of Eden Seminary in Webster Groves; Lindy Hop St. Louis presents their monthly West End Stomp swing dance at the Mahler Ballroom, with music from The Sidemen; and the Ambassadors of Swing will play for dancers at Casa Loma Ballroom.

On Saturday, saxophonist Willie Akins and his quartet will bring Akins' long-running Saturday matinee to a new location, the Cigar Inn in Belleville. As longtime local jazz fans know, Akins played Saturdays at the now-defunct Spruill's for many years before the venue closed last year. Since then, he's tried several different venues for the gig before landing now at Cigar Inn, which is going smoke-free for Akins' performances.

Then on Saturday night, guitarist Randy Bahr and pianist Carolbeth True will duet at One 19 North Tapas & Wine Bar; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes are at Thurman Grill; and singer-guitarist Tommy Halloran plays at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Sunday, singer Danita Mumphard teams up with saxophonist Rev. Cliff Aerie and the Oikos Ensemble for another concert in the "Inner Jazz' series at Kirkwood United Church of Christ.

Also on Sunday, trumpeter Delano Redmond, who spends his work weeks directing the acclaimed jazz band program at East St. Louis High School, is stepping out front to lead a quartet in a new weekly gig at Troy's Jazz Gallery. UPDATE - 8:30 p.m., 6/6/13: A few minutes after this post went up, Redmond posted on Twitter that there's no show this week, and the new Sunday gig now will commence on June 16. More as we get it...

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band will return to BB's Jazz Blues and Soups.

Then on Tuesday, the "Election Tour for A Stranger America," a politically themed music and performance piece by Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto, comes to the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center. LNAC's Marc Sarich and the Dave Stone Trio also are on the bill; for more, see this post.

On Wednesday, the Friends of Scott Joplin and the Scott Joplin State Historic Site will present a free ragtime concert at the Joplin site, 2658 Delmar at Beaumont. The late-afternoon event will feature pianists Andrew Barrett, Max Keenlyside, John Reed-Torres, William McNally and more.

Then on Wednesday evening, trumpeter Terence Blanchard (pictured), who will be in town for the premiere next week of his opera Champion at Opera Theatre St. Louis, will play a free concert for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. He'll follow up that up on Thursday with another free show for the Whitaker Urban Evenings series at St. Louis Place Park.

Given that local audiences have repeatedly paid good money to hear the New Orleans native perform here at the Bistro, The Sheldon and elsewhere, these two shows definitely qualify as the best deals of the week. For more about Blanchard and some samples of his music, see this post from last Saturday.

And if that weren't enough, there's also a new weekly gig happening on Wednesdays, as bassist Willem von Hombracht and his New St. Louis Jazz X-Tet will be holding forth at midweek until further notice at the aforementioned Cafe Eau at the Chase Park Plaza.

For more jazz-related events in and around St. Louis, please visit the St. Louis Jazz Notes Calendar, which can be found on the left sidebar of the site or by clicking here. You also can keep up with all the latest news by following St. Louis Jazz Notes on Twitter at or clicking the "Like" icon on the StLJN Facebook page.

(If you have calendar items, band schedule information, news tips, links, or anything else you think may be of interest to StLJN's readers, please email the information to stljazznotes (at) yahoo (dot) com. If you have photos, MP3s or other digital files, please send links, not attachments.)

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dirty Dozen Brass Band to play
Sunday, June 23 at Off Broadway

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (pictured) is returning to St. Louis to play at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, June 23 at a new venue for them, the south side rock club Off Broadway.

The best-known popularizers of the modern New Orleans brass band sound, DDBB made their most recent visit to St. Louis in May of last year to play at the Old Rock House.

This time, they're playing the same night that their fellow New Orleans based band Bonerama is scheduled to perform at Broadway Oyster Bar; whether that will work out like a mini-festival of NOLA music, or the overlapping gigs end up hurting each other, remains to be seen.

Tickets for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Off Broadway are $15 for general admission (standing), $35 for balcony seating, and are on sale now.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Concert paying tribute to Ross Gentile
set for Sunday, September 8 at SIUE

A concert paying tribute to the late Ross Gentile is scheduled for 8:00 p.m., Sunday, September 8 in the Meridian Ballroom, located in the Morris University Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Gentile (pictured) hosted the "Standards In Jazz" program on WSIE for 15 years, at one point working on-air for the station seven days a week. He also worked as a DJ for WIBV, KSHE and WZQZ, and was a regular presence as an MC at live jazz events in the St. Louis area. He died in February at age 60 after a heart attack.

Musical performers at the tribute concert will include the Gary Dammer Big Band, Rick Haydon, Denise Thimes, Sherry Drake, Joe Bozzi, and others. Also appearing will be friends and colleagues of Gentile's, including Dr. Ed Wolf, Marvin Cohen, Adam Tracy, Buddy Moreno, and Don Wolff.

Tickets for the Ross Gentile tribute concert are $20. For more information, call 618-409-1389. To purchase in advance, send a cashiers check, money order or check payable to "Dianne Turek" to Box #240, 407 Belt Line Rd., Collinsville, IL, 62234. Tickets also will be sold at the door.

Family members also have set up a "Standards in Jazz" website and Facebook page to promote the concert and Gentile's legacy.

Photo of Ross Gentile from

"Election Tour for A Stranger America" coming Tuesday, June 11 to LNAC

This may be be an off year for national elections, but some of the issues that drive politics in the USA will be very much in play when Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center presents an evening of politically aware music and performance at 8:00 p.m. next Tuesday, June 11.

Headlining will be Jeffrey Young and Paul Pinto (pictured), members of the experimental music group thingNY. They'll be in St. Louis as part of their 17-city "Election Tour for a Stranger America," featuring the absurdly titled work, Jeff Young and Paul Pinto, Patriots, Run for Public Office on a Platform of Swift and Righteous Immigration Reform, Lots of Jobs, and a Healthy Environment: An Opera by Paul Pinto and Jeffrey Young Created in 2011.

Described as "a parody of contemporary politics," the half-hour piece focuses on issues of immigration and national identity. Young and Pinto collaboratively created the text, music, and staging, scoring the piece for their own voices, violin, percussion, turntable, and cardboard boxes. It incorporates sung and spoken words and instrumental music, both notated and improvised, tonal and not.

Continuing the political theme will be LNAC director Mark Sarich's “In Whose Interest,” the latest in a series of "spoken narrative operas" begun in 1997. The piece includes "avant-garde electronics, free improvisation, text as music, and political narrative, pointing at inconsistencies and deficiencies in our socio-political system." The title references a quote from the roman historian Cicero, who said that those seeking the source of a social inequity should ask “Cui Bono?” ("Who benefits?").

Saxophonist Dave Stone's trio will round out the bill. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Clark Terry to be inducted into
Jazz Hall of Fame on Tuesday, June 4

Trumpeter and St. Louis native Clark Terry, drummer Art Blakey and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton will be honored tomorrow with induction into Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony will take place at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, June 4 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, which is located within JALC’s home, Frederick P. Rose Hall in NYC. The ceremony will be webcast at (You also can watch the webcast right here on StLJN in the embedded video window below.)

Actor Courtney B. Vance will read remarks by author Geoff Ward honoring each inductee, and the ceremony will celebrate them through photo montages and performances by musicians including Jonathan Batiste, Dominick Farinacci, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Heath, Ali Jackson, Warren Wolf, and others.

A news release said that "family members and representatives will accept the awards on behalf of the inductees." Terry (pictured), who's 92 and in poor health and thus unable to travel from his home in Arkansas to NYC for the ceremony, nevertheless is only the third living musician (along with Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman) to be honored with induction into the Hall.

Terry, Blakey and Hampton earned the majority of the popular vote cast by jazz fans around the world in an online public ballot earlier this year.

The Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame honors musicians and members of the jazz community based on "his or her singular dedication and outstanding contribution to jazz," with a total of 38 honorees so far. This year’s inductees were nominated by a committee of musicians and scholars including Ed Berger, Bill Charlap, Connie Crothers, Stanley Crouch, Jon Faddis, Vince Giordano, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Phil Schaap, Loren Schoenberg, and Spike Wilner.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A Terence Blanchard sampler

This week, let's take another look at trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who's been in and out of St. Louis a lot over the last year. That's because he's been working with Opera Theatre St. Louis on Champion, a new opera he composed that will receive its world premiere at OTSL with six performances taking place between June 15 and June 30.

In the week before the first performance of Champion, Blanchard also will play two free outdoor jazz concerts here in St. Louis, on Wednesday, June 12 for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden, and on Thursday, June 13 at St. Louis Place Park.

The New Orleans native already is quite familiar with our town, as he's visited here several times in the last few years to play at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Jazz at the Bistro. Most recently, in 2012 he turned up with percussionist Poncho Sanchez' band in April at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, and returned in September to play the Bistro again with his own quintet. And even if you haven't seen him play live, you may have heard some some of Blanchard's music anyway, since he has scored many feature films for director Spike Lee.

Since Blanchard was the subject of a previous video showcase post here back in 2009, today we'll concentrate mostly on recent developments, such as the release this past week of Magnetic, Blanchard's latest album for Blue Note Records. The first video up above is from the electronic press kit for Magnetic, and offers a brief behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the album.

Down below, there are three clips of Blanchard performing with his quintet, which currently features Brice Winston (tenor sax), Fabian Almazan (piano), Joshua Crumbly (bass) and Kendrick Scott (drums). First, there's Blanchard's take on the NOLA standard "When The Saints Go Marching In," recorded last year for radio station WNYC. That's followed by an extended excerpt from Blanchard's performance at this year's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and an undated version of a number called "Four Whole."

Below that, there's a taste of Blanchard's collaboration with Sanchez, a version of the bop standard "Groovin' High" recorded in September 2011 at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. The final clip is an extended video interview with Blanchard, recorded last year at Loyola University in New Orleans.

For more about Magnetic, check out these reviews from the Los Angeles Times' Chris Barton,, and New Orleans' Offbeat magazine.