Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Jazz this week: St. Louis Cabaret Festival with Marilyn Maye, American Music Showcase, Kelley Hunt, and more

This weekend may mark the beginning of the dog days of summer, but it's one of the busiest times of the year for Cabaret Project St. Louis, as the organization presents its annual St. Louis Cabaret Festival
and conference this week.

In addition to a week's worth of educational programs for prospective singers, there are four nights of performances on tap, starting this evening as singer and pianist Billy Stritch performs songs associated with Mel Torme at the Bistro at Grand Center.

The Festival's biggest event is tomorrow night, as singers Marilyn Maye (pictured) and Jason Graae will take the stage for separate sets at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

The Sheldon extravaganza will be followed by two more shows at the Bistro, featuring singer and pianist John Bucchino on Friday and a showcase of students from this week's workshops on Sunday. You can read an interview that Maye did with the Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller, including more details on the Festival, here.

Elsewhere around town tonight, it's an alpha-and-omega kind of thing, as the St. Louis New Jazz X-Tet plays their final Wednesday gig at the Chase Park Plaza's Cafe Eau, while trumpeter Delano Redmond is in just the second week of his new weekly engagement at Premier Lounge.

Also on Thursday, trumpeter Jim Manley starts a new weekly gig at Joyia Tapas in the Grove neighborhood; and Miss Jubilee performs swing and jump blues at Thaxton Speakeasy.

On Friday, singer Ron Wilkerson will be at Robbie's House of Jazz; guitarist Tom Byrne leads a trio at Cigar Inn; and saxophonist Tim Cunningham is downtown at former St. Louis Cardinal Jim Edmonds' Fifteen Steakhouse, where he'll be playing Fridays all this month.

Then on Saturday, pianist Phil Dunlap's new quintet, washed out by rain a few weeks ago at the St. Louis Art Museum, finally will give their debut performance as part of the American Music Showcase, a multi-band, multi-venue event in the Grand Center district.

Also on Saturday, singer Tony Viviano celebrates the birthday of Tony Bennett with a tribute show at Talayna's; young Chicago guitarist Chuck Tripp is at Robbie's; and Coco Rico will play Gypsy jazz and swing at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

On Sunday, BB's Jazz Blues and Soups has a matinee from Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, followed by an evening performance from Kansas City pianist and blues singer Kelley Hunt, long a favorite around these parts, who will showcase some material from her upcoming album. Also on Sunday, the Friends of Scott Joplin present their monthly "Ragtime Rendezvous" jam session at Dressel's Pub.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Tuesday Dizzy Atmosphere plays a "Notes From Home" show at the Sheldon Concert Hall. They'll be joined by an extensive list of guest performers including multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman, bassist Willem von Hombracht, keyboardist Carl Pandolfi, and several others.

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, July 30, 2013

Pollstar: Harry Connick Jr. to perform Sunday, October 27 at the Fox Theatre

New listings added to Pollstar and the the website of Harry Connick Jr. show the singer, pianist and New Orleans native performing in St. Louis on Sunday, October 27 at the Fox Theatre.

Connick (pictured) will be playing a series of dates this fall in the Midwest and South in support of Every Man Should Know, his new album of 12 original songs that was released in June.

He last appeared in St. Louis in June 2010, also at the Fox. You can read a review of Connick's show last week in Chicago, which included a good helping of material from the new album, here.

There's no official announcement yet from the Fox Theatre, and the show is not yet listed on their website, but when ticket prices and the on-sale date are announced, StLJN will have the details for you right here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Jazz Film Festival Summer 2013, part 2

This week, we continue our summer festival of jazz films with five documentaries looking at the lives of legendary musicians, plus a vintage TV special from the 1970s featuring performances from a stellar lineup of musicians still active then.

First up is Art Tatum: The Art of Jazz Piano, the only documentary portrait of the great pianist.

Down below, you'll find The Long Night of Lady Day, a look at the life of singer Billie Holiday originally aired as part of PBS' American Masters; and More Than You Know, a documentary about tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon.

Below that, it's Music in the Key of Oscar, about pianist Oscar Peterson; and Joe Zawinul: A Musical Portrait, a BBC film about the Weather Report keyboardist.

The final film is an all-star jazz show first broadcast on CBS in 1976 as The Original Rompin' Stompin' Hot And Heavy, Cool And Groove All Star Jazz Show. Hosted by Dionne Warwick, the Emmy winning film was directed by Gary Keys and recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theater in NYC.

Aired as part of the network's "Lively Arts for Young People" series, it traces the history of jazz from spirituals to fusion and jazz-rock, and includes performances from Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Max Roach, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, and Joe Williams.

Friday, July 26, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* With a little more than 24 hours to go, KDHX (88.1 FM) yesterday met their Kickstarter campaign goal of $50,000 to build a 125-seat performance space at the station's new headquarters on Washington Ave in the Grand Center district.

The campaign's final days were marked by a social media push on Facebook and Twitter involving local music fans and bloggers, and also got some coverage from reporter Heidi Glaus of local NBC affiliate KSDK. The various premiums still are available to anyone who pledges before the campaign ends at noon on Friday.

* Metrotix and Tap Heritage, Inc. are offering a $5 discount on tickets for "All That Tap XXII," this year's installment of the annual tap dance festival to be held Saturday at the Edison Theater on the Washington University campus.

The event features tap stars of movies, Broadway and TV performing in tap dance styles from jazz to hip-hop, with live music from pianist Carolbeth True's trio. The regular ticket price is $25, so the discounted price is $20 per ticket. To access the offer, go to the Metrotix site and enter promo code ATT.  The offer ends at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.

* Quartette Humaine, the new album from David Sanborn and Bob James, was reviewed by Chris Parker for London Jazz News.

* Jim Widner (pictured)  - bassist, bandleader, educator and head of the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival - was the subject of a profile by Ruth Ezell of local PBS affiliate KETC's Living St. Louis, as well as a feature story by the UMSL Daily.

* And speaking of profiles, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes this week were the subjects of one written by Terry Perkins for the St. Louis Beacon.

* Perkins this week also wrote for the Beacon a preview of the upcoming St. Louis Cabaret Festival.

* And on the same subject, singer Jason Graae, who will be appearing at the Cabaret Festival and accompanying conference, was interviewed by KDHX's "Break A Leg" podcast.

* The St. Louis Stompers are headlining this weekend at the 21st annual Lakeside DixieFest in Clear Lake, IA.

* Jazz St. Louis this week announced that the organization posted double-digit percentage increases in subscription and single ticket sales revenues this past season, with total revenue for all Jazz at the Bistro activity up 17% over the previous year.

Subscription revenue grew by 13% to $151,417, with total subscription seats sold rising 8% to 5,755. New subscription seats sold for Jazz at the Bistro increased 26% over fiscal 2012, and average per-set attendance increased 7% compared to the previous year. In a press release, Jazz St. Louis' Bob Bennett attributed the growth to a record number of new subscription seats purchased, an 85% renewal rate, and an overall increase in the number of shows subscribers are purchasing.

JSL also announced this week that Wells Fargo Advisors will contribute $100,000 to be "presenting sponsor" of the 2013-14 Jazz at the Bistro season, marking the third year the company has made a "leadership gift" to the organization.

* Jazz radio update: This week at Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, saxophonist Joe Henderson's  achievements as a bandleader, composer and accompanist will be the subject of this week's episode of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else." In addition to music from Henderson, the program also will feature sounds from saxophonist Marcus Strickland and singer Holly Cole. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Elsewhere on the radio dial, Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" program this Sunday will feature the music of Fats Waller, as interpreted by Waller himself and pianists James P. Johnson, Earl Hines and Dick Hyman, plus St. Louis’s own Ralph Sutton and his sister Barbara Sutton Curtis.

Owsley also will spin new music from Ralph Alessi, Melton Mustafa, the Joel Harrison 19, Mark Gross, Oliver Jones, Fred Hersch, Laszlo Gardony, Kenny Barron, Jacky Terrasson, Edward Simon, Scott Newman, Ben Monder, and RJ and the Association. "Jazz Unlimited" can be heard from 9:00 pm to midnight Sundays on KWMU (90.7 FM) or online at

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jazz this week: Kermit Ruffins, Nora Germain, Good 4 The Soul, All That Tap XXI, Dave Dickey Big Band, and more

The weekend starts early for fans of jazz and creative music in St. Louis, as Kermit Ruffins - trumpeter, singer, entrepreneur, bon vivant and ambassador of New Orleans music - will be playing at The Gramophone tonight and again on Thursday evening.

While he's in town, Ruffins also will be doing a meet-and-greet and signing copies of his new album We Partyin' Traditional Style on Thursday morning at Vintage Vinyl.

Ruffins (pictured), who helped found the Rebirth Brass Band and has been seen as a recurring character on the HBO series Treme, is known as a winning showman as well as a fine trumpeter. For much more about Ruffins, and footage of him and his band the Barbecue Swingers in action, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also tonight, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play a free concert for the Whitaker Music Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Then on Thursday, Los Angeles violinist Nora Germain, a 21-year-old USC student and protege of Cowbop guitarist Bruce Forman, will bring her band to Robbie's House of Jazz as part of a Midwest tour called "Music Licks on 66".

Also on Thursday, drummer Maurice Carnes and his group will play a free concert to wrap up the summer Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly "Avant Garde Arts Night" featuring live improvised music.

On Friday, Good 4 The Soul, featuring pianist Adaron "Pops" Jackson, drummer James Jackson, bassist John King and guitarist Shaun Robinson, will play for the first of two nights to close out the summer season at Jazz at the Bistro.

(Except for a couple of one-off shows related to the upcoming St. Louis Cabaret Festival and American Music Festival, the Bistro is scheduled to be dark for nearly two months, until the week of September 25 - 28 when Yellowjackets come to town to open the 2013-14 Jazz at the Bistro season.)

Also on Friday, guitarist Tom Byrne and Have U Heard play at Jazz on Broadway; saxophonist Kendrick Smith leads a trio with bassist Charles Clements and drummer Micah Walker at Cigar Inn; and saxophonist Jay Hutson and Da Wolvez, featuring singer Tamesha Foote, are at Robbie's.

On Saturday night, it's the 21st annual "All That Tap' festival at the Touhill Performing Arts Center Edison Theater, featuring a lineup of top tap-dancing talent from across the USA demonstrating their terpsichorean skills with music from pianist Carolbeth True's trio.

Also on Saturday, Miss Jubilee plays a free outdoor concert at Lafayette Park; Tommy Halloran and Guerilla Swing will perform at the Venice Cafe; and singer Joe Mancuso and guitarist Dave Black will duet at Chaser's Lounge in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

On Sunday, the Dave Dickey Big Band will be back after a month's hiatus for their usual fourth-Sunday gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups; and on Tuesday, saxophonist Dave Cheli's Tribal Chicken and friends, including Ajay Khanna, Dave Stone, Chris Smentkowski and Jeremy Melsha, will present a show of free improv at Foam on S. Jefferson.

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.)

Edited 7/25/13 to correct the venue for All That Tap XXI.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Jazz Film Festival Summer 2013

It's summer vacation time, and today we take a respite from the usual routine of previewing upcoming jazz shows in St. Louis to present our own little online jazz film festival.

Up above, A Great Day in Harlem is a 1994 documentary film that tells the story behind one of the most famous photos in the history of jazz: the 1958 B&W group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians photographed by Art Kane, a freelancer for Esquire magazine, in front of a brownstone at 17 E. 126 Street in Harlem. The photo has remained an important object in the study of the history of jazz, and the film was nominated in 1995 for an Academy Award for Documentary Feature.

Down below is The Swing Thing, a 2008 BBC documentary on swing music and dancing that spotlights some of the most popular groups and singers of the big band era.

Below that is another BBC film, 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz which uses four classic albums - Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, Dave Brubeck's Time Out, Charles Mingus' Mingus Ah Um and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come - as a lens through which to examine "the seismic year jazz broke away from complex bebop music to new forms, allowing soloists unprecedented freedom to explore and express."

We close out with three films profiling famous jazz musicians: Buddy Rich - Jazz Legend '17 - '70, a biographical documentary on the great drummer; A Night in Havana: Dizzy Gillespie in Cuba, which looks at the legendary trumpeter's trip to the island nation for a mid-1980s music festival; and My Name Is Albert Ayler, a 2007 biography of the free jazz saxophonist.

Friday, July 19, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Residents of Alton will get their first look this weekend at what the proposed statue of Miles Davis may look like when it's installed downtown.

Artist Preston Jackson will give a presentation to the community tomorrow, Saturday July 20, to help kick off the Alton Block Party, showing renderings of the Davis statue (pictured) situated on its eventual site.

The event takes place in the 200 block of W. 3rd St., starting with an hour of music by trumpeter Kasimu Taylor's quartet at 4:00 p.m., followed by Jackson's presentation at 5:00 p.m..

* And speaking of Miles Davis, CBC Music takes note of the 50th anniversary of the release of Davis' album Seven Steps to Heaven with a post on the "7 Passions of Miles Davis."

* The new Yellowjackets album Rise In The Road was reviewed for Jazz Times magazine by Philip Booth. The group will be in St. Louis the last week in September to kick off the fall season at Jazz at the Bistro.

* Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins had a few words with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson for a brief story found online here. Ruffins plays at The Gramophone next Wednesday and Thursday.

* Lindy Hop St. Louis continues its series of Saturday dance workshops next week with "Pirating: Enrich Your Lindy Hop with Stolen Dance Steps" from noon to 4:00 p.m., Saturday July 27 at Studio Forte in Maplewood.

* After being washed out by rainy weather a couple of weeks ago at the St. Louis Art Museum, pianist Phil Dunlap's new quintet will make their debut as part of the "American Music Showcase", a multi-band, multi-genre event to be held from 6:00 p.m. to midnight Saturday, August in seven different locations in the Grand Center district.

* For the vinyl lovers out there, Euclid Records now is marketing their own brand of record-cleaning solution called Euclid Juice. It's $10 for a spray bottle, $5 for a refill, and available at the store.

* The independent St. Louis based jazz label MAXJAZZ has announced that their catalog now will be distributed in the U.S. and Canada by Naxos of America, the largest independent distributor of classical music in North America.

* Voting is open in Down Beat magazine's 78th annual Readers Poll. You can cast your ballot for your favorite musicians, bands and recordings online here.

* Jazz radio update: WSIE (88.7 FM) reports that they purchased and on July 18 successfully installed a new backup generator, enabling to them to stay on the air even if the power grid goes down.

Over at Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis, this Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" will feature fresh tracks from present-day artists including Gretchen Parlato, the Bad Plus and James Farm, featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

A bit farther up the dial, the subject of Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" program at 9:00 p.m. this Sunday on KWMU (90.7 FM) is "Music from the Newport and Monterey Jazz Festivals, Part 2.” The episode will feature the sounds of Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, The Donald Byrd-Gigi Gryce Jazz Lab Quintet, Dave Brubeck, the Don Ellis Big Band, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Horace Silver, Charles Lloyd with Keith Jarrett, the Thelonious Monk nonet, Max Roach, John Handy, The Charles Mingus Octet and the Monterey 50th Anniversary All-Stars.

Illustration of Miles Davis statue via the Alton Telegraph.

(Edited after posting to add the radio update & item on Kermit Ruffins.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crowd-Funding Countdown: The Jazz Session, The Stage at KDHX, Tommy Halloran

Three crowd-funding campaigns of possible interest to StLJN readers are scheduled to end in the next few days:

* The Jazz Session is a series of podcast interviews of jazz musicians conducted by Jason Crane. After more than 400 episodes, Crane ended the series last year, but now is seeking to restart it with a funding assist from listeners via Kickstarter.

Crane hopes to raise $6,000 with the campaign, and will use it to produce 12 expanded monthly episodes of the podcast over the next year. Premiums for contributing include free music on MP3 or CD, in-show acknowledgements, and chances to attend a taping or even guest on a future episode.

You can hear an audio endorsement of Crane's effort by none other than Sonny Rollins here, and see some additional endorsements and promotional videos for the campaign here. The campaign ends on July 31 and so far, Crane has raised $3,436 toward the goal.

* KDHX (88.1 FM) continues their campaign to raise $50,000 through Kickstarter to build a performance stage at the station's new headquarters in Grand Center. The facility would seat 125 in a "listening room" atmosphere. Premiums for the campaign range from various KDHX branded items on up to a "Golden Ticket" good for admission to any show there, ever.

There's a little less than week left until the fund-raising effort ends at 12:00 p.m. CDT on Friday, July 26, and the station has $15,305 as of this writing.

* Guitarist and singer Tommy Halloran is in the final days of an Indiegogo campaign to raise $3,500 to record, master and duplicate a CD by his band Guerilla Swing. With the campaign scheduled to end at midnight this Saturday, July 20, Halloran has raised $2,622 to date.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jazz this week: Erik Jekabsen, "Music for Mutts," Tim Cunningham, free outdoor concerts, and more

Looks like we're in for some steamy weather in St. Louis for the next few days, but fortunately there will be ample opportunities to cool out with some live jazz and creative music, both indoors and outdoors. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, there are two free outdoor shows of interest, as Good 4 The Soul plays a free concert at O'Fallon Park while the Willie Akins/Montez Coleman group performs for the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Also tonight, trumpeter Delano Redmond starts a new recurring Wednesday night gig at the Premier Lounge, and Cabaret Project St. Louis presents their monthly open mic night at Tavern of Fine Arts.

Tomorrow night, trumpeter Erik Jekabsen (pictured), with a band that will include Kansas City saxophonist Matt Otto, will play a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and Miss Jubilee performs for a free outdoor event at St Peters City Centre Amphitheater.

On Friday, there are plenty of choices for the discerning listener, starting with the return of saxophonist Tim Cunningham for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. Elsewhere around town, mandolinist Knez Jakovac leads a quartet in a concert at the Lemp Grand Hall, 1817 Cherokee (at Lemp); Feyza Eren performs at the Wine Press; Danita Mumphard sings at Jazz on Broadway; and the St. Louis Big Band plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Also on Friday, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis presents "Chromaconditional," a multi-media performance featuring Kevin Harris, Mike Murphy, Adrian McBride, and Jeremy Kannapell, who will "use special sensors to connect the motion and colors of a gigantic video projection to sound patterns, creating a musical soundscape that will fill CAM’s Performance Space."

On Saturday, "Music for Mutts," a benefit for four local animal rescue organizations, will feature music from the cabaret quartet Women Under the Influence, singer Christy Strickland, Miss Jubilee, and more. Proceeds from the event, which will be held at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Dr in Clayton, go to Act Now Rescue, Gateway Pet Guardians, Operation Spot and Pound Pals.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Randy Bahr and flute player/singer Margaret Bianchetta will perform at One 19 North Tapas and Wine Bar, and drummer Robbie Tucker leads a quartet at Robbie's House of Jazz.

On Sunday, trumpeter Jim Manley continues his long-running brunch gig at Jimmy's Cafe on the Park, while singer-guitarist Tommy Halloran and his band Guerilla Swing will entertain the brunch crowd at The Rustic Goat.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday Clave Sol plays Latin jazz at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

U City Jazz Festival sets lineup
for Saturday, September 7

The U City Jazz Festival has announced the lineup of musicians who will perform at this year's event, which will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 in Heman Park in University City.

The all-St. Louis musical menu for the festival will include Willie Akins and Montez Coleman, Bach to the Future, Phil Gomez and Clave Sol, the Joe Mancuso Quintet, Tom Byrne and Have U Heard?, and a tribute to Wes Montgomery led by Maurice Carnes (pictured).

The event will be staged in conjunction with the annual Fair U. City, and is free and open to the public. Heman Park is located on Olive Blvd, near the corner of Midland Ave and Olive.

Site news: St. Louis jazz videos wanted,
plus a Twitter list update

A couple of items of interest to the local musicians among StLJN's readers:

* Do you or your band have live performance videos up on YouTube or Vimeo? StLJN is looking for clips from working St. Louis jazz musicians and groups to include in upcoming editions of the weekly Saturday Video Showcase posts.

As was the case last July and August, the plan is to do some posts over the next few weekends highlighting local musicians and bands, loosely organized around themes such as female singers, saxophonists, big bands, guitarists, or similar.

I haven't locked in to any particular theme ideas yet, but will be scouring YouTube in the coming weeks, looking for clips to include, while also awaiting your suggestions.

Videos don't have to be professionally or elaborately produced, but they do have to be in an embeddable format (i.e., publicly available on YouTube, Vimeo or a similar service) and include reasonably clear visuals and good quality audio of a complete performance of a song or songs.

It's an easy way to get your music in front of thousands of readers around the world who are looking for information about jazz in St. Louis. To submit your video for consideration, you can comment on this post or on the equivalent item on the STLJN Facebook page; Tweet your info to @StLJazzNotes; or send an email to stljazznotes dot com.

* And as long as we've mentioned Twitter, be advised that the St. Louis jazz Twitter list now includes more than 50 feeds from St. Louis musicians, venues and presenters. The latest Tweets from the list (at are now being featured in a widget on the left sidebar of the main StLJN site.

If you're a St. Louis musician, venue, presenter or otherwise affiliated with the local jazz scene, and would like to be added to the list, you can Tweet your info to @StLJazzNotes, comment here or on Facebook, or send an email with your Twitter handle.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Partyin' traditional style with Kermit Ruffins

This week, let's check out some video clips featuring trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, who's coming to St. Louis to play on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25 at The Gramophone.

The 48-year-old New Orleans native first gained fame for co-founding the Rebirth Brass Band while still a high-school student. He's gone on to establish a career as a solo performer and crowd-pleasing entertainer, playing weekly gigs in his hometown at Vaughan's and his own club, Kermit's Treme Speakeasy, and occasionally venturing out on tour or the festival circuit.

Many locals consider Ruffins an ambassador for New Orleans music, and his national profile also has been raised considerably in recent years by several appearances playing himself in HBO's Treme, often working opposite main cast member Wendell Pierce, who plays trombonist Antoine Baptiste in the series. The trumpeter has released 13 albums as a leader, the latest of which, We Partyin' Traditional Style, came out earlier this year on Basin Street Records.

Today's first two clips were recorded last September in New Orleans as part of an online video series sponsored by the Bonnaroo music festival. Up top, Ruffins and his band the Barbecue Swingers play "Drop Me Off In New Orleans," and down below, it's "If You're A Viper."

Below that, you can see and hear Ruffins play the New Orleans standard "St. James Infirmary" in an undated video recorded at Tipitina's in New Orleans.

That's followed by a version of "Skokiaan," a South African song made famous in this country by Louis Armstrong and performed by Ruffins during one of his appearances on Treme. This clip was recorded by an audience member at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC, and though the video bounces a bit, the audio quality is good.

Then, it's back to New Orleans for a a version of "Exactly Like You" recorded during this year's JazzFest at the Louisiana Music Factory.

Last but not least, there's an extended video of Ruffins' concert last year with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at LSU, which gave him a chance to show off his trumpet and vocal stylings outside of the small-combo context.

Friday, July 12, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* The Frontenac Grill, which frequently featured live jazz on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, has closed.

* Quartette Humaine, the new album from saxophonist David Sanborn and pianist Bob James, was reviewed by Mike Joyce of Jazz Times and Curt Davenport of Curt's Jazz Cafe.

Meanwhile, C. Andrew Hovan of reviewed Sanborn & James' set last month at the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

* Oliver Lake was in Oakland last week for four gigs featuring four different lineups of musicians. His evening of duets with Roscoe Mitchell was reviewed by Richard Scheinin of the San Jose Mercury News, while Lake's show with saxophonist Philip Greenlief and guitarist Ross Hammond was the subject of a post, with photos, by blogger Mark Pino of Disaster Amnesiac.

* The Post-Dispatch's Sarah Bryan Miller looked at the impact of Terence Blanchard's Champion on the recently concluded season of Opera Theater of St. Louis.

* Saxophonist and one-time Webster University student John Zorn is celebrating his 60th birthday this year with a variety of concerts and recordings, as chronicled in recent feature stories from the New York Times and Jewish Week. This weekend, Zorn is performing with guests including Mike Patton, Marc Ribot and Trevor Dunn at the Barbican in London.

* KDHX (88.1 FM) has launched a Kickstarter campaign raising funds to build a stage at the station's new headquarters in Grand Center, just a few doors down from Jazz at the Bistro. The live performance space will seat 125 people for what's being called "an intimate listening room experience."

Premiums for contributions to the campaign include everything from a t-shirt (pictured) on up to private parties at the venue and even naming rights for the green rooms. The goal is to raise $50,000 by July 26; as of this writing, the campaign has attracted 79 backers who have pledged $3,762. 

* Continuing with our radio update, this Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else", will feature the latest music from guitarists Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny and John Scofield. Right after that, Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will showcase tracks from trumpeter Dawn Weber's new project, plus music from Christian McBride, Peet Project, Spyro Gyra, David Sanborn and Ramsey Lewis.

Wilson's show is broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays and Church's at 9:00 p.m. on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Jazz this week: Anita Jackson, Feyza Eren & Steve Davis, Erin Bode, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, and more

Once again this week, the schedule of touring jazz musicians visiting St. Louis is light to non-existent. And once again, local musicians are more than filling the gap with a variety of events, including some free outdoor shows plus gigs showcasing several of our town's fine female vocalists. Here's what's going on over the next few days...

Tonight, the multi-instrumentalist Bosman Twins kick off a four-week series of free outdoor concerts at O'Fallon Park, located on the north side at W. Florissant & Adelaide. 

Also tonight, bassist Willem von Hombrecht and his New St. Louis Jazz X-Tet play at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

Tomorrow night, the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University presents the first of three free concerts they're doing this summer, featuring a group co-led by singer Feyza Eren and drummer Steve Davis.

Also on Thursday, the Funky Butt Brass Band will play a free concert at Bluebird Park in Ellisville

On Friday, singer Anita Jackson takes the stage for the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro. For more about Jackson, read this profile written by Terry Perkins and published Monday by the St. Louis Beacon.

Also Friday, the Old Orchard Gazebo Music and Movie Series in Webster Groves wraps up its schedule of free concerts for the year with a set by singer Erin Bode, followed by a screening of the 2011 high-school-football documentary Undefeated.

That same evening, guitarist Brian Vaccaro bring his organ-trio-plays-The-Beatles show to Pop's Blue Moon; singer Charlie B. and trumpeter Jim Manley play at Thurman Grill; and alto saxophonist Carlos Brown, Jr. will lead a trio with pianist Corey Fuller and drummer Montez Coleman at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes (pictured) will host an evening of music on the rooftop of the Deco Fortress, a restored vintage building that doubles as singer Sarah Ulrich's not-so-secret HQ. (See also: the Fantastic Four and the Baxter Building, the Avengers and Avengers Mansion, etc. The event also apparently will serve as a release party for the group's new CD, though we can't tell you any more than that, because our request for more details yielded no response.)

Update, 2:25 p.m. 7/10/13: Seemingly within seconds after pushing the "publish" button on this post, yr. humble editor received a missive from the aforementioned Ms. Ulrich. The CD is titled simply Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes, and includes seven tracks featuring their interpretations of vintage tunes including "Them There Eyes," "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You" and "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen." The album was recorded by Ulrich and a six-piece band, then mixed and mastered, all in the home studio of Sam Olhausen.

Also on Saturday, the jazz/electronic/new music ensemble Koplant No will deploy their various devices at Tavern of Fine Arts; and singer Ann Dueren's trio is at Il Bel Lago.

On Sunday, Miss Jubilee will perform for a jazz brunch at the Rustic Goat, even as guitarist Tom Byrne and saxophonist/clarinetist Sam Hargadine are playing for the brunch crowd at Bar Italia.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show's summer event also takes place on Sunday in the usual location - the American Czech Hall at 4690 Lansdowne on the south side - and the St. Louis Jazz Club will present the cryptically named Time and Place in a matinee performance at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville. 

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday trumpeter Keith Moyer brings his group back to BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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

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

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Ronnie Burrage plans homecoming weekend of performances (and more) for September

Drummer, bandleader and composer Ronnie Burrage (pictured) is returning to St. Louis in September for a series of gigs and a ceremony to mark his induction into the University City High School Hall of Fame.

Burrage, who now lives in Pennsylvania and teaches at Penn State University, also will be celebrating the release of Heal, a new album from his group Band Burrage, and will be bringing some of his East Coast musicians with him to St. Louis.

A multi-instrumentalist who also plays keyboards and mallet percussion, Burrage has drummed with an impressive number of jazz greats, including McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, and many more. He performed here in his hometown most recently last summer, doing several gigs and a drum workshop and serving as the subject of a feature story written by yr. humble StLJN editor for the Riverfront Times.

The band for Burrage's new album includes singer Shenel Johns, bassist Nimrod Speaks and saxophonist Rick Tate, as well as St. Louis guitarist Eric Slaughter, though we can't yet confirm that all will be present for the gigs here in the fall.

What we can tell you so far is that the schedule for Burrage's 2013 homecoming weekend will include performances on Thursday, September 26 at Robbie's House of Jazz; and Friday, September 27 and Saturday, Sepember 28 at the Kranzberg Arts Center.

Ticket prices, show times and on-sale dates also are TBA. For more details on all of that, as well as Burrage's hall of fame induction and his new album, stay tuned...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
A Lake weekend

Having spent last Saturday looking at the latest project from saxophonist David Sanborn, today we're checking in on another alto player from St. Louis, Oliver Lake. This particular weekend, the former member of the Black Artists Group and co-founder of the World Saxophone Quartet is out in Oakland at a venue called Duende, doing four shows in four days with four different configurations of musicians.

More generally, Lake has been staying active both in the physical world, where he gigs and records as a solo act and with several different ensembles, and online, where he frequently communicates with fans via Twitter and Facebook and posts videos to his YouTube channel.

Last September, Lake, who now lives in Montclair, NJ, celebrated his 70th birthday with a series of performances at the Jazz Standard in New York. One of those shows featured Lake's big band, and today we've got four clips of that group for you to peruse, starting up top with a version of the leader's composition "Clicker."

Down below, you can see them perform "Is It Real," "Drum Thing," and "Creole Talkin'" which features an interesting look at Lake directing the group's punctuations of a long, freebop solo by Jason Marshall on baritone sax, followed by a section of straight-ahead ensemble playing that evokes a classic Swing Era sound. (For more of the the Oliver Lake Big Band, you can check out Lake's latest album Wheels, which came out earlier this year.)

Below that, there are two selections from the previous night's show by Lake's Organ Quartet, featuring Lake, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix, organist Jared Gold, and drummer Chris Beck playing Lake's "Dance Two" and "ETC." This group is essentially the same one that Lake brought to Jazz at the Bistro in 2009, though with East St. Louis native Russell Gunn on trumpet instead of Hendrix, and featured on his 2010 album Plan.

Lake also appeared in St. Louis in 2009 with Trio 3, but has yet to return home for any performances since then. When we last looked in on Lake's YouTube channel back in 2010, the hope was expressed that it wouldn't be too long before his St. Louis gig.

Three years later, we're still waiting. Given Lake's status as a highly accomplished, widely acclaimed elder statesman of the music, it seems slightly absurd that he - and we - would have to wait for more than four years between performances in his hometown, yet that's the situation. Here's hoping that one of our local presenters will remedy the omission sooner, rather than later.

Friday, July 05, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Sixty local students have been chosen by Jazz St. Louis to participate in the 2013-14 JazzU program. Auditions were held last month, with 115 middle and high school musicians from around the metro area trying out.

Meanwhile, the players in the current version of the top JazzU ensemble, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, are getting some road experience this weekend, performing Saturday on the Youth Stage at the Iowa City Jazz Festival. The free event this year also features notable touring musicians including Charlie Hunter, Christian Scott, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Pharoah Sanders.

* Here are two more reviews of Opera Theatre of St. Louis' world premiere production of Terence Blanchard opera Champion, from the Chicago Tribune's classical music critic John von Rhein and Andrew Patner of Chicago public radio station WFMT (98.7 FM).

* Pianist and singer Jesse Gannon's CD release event this past Sunday at The Gramophone was reviewed by KDHX's Robin Wheeler.

* The Casa Loma Ballroom (pictured) is the subject of a new episode of the online video series CommunityStL.

* Attendees at the River City Mess Around swing dance event presented this weekend by Lindy Hop St. Louis can get a special pre-registration price on passes for the Nevermore Jazz Ball in November. For the rest of the world, early bird registration begins at 10:01 a.m. next Monday, July 8.

* And speaking of Monday, July 8, for every purchase made that day at The Cup bakery and coffee shop in Edwardsville, local jazz station WSIE (88.7 FM) will get 10 percent of the proceeds.

* Elsewhere on the radio dial,  this weekend's episode of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin Else'" program on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis examines the influence of Miles Davis on contemporary trumpet players including Dave Douglas and Tomasz Stanko. Listen in at 8:00 p.m. Saturday via 107.3 FM and 96.3 HD-2, or online at

* The Regional Arts Commission has announced the first 25 recipients of funding from its new Artists Support Grants program. The grants range from $640 to $3,000, and can be used for a variety of projects and opportunities to enhance artists' careers.

Of the first group of 25, just three grants were for work related to music or sound, while 15 went to visual artists and the rest for theater, dance or literature. The next round of Artists Support Grants opens for applications on September 9 and the deadline is October 15. You can find an application form online here.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Jazz this week: Dara Tucker, Chelsea Reed, Farshid Etniko with Sandy Weltman, New Orleans Suspects, and more

Photo of Dara Tucker by Joe Carroll
Though the impending holiday weekend has left yr. humble StLJN editor a bit short on time to write a clever lede for this weekly highlights post, there's no shortage of the American art form of jazz on local St. Louis stages over the next few days. Here's what's coming up...

Today, you can celebrate Independence Day with the Genesis Jazz Project, who are playing a free late-afternoon concert downtown on Laclede's Landing.

Afterward, head west to see singer Joe Mancuso's quartet at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, or catch not one but two gigs by Sarah Jane & The Blue Notes.They're playing in the early evening at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, then heading over to Thaxton Speakeasy for a late show to kick off the "River City Mess Around" a weekend-long series of swing dance events presented by Lindy Hop St. Louis.

The Mess Around continues on Friday with Wack-A-Doo performing for LHStL's monthly first-Friday swing dance at the Mahler Ballroom. It also will include an outdoor set by Coco Rico on Saturday afternoon at Old North St. Louis' Crown Square, and two shows by Miss Jubilee, on Saturday at Casa Loma Ballroom and Sunday afternoon at City Museum.

Elsewhere on Friday, there's more retro-style hot jazz and swing from Philadelphia natives Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Five, who are currently touring the region and will perform at Robbie's House of Jazz.

Then there's the eclectic world-music/Latin/jazz group Farshid Etniko, who on Friday will join forces with special guest multi-instrumentalist Sandy Weltman to play the first of two nights of their debut weekend at Jazz at the Bistro.

Not only that, that same evening the New Orleans Suspects, featuring former members of the Radiators, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Neville Brothers Band and James Brown's band, will funk it up at Broadway Oyster Bar; saxophonist Austin Cebulski's quartet plays at Cigar Inn; and singer-guitarist Tommy Halloran and violinist Alyssa Avery perform at Big Sky Cafe.

On Saturday, another regional performer makes her St. Louis debut, as Nashville singer Dara Tucker (pictured) will perform at Robbie's. Tucker, whose songbook ranges from standards and ballads to more groove-oriented material, has performed or recorded with musicians such as organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, guitarist Charlie Hunter, trumpeter Duane Eubanks and drummer Jason Marsalis.

Her band for this gig will include St. Louis' own Montez Coleman on drums, as well as pianist Karlton Taylor, who's worked with bassist Victor Wooten and guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

Also on Saturday, guitarist Dave Black and violinist Asako Kuboki will duet at Tavern of Fine Arts; and trumpeter Delano Redmond will show off his new group Quatro de Soul with a late-night performance at Troy's Jazz Gallery. UPDATE - 1:30 p.m. 7/6/13: Redmond has posted on Twitter that tonight's gig is cancelled "due to a venue issue."

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, July 02, 2013

Local jazz featured at
upcoming charitable benefits

Two upcoming charitable benefits will feature music from St. Louis jazz performers:

* Guitarist Chris Burchett (pictured) is presenting "Stop The Violence, Make Some Music," at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, July 21 at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Rd.

The concert is a fundraiser to enable Burchett's foundation to offer free music lessons to underprivileged youth, and will feature performances by singers Jeanne Trevor, Wendy Gordon and Joe Mancuso, with broadcaster and author Bernie Hayes as MC.

Tickets are $35 and are on sale now via Metrotix or the Chris Burchett Foundation.

UPDATE: 1:00 p.m., 7/13/13: Last night, STLJN got an email from the Chris Burchett Foundation stating that they were "postponing" the concert on July 21. The message from executive director Trinity Birge said, "Everyone that has purchased tickets for our "Stop The Violence - Make Some Music" benefit concert featuring Wendy L. Gordon and friends will be reimbursed in full."

* Meanwhile, the Bosman Twins have been tapped to provide the sounds for the 2013 edition of "Chocolate, Wine and All That Jazz," to be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, September 7 at the Yacht Club of St. Louis, 105 Lake Village Drive in St. Charles.

The event is the kickoff for the annual fundraising campaign of the Tri-County Division of United Way of Greater St. Louis, and will include "wine, food, chocolate and live jazz," with all proceeds benefiting the United Way.

Tickets are $60 each until August 15, when the price goes up to $70, and are available via the United Way's website.

Edited 7/4/13 to correct the address for the Ethical Society.

Marilyn Maye to perform on
Thursday, August 1 at The Sheldon

Famed cabaret singer Marilyn Maye has joined the faculty of this year's St. Louis Cabaret Conference, and will perform for the accompanying St. Louis Cabaret Festival at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, August 1 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Maye (pictured), replaces Faith Prince, who originally was scheduled to come to St. Louis for the conference but has been cast in a Broadway revival of Annie. Jason Graae, another of the conference's faculty, will join Maye on the bill at the Sheldon.

The Maye/Graae show will be book-ended by performances by their fellow faculty members Billy Stritch, singing songs associated with Mel Torme at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 31 at the Bistro at Grand Center; and pianist and singer John Bucchino, at 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 2 at the Bistro.

The public portion of the conference wraps up with a "Final Showcase" featuring all of the conference's participants at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, August 4 at the Bistro.

Thursday's concert had been scheduled for the Bistro as well, but Maye's addition to the festivities prompted the move to the Sheldon, a testament to her renewed popularity in recent years following a well-received appearance at the 2006 New York Cabaret Convention.

The Kansas City native "has appeared on The Tonight Show a record 76 times, has a recording in the Smithsonian, was one of Ella Fitzgerald's favorite singers and is currently performing all over the country with multiple engagements in New York," including Feinstein's, 54 Below, Birdland and Carnegie Hall. Her last performance in St. Louis was in 2008 at the Sheldon.

Maye, the other performers mentioned above, musical director John Randall, and singer-director and conference organizer Tim Schall will lead a group of 30 singers through five days of intensive workshops and master classes, culminating in the Sunday night performance. Admittance to the workshops is by audition only; for details, email Schall at info @

Tickets for the public performances are $40 and $45 for Maye and Graae; $35 for the other performances; and are available now via Metrotix.