Saturday, August 31, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2013 jazz preview

Today, we offer part one of StLJN's 2013 fall jazz preview, with a look at some of the touring jazz and creative music performers who will be coming to St. Louis to perform in September.

First up is singer Roseanna Vitro, with an interpretation of "Mama Told Me Not To Come," the Randy Newman song that was a major pop hit in 1970 for Three Dog Night. She recorded it a couple of years ago as part of an entire album of Newman songs; this version comes from a performance in June 2011 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, with pianist Mark Soskin, violinist Sara Caswell, bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Tim Horner. Vitro will perform with pianist Kim Portnoy's trio next Saturday, September 7 at Robbie's House of Jazz, and on Sunday, September 8 at SIUE's Meridian Ballroom as part of a concert paying tribute to the late DJ Ross Gentile.

Down below is singer Michael Buble, seen in full-on Rat Pack mode with an uptempo version of "Come Fly With Me" recorded a few years ago for a live DVD. Though Buble's new album moves more in the direction of pop and rock material, it seems likely that he'll still deliver a few swinging numbers along the same lines when he performs on Saturday, September 14 at the Scottrade Center.

Next, we see saxophonist Jeff Coffin and his band the Mu'tet performing "Move Your Rug" in May of this year at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville. Coffin will return to St. Louis on Friday, September 20 to play at The Gramophone.

Also on Friday, September 20, Johnny Boyd will perform for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom. The former lead singer of Indigo Swing is seen here crooning "My Baby Just Cares For Me" in a performance from December, 2012 in Pasadena, CA.

Below that, it's The Wee Trio with "Ranthem," recorded last year at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, CA. The composition by bassist and St. Louis native Dan Loomis is included on Live at the Bistro, the group's new album recorded in February here in St. Louis and set for release in September on their Bionic Records label. The Wee Trio's tour supporting the album's release will include two public performances in St. Louis, on Tuesday, September 22 at Jefferson College and Wednesday, September 23 at Chaminade College Prep.

Wednesday, September 23 is also when Yellowjackets will open Jazz St. Louis' 2013-14 season, performing two sets nightly through Saturday, September 27 at Jazz at the Bistro. Since their last visit here, the group has a new bassist, Felix Pastorius, and a brand new album, A Rise In The Road, that features their newest lineup. The clip seen here in the sixth position is a full set recorded in May 2012 for something called MüpArt, and though Pastorius at that point was still technically a substitute, rather than an official member, he can be heard in the video along with material from the new album.

Last but not least, it's singer Dianne Reeves, who's been a relatively frequent visitor here in recent years, thanks in part to her music director and pianist, St. Louis native Peter Martin. Reeves, Martin, Erin Bode and Denise Thimes all will perform on Friday, September 26 as part of the "Divas For A Cause 3" benefit for Beyond Housing at the Sheldon Concert Hall. This clip features Reeves doing a wordless piece dubbed "Tango Du Jour" that was recorded on International Jazz Day 2013 in Istanbul, backed by Hüsnü Şenlendirici (clarinet), Bilal Karaman (guitar), Zakir Hussain (tabla), James Genus (bass), and Terri Lyne Carrington (drums).

Look for part two of StLJN's fall 2013 jazz preview right here next week.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Jeff Coffin & the Mu’tet to perform at
The Gramophone on Friday, September 20

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin is returning to St. Louis for a performance with his band, the Mu'tet, at 9:00 p.m. Friday, September 20 at The Gramophone.

Coffin (pictured), who lives in Nashville, currently is the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band and formerly played with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

He and the Mu'tet have performed frequently here in St. Louis, mostly recently in a free concert and workshop last August at Saxquest while touring in support of their 2012 album Into The Air.

Tickets for Jeff Coffin and the Mu'Tet at The Gramophone are $15 and are on sale now.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Last Friday's concert by Mars Williams, Darin Gray and Tyler Damon at the St. Louis Art Museum is documented in a photo set on the Facebook page of New Music Circle, which co-sponsored the show.

* Pianist and St. Louis native Tom McDermott (pictured), who played the final date of his current tour last night in St. Louis before returning to New Orleans, was the subject of a profile on "Music Inside Out," which airs on NOLA's NPR affiliate WWNO (89.9 FM).

* Meanwhile, another St. Louis native, saxophonist Eric Person, has put online a performance video of "And Then There Was Light," from his recent big-band album Thoughts on God. Person's big band will deliver their first full-length public performance next Saturday, September 7 at St. Albans Congregational Church in Queens, NYC.

* The Funky Butt Brass Band has put online a recording of their set of Allman Brothers Band covers from a recent performance at Broadway Oyster Bar.

* Saxquest will host "Buffet Clarinet Demo Day" from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday, August 31. Steve Rorie, regional sales manager for Buffet-Crampon, will be on hand, as will the shop's clarinet specialist Audrey Denny and more than 20 Buffet R13 professional clarinets that Saxquest recently added to its stock.

* The upcoming Jazz St. Louis season was previewed by the St. Louis American's Chris King.

* St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) and the American Civil Liberties Union-Eastern Missouri (ACLU) will host an open meeting to discuss street performance in St. Louis at 7:00 p.m. Monday, September 9, at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar. The two groups are seeking community input on the city's street performer permit, as well as performance problems in other parts of the St. Louis metropolitan area.

U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry granted a preliminary injunction on July 30 in the ACLU's case seeking to bar enforcement of a City of St. Louis law requiring performers to audition and purchase a permit and limiting locations for street performances. However, the Court ordered both parties to attempt to resolve the case in mediation, so the case continues.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday's episode of Calvin Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” takes a topical turn for Labor Day, with music about work, money and business from singer Cecile McLorin Salvant, drummer Bobby Previte, pianist Thelonious Monk, and more. The program can be heard on Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

On this Sunday's "Jazz Unlimited," host Dennis Owsley continues his recent series of broadcasts featuring great jazz soloists. This week features tracks from Stephane Grappelli, Paul Gonsalves, Charles Lloyd, Archie Shepp, Arthur Blythe, Dexter Gordon, James Moody, Sonny Stitt, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Anthony Braxton; Don Byron, Dave Douglas, Terell Stafford, Clark Terry, Dave Brubeck, Jason Moran, Mulgrew Miller, Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Jacky Terrason, Jessica Williams, Joe Locke and Stefon Harris. Tune in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays on KWMU (90.7 FM) or online at

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jazz this week: Red Baraat, Gateway Jazz Festival, Tom McDermott, and more

This Labor Day weekend in St. Louis offers fans of jazz and creative music an eclectic mix of sounds from traditional to experimental, with numerous gradations in between. Let's go to the highlights...

On Thursday, "bhangra funk" band Red Baraat (pictured) returns to St. Louis to take the stage at The Gramophone. Led by drummer Sunny Jain, the group's instrumentation resembles a New Orleans brass band, but their music blends in a variety of other sounds, including funk, go-go, and elements from Indian popular music. You can see some videos of them in action in this post from last Saturday.

Also Thursday, the Tavern of Fine Arts presents their monthly "Avant-Garde Arts Night" with live improvised music; and pianist and St. Louis native Tom McDermott, who now lives in New Orleans, will be back home to do a show at the house concert venue Joe's Cafe, 6014 Kingsbury in the Central West End. McDermott is wrapping up a 22-city tour, and for more about that and his latest album, check out the preview story from Terry Perkins in the St. Louis Beacon.

On Friday night,  the available choices include three different male vocalists, as singer Nicholas Brooks offers a "Rat Pack"-themed performance at Robbie's House of Jazz; Joe Mancuso is at Chasers Lounge in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel; and Charlie B and his trio with trumpeter Jim Manley are at Thurman Grill.

Meanwhile, over on the east side, saxophonist Kendrick Smith will lead a trio at Cigar Inn in Belleville, while Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at the Granite City Elks Lodge, 4801 Maryville Rd.

On Saturday, steel guitar players from around the country will be gathering for the annual International Steel Guitar Convention at the Millennium Hotel, where the "Maurice Anderson Jazz Room" will feature free public performances from a half-dozen steel guitarists playing jazz, backed by guitarist Dave Black, bassist Bob DeBoo and drummer Kyle Honeycutt.

Also on Saturday, the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival begins on Laclede's Landing. The event continues on Sunday, with local bands playing on two free stages, plus headliners including Anthony Gomes, Walter Trout, the Rev. Horton Heat, and David Clayton-Thomas on the main stage, which requires a ticket purchase.

On Sunday, in lieu of the end-of-summer picnic they've done in recent years, this Labor Day weekend the St. Louis Jazz Club is presenting the Gateway Jazz Festival at the DoubleTree Hotel - Westport. The event will feature two sessions on Sunday and a daytime session on Monday, with music from Cornet Chop Suey, St. Louis Stompers, Funky Butt Brass Band, St. Louis Ragtimers, Utter Chaos, St. Louis Rivermen, Miss Jubilee, Pat Joyce, and Banjos & Brass.

Also on Sunday, the Friends of Scott Joplin present their monthly "Ragtime Rendezvous" at Dressel's, 419 N Euclid Ave; and the St. Charles Big (Jazz) Band plays a free concert in Frontier Park on the riverfront in St. Charles.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday, in addition to the second day of the Gateway Jazz Festival, guitarists Eric Slaughter and Tom Byrne will lead a quartet at BB's Jazz, Blues & 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.)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Byron Stripling, St. Louis Symphony presenting "The Gospel According to Swing"
on Friday, May 30

Trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling will be making a return trip to St. Louis next year to perform with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 30, 2014 at Powell Symphony Hall.

Stripling, the artistic director and conductor of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, performed his show "Sounds of New Orleans: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong" with the SLSO in June, 2012. He also did an educational residency for Jazz St. Louis and two nights at Jazz at the Bistro in February, 2012. (For more about Stripling and some video samples of his playing, check out this post from last year.)

For his next appearance with the orchestra, which is part of the SLSO's "Live at Powell Hall" series, Stripling (pictured) will offer a program entitled "The Gospel According to Swing," exploring the link between gospel music and jazz through familiar songs such as "Down by the Riverside," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" and "He's Got the Whole World.”

Tickets for Byron Stripling and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra's presentation of "The Gospel According to Swing" are priced from $25 to $55, and are on sale now via the SLSO website.

Dianne Reeves to headline benefit on Thursday, September 26 at The Sheldon

Singer Dianne Reeves will return to St. Louis to headline "Divas For A Cause 3," a benefit event for the local not-for-profit Beyond Housing, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 26 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Reeves (pictured), who last performed at the Sheldon in April of this year, will be accompanied by her longtime musical director, pianist and St. Louis native Peter Martin. Fulfilling the event title's promise of divas, plural, St. Louis-based vocalists Denise Thimes and Erin Bode also will perform.

Founded in 1975, Beyond Housing provides support and services to help low-income families reach their long-term goals.

Concert-only tickets for "Divas For A Cause 3" are $50 per person; for the concert and reception, it's $100 per person. A variety of sponsorship packages, starting at $250 and going all the way up to $10,000, also are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, see the Beyond Housing website.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on Red Baraat

This week, let's turn our video spotlight on Red Baraat, who are returning to St. Louis to play this coming Thursday, August 29 at The Gramophone. Based in Brooklyn and led by drummer Sunny Jain, Red Baraat is a nine-piece group with an instrumentation similar to a New Orleans brass band (two reeds, three percussion, four brass). Having already played The Gramophone back in May, this will be their second St. Louis gig this year.

Red Baraat's "dhol & brass" sound is an infectious mix of South Asian bhangra with American styles like funk, hip-hop and go-go. And though they're playing a modest-sized venue here, their appeal is by no means limited to small clubs; they've performed at NYC's Lincoln Center, the Barbican in London, at major jazz festivals in the U.S. and Europe, and on NPR, for which they recorded the first video clip seen up above.

The clip of the group's Tiny Desk Concert for NPR includes three tunes: "Chaal Baby," "Shruggy Ji," and "Dhol 'n' Brass." Down below, you can see them at a Brooklyn venue called Southpaw playing "Private Dancers."

Below that, it's a tune called "Mehndi Laga Ke Rakhna," recorded in 2011 at the Mercury Lounge in NYC, and then "Tunak Tunak Tun," from their performance at at Lincoln Center's "Midsummer Night Swing & Bhangra."

The fifth clip, "Baraat To Nowhere," was recorded in April 2012 at the Bomhard Theater in Louisville, KY. The sixth and final video, recorded as the group took to the streets of the French Quarter during Mardi Gras 2013, help make explicit the connection between New Orleans brass bands and what Red Baraat does.

Edited after posting to fix a typo.

Friday, August 23, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Bassist Darin Gray answers five questions from the Riverfront Times' Mabel Suen, and has a few words with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson. Gray, saxophonist Mars Williams and drummer Tyler Damon will play a free concert sponsored by New Music Circle tonight outside the St. Louis Art Museum.

* The St. Louis electronic and experimental music scene is the subject of a "Global Ear" feature in the latest issue of the UK magazine The Wire. Although the article isn't available online to non-subscribers, you can see most of it in the photo at left ("sampled" from the Facebook page of Apop Records; click to embiggen) and listen to the accompanying selection of audio tracks here.

* The September episode of HEC-TV's I Love Jazz will feature an interview with singer Marilyn Maye and music from her performance at the Sheldon Concert Hall during the 2013 St. Louis Cabaret Festival. The episode premieres at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, September 12; consult your TV provider's program guide for channel information and a schedule of repeat showings. Once new episodes have premiered, they also can be seen on the HEC-TV website.

* The anniversary of the release of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue was the subject of an essay by Dave Bidini for the National Post (Toronto, CN).

* Meanwhile, the Miles Davis Memorial Project has posted on Facebook an album of photos shot last week at their booth at the Alton Block Party. Joshua Young is the actor playing Davis, greeting passers-by and raising awareness and funds for the effort to place a statue of Davis in downtown Alton.

* If you've ever wondered just what Jazz St. Louis does in the way of education programs for local students, all is revealed in their education brochure, which now has been posted online for your reading enjoyment.

* Best wishes to singer Kim Massie for a speedy recovery from her recent surgery. Massie had a thyroidectomy last week, and according to a Facebook post from her son, is doing well so far. However, since she'll be forced to curtail her busy performing schedule for a while, a number of her fellow St. Louis musicians are staging a benefit concert at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, September 22 at The Sheldon.

Proceeds will go toward Massie's medical and living expenses during her recovery. Performers at the fundraiser will include Denise Thimes, Eric "Guitar" Davis, Anita Jackson, Roland Johnson, Cheryl Brown, and Adrienne Felton. Tickets are $14 and are on sale now via MetroTix.

(Full disclosure: Yr. humble StLJN editor was employed by Massie as her piano player on a number of gigs from 2005 to 2007, and can be heard playing on her CD Attitude.)

* Jazz radio update: The Saturday's edition of Calvin's Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” will feature current tenor saxophonists including Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane and Joe Lovano. After that, Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will present new music from Harry Connick Jr., Pieces Of A Dream, Jeff Lorber Fusion and Joe Lindsay; vintage sounds from George Benson, Horace Silver, Joe Sample and Bob James; and an interview with publicist Dawn DeBlaze.

Wilson's program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. and Church's at 9:00 Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

On Sunday, Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" will feature vintage blues and boogie woogie from Kansas City pianists Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, Jay McShann, Pete Johnson, Julia Lee, and Sammy Price, plus recent recordings from Leo’s Five, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jay Clayton, Tootie Heath, The Clayton Brothers, Ptah Williams, Rich Thompson, Kris Davis, The Bad Plus, Jan Garbarek, and Wayne Shorter. Listen in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Sundays on KWMU (90.7 FM) or online at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jazz this week: Jon Wirtz & Nuskool, Darin Gray with Mars Williams & Tyler Damon, Dave Dickey Big Band, and more

Along with the return of something resembling more typical St. Louis weather for this time of year, this late-summer weekend offers an eclectic selection of live jazz and creative music in and around St. Louis. Let's go to the highlights...

Tonight, the Denver based pianist Jon Wirtz and his trio Nuskool will be in town to perform at Robbie's House of Jazz. Wirtz (pictured) is doing some Midwest dates in support of his recently released album Tourist, which covers territory ranging from funk to Methenyesque fusion to more straight-ahead trio pieces. After years performing mostly as a sideman, he was nominated in 2013 as one of the best Denver artists for the "Best of the Westword Showcase" in the jazz category. You can hear samples of Wirtz's music on his SoundCloud page.

Also tonight, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes are at the Schlafly Bottleworks; singer Erika Johnson fronts a trio at Herbie's Vintage 72;  and drummer Andre Boyd, a St. Louis native who performs with one of the international touring companies of Cirque du Soleil, will present a clinic covering drum techniques and the use of PreSonus software products at Mozingo Music.

Tomorrow night, St. Louis bassist Darin Gray will join forces with saxophonist Mars Williams and drummer Tyler Damon for a concert of improvised music presented by New Music Circle on Art Hill, outside the St. Louis Art Museum. For more on Williams, his involvement in Chicago's busy improv and free jazz scene, and some videos of him in action, check out this post from last week.

Also on Friday, the Funky Butt Brass Band plays a free outdoor concert for the St. Louis Zoo's "Jungle Boogie" series; singer Erin Bode will perform in a free concert at Moody Park in Fairview Heights; Miss Jubilee plays jump blues and swing at the Wine Press; and the Original Knights of Swing will take the stage at the Casa Loma Ballroom

On Saturday, trumpeter Randy Holmes' quintet will play the music of Charlie Parker at Robbie's; singer Feyza Eren will team up with saxophonist Sam Hargadine's quartet at Bar Italia; singer Ann Dueren's trio performs at Il Bel Lago, and the quartet Danbury Street, featuring saxophonist Angie Kraft, plays at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

On Sunday, trombonist Dave Dickey's big band will play their monthly gig at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company, with student group Tenor Madness performing at intermission; and funk/jazz trio The People's Key performs at The Gramophone.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday saxophonist "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will play at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

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

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Metrotix, Fox Theatre offering online pre-sale
of tickets for Harry Connick, Jr.

Attention, fans of Harry Connick Jr.: From 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday August 22, Metrotix will be offering an online-only pre-sale of tickets for Connick Jr.'s concert on Sunday, October 27 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

The New Orleans-born pianist and singer (pictured) will be touring this fall in support of Every Man Should Know, his latest album that was released in June by Columbia Records and features 12 of Connick's original songs.

Tickets for Harry Connick Jr. at the Fox Theatre go on sale to the general public at 10:00 a.m. this Friday, August 23. To access the pre-sale, go to the Metrotix site and when prompted, enter the promo code EVERYMAN.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Wee Trio to release Live at the Bistro
on Tuesday, September 17; tour to include three St. Louis dates

The Wee Trio, featuring St. Louis native Dan Loomis on bass, will release their new album Live at the Bistro on Tuesday, September 17.

Recorded on February 8 and 9 of this year at Jazz at the Bistro in St. Louis, the album is the fourth for the group, which also includes vibraphonist James Westfall and drummer Jared Schonig.

In conjunction with the release of Live at the Bistro,  The Wee Trio will embark on a fall tour that will include three performances in the St. Louis area -  on Monday, September 23 at The Principia (Loomis' alma mater); Tuesday, September 24 at Jefferson College; and Wednesday, September 25 at Chaminade High School.

"This record is really about us wanting to 'bottle' the live experience of The Wee Trio and share it with our fans,." said Loomis in a news release. The bassist expressed similar sentiments when he talked with StLJN earlier this year about the recording of the album; you can read that interview here.

Described as "the most musically complete Wee Trio recording to date," Live at the Bistro is on the group's own Bionic Records label, and includes original arrangements of the standards "Cherokee" and "There Is No Greater Love"; compositions from each of their previous three recordings; and brand-new originals "Sabotage" (written by Schonig), "White Trash Blues" and "New Earth" (Westfall) and "Ranthem" (Loomis).

No details have been released yet about tickets for The Wee Trio's St. Louis shows, but as soon as the information becomes available, StLJN will have it for you right here.

UPDATE - 8/26/13, 6:45 a.m.: Turns out that The Wee Trio's performance at Principia is a private event, but ticket information for the other two dates is as follows:

The Jefferson College show will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 24 at the college's Fine Arts Theatre, 1000 Viking Dr. on the campus in Hillsboro. Tickets are
$5 for general admission, $2 for students and seniors, and are available at

The concert at Chaminade College Prep begins at 7:30 p.m. in the school's Skip Viragh Center for the Arts, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The Wee Trio also will give a pre-concert talk starting at 6:45 p.m.. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and will be available starting in September at

Monday, August 19, 2013

Webster University announces
2013-14 jazz concert schedule

The music department at Webster University has announced their schedule of Monday night jazz concerts for 2013-14.

The series will kick off with a tribute to Cannonball Adderly at 7:00 p.m. Monday, September 9 in Winifred Moore Auditorium on the Webster campus, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.

The performance will feature songs associated with Adderly such as “Unit Seven,” “Jive Samba,” “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Sack O’ Woe,” performed by an ensemble including Paul DeMarinis (pictured, saxophones), Keith Moyer (trumpet), Steve Schenkel (guitar), Kim Portnoy (piano), Willem von Hombracht (bass), Kevin Gianino (drums) and Debby Lennon (vocals).

Here's the complete schedule for the year:

Monday, September 9: A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley
Monday, September 16: Four in One: The Thelonious Monk Project
Monday, September 23: Paul DeMarinis & Friends with DeMarinis (saxophones), Dave Black (guitar), Ben Wheeler (bass) and Kyle Honeycutt (drums).
Monday, October 28: TKT Scholarship Benefit Concert
Monday, November 18: Webster Jazz Collective

Monday, January 27: TBA
Monday, February 3: Black History Month Concert
Monday, February 10: Kim Portnoy Ensemble
Monday, February 24: Webster Jazz Collective
Monday, March 17: Shepard/Davis Scholarship Benefit Concert

All Monday night faculty concerts begin at 7:00 p.m. and take place in Moore Auditorium. Tickets for most concerts are $5 for general admission; $3 for seniors; free for students.

Tickets for the TKT concert will be $20 $10 general admission; free for Webster faculty, staff, & students, and for the Shepard/Davis concert, $10 general admission; $5 seniors; free for Webster faculty, staff, and students. The two Webster Jazz Collective concerts are priced at $3 general admission; free for faculty, staff and students. For more information, call 314-647-1415.

In addition to the concert series featuring Webster's faculty members, the University also will present a seminar by famed alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, October 10 in the recital hall on campus. Donaldson will be in town that week to perform with his quartet at Jazz at the Bistro.

Lastly, Webster also has released the schedule of student jazz performances for the year. The student jazz combos will present performances for the fall semester on November 4 and 11, and in the spring on March 31 and April 7. The free concerts start at 7:00 p.m. in Room #10 of Webster's Community Music School, 535 Garden Ave.

The university's student jazz singers will present their fall performance on December 8 and their spring concert on April 21. Both concerts take place at 7:00 p.m. in Moore Auditorium, with admission at $3 for the general public, free for students, faculty and staff.

Edited 10/11/13 to correct the ticket price of the TKT Scholaship concert.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
The Mars explorer

Today, let's look at some videos featuring saxophonist Mars Williams, who's coming to St. Louis to team with bassist Darin Gray and drummer Tyler Damon for a concert at 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 23 at the St. Louis Art Museum. The event is sponsored by SLAM and New Music Circle.

Williams, who grew up in the Chicago area and studied with Roscoe Mitchell and Anthony Braxton, is a versatile player who first became known to rock fans as a member of the early 1980s "new wave" band the Waitresses. He's kept a foot in the rock world as a longtime member of the Psychedelic Furs, but spends much of his time performing with a variety of jazz and creative music ensembles, ranging from the funk-jazz band Liquid Soul to the free jazz and improvised music of Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble, Ken Vandermark, Peter Brotzmann, and his own groups.

Given the nature of free improv, there's obviously no way to offer a preview of any specific pieces that Williams, Gray and Damon will play next week. But one certainly can get some insight into a player's sound and tendencies, favorite strategies, pet licks, and so on from similar performances, and so today, we present a half-dozen videos that show Williams improvising with small ensembles.

First up, there are a couple of clips from 2011 showing Williams leading a trio at the Project Lodge in Madison, WI, with fellow Chicagoan Kent Kessler on bass and the Norwegian percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love.

The third video shows Williams with what then was called the Scorch Trio, now known simply as Scorch, and consisting of Williams, guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, bassist Ingebrigt H. Flaten and percussionist Frank Rosaly.

The fourth clip shows Williams, Brotzmann, and trumpeter Peter Evans, in an excerpt from a performance with drummer Michael Wertmuller's Wertmuller Project in 2008 at the Berlin Jazz Fest. The fifth clip is another excerpt from same show, shot from a different position with a bit of camera shake, but with good audio quality.

The final video is an excerpt from the debut performance of Williams' quartet Switchback, recorded in March of this year at a show in Belgium. In addition to Williams, the group includes Waclaw Zimpel on alto and soprano clarinet, Hilliard Greene on bass and Klaus Kugel on percussion.

Friday, August 16, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* KDHX has posted on their site some photos shot by Joanna Kleine of last Friday's Snarky Puppy show at the Old Rock House.

* Speaking of photo sets, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra has posted one to their Facebook page featuring pix from their concert last week at Kirkwood Park.

* Former St. Louisan Reggie Thomas, now teaching jazz at Michigan State University, will be the pianist in the band backing contestants in the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, which will be held on September 15 and 16 in Washington DC.

* Drummer Rob Silverman and keyboardist Mike Silverman of Bach to the Future, Silverman Productions and Autumn Hill Records have released a new digital single on iTunes, a version of Paul Desmond's "Take Five," that features performances from famous friends Eric Marienthal on sax, John Patittucci on bass and Randy Brecker on trumpet.

* And speaking of getting famous, Mark Colenburg's national profile continues to rise, the most recent evidence being a promotional video in which the drummer and St. Louis native (pictured) talks about his endorsement deal with Yamaha.

* Would you like $50 worth of free stuff from Saxquest? Well, all you have to do is enter and win this month's saxophone trivia contest on their website.

* The Sheldon Concert Hall still is accepting entries in the songwriting contest they're sponsoring in conjunction with the STL250 celebration. The winning composer of a St. Louis inspired song gets a cash prize, a performance at First Night in Grand Center, Inc and more. Get the details at

* Saint Louis University is sponsoring the first annual Kwame Foundation Jazz Composition Competition for high school seniors and college students. The top three scores in each division get a performance and recording of their composition at a concert next year. The high school winner also will receive a $2,000 scholarship to SLU, and the college division winner gets a $500 cash prize.

The competition is open to all students and is not limited to music majors. Submissions must be received before September 1, and can be made online as Finale or PDF files at For more details, visit the site or email

* The Miles Davis Memorial Project will have a booth at the Alton Block Party this Saturday, August 17. Volunteers will be sharing information about the statue of Miles Davis planned for downtown Alton, and selling commemorative bricks to pay for it. In addition, actor Joshua Young will be on hand to portray Davis.

The Project will operate a similar booth at the Alton Farmers' & Artisans' Market from 8:00 a. m. to noon on Saturday, August 31. The commemorative bricks, which will be installed in the area surrounding the statue, also can be purchased via the website of Pride, Inc and in person or by mail from the organization's offices at 5800 Godfrey Road, Godfrey, IL 62035.

* Jazz radio update: Over at the Radio Arts Foundation - St. Louis, Saturday's edition of Calvin Wilson's “Somethin’ Else” highlights jazz interpretations of popular music, with artists including pianist Vijay Iyer, drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts and guitarist Charlie Hunter offering their takes on tunes from Pink Floyd to Radiohead.

That same evening, Jason Church's "The Jazz Collective" will offer a tribute to George Duke, plus music from Jeff Lorber Fusion, The Brand New Heavies, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, the Brian Vaccaro Trio, Jim Manley, Tim Cunningham and Hugh 'Peanuts' Whalum.

Wilson's program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. and Church's at 9:00 Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jazz this week: Fumee Gypsy Project,
T.J. Borden, Tuesday Night Swing Dance,
and more

This week's jazz and creative music visitors to St. Louis include a gypsy jazz band from Chicago and an experimental cello player from New York.

Add in a busy lineup of gigs from local musicians, and the calendar for the next few days includes plenty of options for the discerning listener. Let's go to the highlights:

Today, if you're downtown during the lunch hour, you can catch a free performance of funky soul-jazz from the Jim Stevens Group as they play outside the Old Post Office and 8th & Olive.

Then tonight, Dizzy Atmosphere plays gypsy jazz and swing at The Shaved Duck, and singer Feyza Eren performs at Joe's Cafe, the "house concert" venue at 6010 Kingsbury Ave in the Central West End.

Tomorrow night, Wack-A-Doo will swing the Boathouse in Forest Park, while the Jazz Co-Laboratory, with trombonist John Covelli, bassist Ben Wheeler and drummer Joe Pastor, will be playing the music of Wayne Shorter at the Tavern of Fine Arts.

Also on Friday, drummer Kaleb Kirby brings a quartet to Robbie's House of Jazz; Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will perform at Thurman Grill; and saxophonist Austin Cebulski leads a trio with Matt Villinger on organ and Micah Walker on drums at Cigar Inn.

On Saturday, the Fumee Gypsy Project (pictured), a young Chicago-based group fronted by singer Christy Bennett, will make their St. Louis debut at Robbie's House of Jazz. Also on Saturday, Miss Jubilee performs at Grappa Grill in St. Charles, and singer Danita Mumphard returns to Jazz on Broadway in Alton.

Update: 4:00 a.m., 8/16/13: A post on Miss Jubilee's Facebook page says Saturday's gig at Grappa Grill is cancelled, as the place has closed (rather abruptly, it would seem).  

If you can't catch them on Saturday night, the Fumee Gypsy Project also will be playing for Sunday brunch at the Rustic Goat. Also on Sunday, saxophonist Readus Miller has begun a recurring brunch gig at Patrick's at Westport Plaza (now back to its original name after several years as the namesake restaurant of departed St. Louis Cardinal Albert Pujols).

Then on Sunday evening, Tim Cunningham will be at Troy's Jazz Gallery, while the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center will present a program of experimental music headlined by cellist T. J. Borden, plus "Pitiful Statement" feat John Beabout, NNN Cook, and John Cage: One.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday trumpeter Keith Moyer brings his group back to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups, and on Tuesday, Lindy Hop St. Louis presents their monthly Tuesday Night Swing Dance, this time featuring music from Coco Rico, at the Grandel Theatre.

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, August 14, 2013

Tom Kennedy releases new album Just Play

Bassist and St. Louis native Tom Kennedy has released a new CD titled Just Play on the Colorado-based indie label Capri Records.

The album (pictured) is Kennedy's fourth release as a leader, and features him on acoustic bass, along with fellow St. Louis native Dave Weckl on drums.

The rest of the cast includes the stellar guitarists Mike Stern and Lee Ritenour, as well as pianist Renee Rosnes, saxophonists George Garzone and Steve Wirts, trumpeter Tim Hagans, and trombonist John Allred.

They take on a program of eight standards, including "Airegin," "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes," "In A Sentimental Mood" and "What Is This Thing Called Love," plus Stern's original "One Liners."

The album is dedicated to Kennedy's brother Ray, a pianist and composer best known for his work with singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli. The Kennedy brothers also performed and recorded together from childhood until 2008, when Ray was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Just Play is available now in CD format, with digital release to follow. You can read a review of the album by Edward Blanco of here.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Copland, Peacock & Baron to perform
Friday, December 6 at 560 Music Center

The trio of pianist Marc Copland, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Joey Baron will perform at 8:00 p.m. Friday, December 6 at the 560 Music Center.

The performance will take place in the center's E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall and is presented by the Washington University Music Department.

Copland and Peacock (pictured, top left) played here in St. Louis with drummer Bill Stewart in February 2009 at the same venue. The pianist, inspired early in his career by the legacy of Bill Evans, has gone on to tour and record with a variety of top musicians including John Abercrombie, Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, Hank Crawford, Art Farmer, Curtis Fuller, Tom Harrell, Eddie Harris, Harold Land and Blue Mitchell, Dave Liebman, Bob Mintzer, and Sonny Stitt.

Peacock originally was associated with the avant garde, thanks to his early work in the 1960s with saxophonist Albert Ayler and pianist Paul Bley, but he's also led his own groups and been part of pianist Keith Jarrett's long-running "standards" trio that also includes drummer Jack DeJohnette.

Baron (pictured, below left) is best known for his work with John Zorn and Bill Frisell, but also has played with Stan Getz, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Jim Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Bowie, Tony Bennett, Laurie Anderson, Al Jarreau, and others.

Tickets for the the Copland/Peacock/Baron trio are $25 general admission, $15 for seniors and Washington University faculty/staff, $5 for students, and are on sale now via the Edison Theater's box office.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Remembering George Duke

Today, we keep our usual St. Louis-centric format on pause for one more week to pay tribute to keyboardist George Duke, who died this past Monday, August 5 at age 67.

Though Duke, a native Californian, had no direct personal connection to our town, he played many gigs here over the years, the last being two years ago at the Touhill with St. Louis' own David Sanborn and bassist Marcus Miller. And although it's not the usual practice here to eulogize every major jazz musician who passes away - if it were, some weeks the site would be mostly obits - Duke was a longtime personal favorite of yr. editor, and what's the use of having your own website if you can't bend the format every once in a while, right?

Known as a successful producer of pop and R&B acts as well as a highly regarded keyboardist in styles from straight ahead and Latin jazz to fusion and funk, Duke died from a type of leukemia, for which he apparently had been receiving treatments for some time but hadn't talked about much in public. In fact, at the time of his death, he was actively promoting a new album, Dreamweaver, released just a few weeks ago.

While a thorough overview of his life and many accomplishments are really beyond the scope of this post, the pieces published this past week by Down Beat and Jazz Times do a good job of covering the basics. Instead, before we get to the videos, there are two personal observations I'd like to share.

The first is that, many years ago when I was first trying to learn about jazz and how to play with other musicians, hearing George Duke helped me to understand that being a good player wasn't just about having chops or being able to play a lot of fast licks. Duke could do that, but he also was willing and able to play something very simple, like the doo-wop style piano triplets found in some of Frank Zappa's songs, if that's what best suited the material.

That ability - to do something simple if it served the song - not only was key to Duke's crossover success, it's a useful skill for any working musician, and an example that proved valuable to me personally, too.

The second thing is even simpler: In a world where many musicians make a point of taking themselves and their work very seriously, George Duke always looked like he was having fun. People liked him for that, perhaps as much as they liked him for his considerable musical skills, and it helped make his work more accessible to a wider audience without compromising his image among his peers as a serious, well-respected musician

Since he had such a long career and played with so many well-known artists, there are many videos of George Duke online - so many that a truly comprehensive sampling probably would take at least half-dozen posts like this one. What we can can do, though, is share at least a few representative examples.

We start up top with a full set of music recorded live in July 1976 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. This was during the period when Duke was co-leading a band with drummer Billy Cobham, who at the time had been quite commercially successful with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and his first couple of recordings as a leader. The band also includes bassist Alphonso Johnson, who had been a member of Weather Report, and guitarist John Scofield, who's gone on to stardom in his own right but then was just beginning his career.

A couple of years later, Duke was going it alone as a bandleader, as seen down below in a clip that documents the recording of his first real solo hit "Dukey Stick" in 1978. By then, he had started singing on his records in addition to playing keyboards, and had assembled a sympathetic and versatile band, with Byron Miller on bass, Leon 'Ndugu' Chancler and future pop star Sheila E. on drums and percussion, former Zappa sideman Napoleon Murphy Brock on sax and vocals, singers Josie James and Muffy Hendrix, and guitarist Charles 'Icarus' Johnson.

By the time today's third video - another full set recorded in 1983 in Tokyo - was made, songs like "Dukey Stick" and "Reach For It" had helped Duke achieve a level of popular success that few jazz musicians ever reach, and the larger band and more elaborate presentation reflect that.

The fourth clip brings us into into the present decade with one more full set, this time from the 2011 Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, reflecting the current state of Duke's solo shows at the time of his death.

To close out, there are a couple of shorter videos that help to illuminate aspects of George Duke's musical personality. The clip in the fifth slot, recorded earlier this year for Keyboard magazine, shows Duke giving a tour of his personal studio.

And the sixth and final clip goes all the way back to 1975 1974, during Duke's stint with Zappa, and features him in an unidentified concert a concert recorded at KCET in Los Angeles, improvising a spontaneous solo spot that combines several keyboards, singing and dancing and nicely demonstrates both his inventiveness and his willingness to have a good time on stage.

R.I.P. George Duke, and thanks for all the music. You will be missed.

Updated 8/11/13 to correct the date and add the location for the last video. Thanks to reader Spencer Anon for the info.

Friday, August 09, 2013

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Two musical conventions are coming to St. Louis this month, starting with the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (SPAH), which will hold its 50th anniversary confab from Tuesday, August 13 to Saturday, August 17 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel.

There's an interesting article that touches on SPAH and the convention, but mostly focuses on how members modify stock harmonicas for their own purposes, in Collector's Weekly here.

* Later in the month, the International Steel Guitar Convention, held the weekend of August 29-31 at the Millennium Hotel, will give local listeners a free opportunity to hear jazz music played on steel guitar.

From 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 31, the convention's "Maurice Anderson Jazz Room" will featuring seven steel players performing jazz and standards backed by a local rhythm section. The featured guitarists will include Mike Sweeney, Russ Wever, Doug Jernigan, Sid Hudson, Jim Cohen, and Dave Easley. Though there's a fee to attend most of the convention events, the jazz room is open to the public and is free of charge.

* Saxophonist Jeff Coffin, currently with the Dave Matthews Band and formerly of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, lives in Nashville, but he's such a fan of St. Louis' Saxquest that he recently brought several fellow saxophonists from his hometown all the way up here to check it out.

* Down Beat magazine's 78th annual Readers Poll continues, and if you haven't voted yet, you can cast your ballot for your favorite musicians, bands and recordings here. The poll ends next Friday, August 16.

* Best wishes to bassist Bob DeBoo, who's on the mend from hand surgery after being injured in an accident while on vacation last week in Pennsylvania. According to a post on his Facebook page, DeBoo was sitting on a tree swing with his wife and daughter when a limb gave way, and his right hand was injured in the fall. Fortunately, doctors were able to repair the damage upon his return to St. Louis, and DeBoo says he expects a complete recovery.

* Jazz St. Louis is looking for a "teaching artist" to join the faculty of their JazzU program. It's an independent contractor job that involves weekly sessions teaching improvisation to middle and high school students in a small group setting. For more information on the job requirements and how to apply, see

* In other Jazz St. Louis news, the organization's board of directors elected a new president at their final meeting of fiscal 2013: Marian Nunn, chief financial and operating officer of THF Realty. A graduate of St. Louis University, where she also is an adjunct professor in the entrepreneurship program, Nunn also has been on the boards of several other local not-for-profits, including a stint as president of Cultural Festivals, producers of the St. Louis Art Fair (and the defunct St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival.) She succeeds philanthropist Pam Trapp, who served as JSL board president for the past four years.

* To raise money for their upcoming season and beyond, New Music Circle is sponsoring a Trivia Night on Saturday, August 24 at the Kerr Foundation on Laclede's Landing.

* Single tickets on sale go at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, August 10 for shows in the Sheldon Concert Hall's 2013-14 season, and at 10:00 a.m. next Tuesday, August 13 for Jazz St. Louis' upcoming season of performances at Jazz at the Bistro. The ticket agency for both presenters is Metrotix.

* Applications are now being accepted for the first round of the Regional Arts Commission's new Artists Fellowships, through which RAC will award a total of ten $20,000 grants to St. Louis artists from various disciplines. Applications are due by Tuesday, August 27; for details on how to apply, and an online form, go to

There's also a "How to Apply" workshop at 5:30 p.m. this coming Monday, August 12 at the RAC offices, 6128 Delmar. If you want to attend, RSVP by email to roseann @ stlrac dot org or call 314-863-5811 ext 48.

* Jazz radio update: This Saturday's episode of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" looks at one of jazz's most revered and royal figures, spotlighting the compositions of Duke Ellington (pictured) through recordings by pianist Allen Toussaint, singer Rebecca Martin, and Ellington himself. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays on 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Then on Sunday, the next edition of Dennis Owsley's "Jazz Unlimited" features great jazz soloists from throughout the music's history, from “King” Oliver, Fats Waller and Bix Beiderbecke to David Murray, Ornette Coleman and Wayne Shorter. You can listen in from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every Sunday on KWMU (90.7 FM) or online at

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Jazz this week: Snarky Puppy, a tribute to Marvin Gaye, Route 66 Jazz Orchestra, Don Schroeder's Happy Go Lucky Jazz Band, and more

Though the "dog days" of summer have arrived in St. Louis so far mostly without the traditional blistering heat and soupy humidity, they still bring the usual annual slowdown in the number of touring jazz musicians passing through St. Louis.

However, there's still live jazz and creative music out there to be found all over the area - if you know where to look. And so, let's go to the highlights... 

Tonight, Good 4 The Soul will back singer Brian Owens in a performance of the music of Marvin Gaye at the Sheldon Concert Hall, and singer Joe Mancuso continues his run of Thursday nights at Cafe Eau in the Chase Park Plaza Hotel.

The week's big headliner arrives on Friday, when the jazz/funk/Latin/worldbeat ensemble Snarky Puppy (pictured, with special guest James T. Kirk at center) plays at the Old Rock House. It's the group's third St. Louis appearance in the last year, and you can find out more about them and see and hear samples of some performances in this post, which ran before their most recent gig here in May. The band's bassist and leader Michael League also talked with the Post-Dispatch's Calvin Wilson for a short preview article on the show, which you can read online here.

Also on Friday, Bach to the Future plays a free outdoor concert at Creve Coeur Park; guitarist Dave Black and saxophonist Paul DeMarinis will duet at the Tavern of Fine Arts; saxophonist Kendrick Smith leads a trio at Cigar Inn; and the Funky Butt Brass Band performs at the Broadway Oyster Bar, featuring a late night set of Allman Brothers Band covers (!).

On Saturday, saxophonist Tim Cunningham plays an afternoon gig at the Mount Pleasant Estates winery out in Augusta.

Then on Saturday evening, the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra will perform in a free outdoor concert at Kirkwood Park; Miss Jubilee plays at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood; and singer Sarah Jane Ulrich takes the stage at Robbie's House of Jazz, this time without her Blue Notes, but with a cast of friends including Jerry Greene on saxophones, Joe Bozzi on vibes and trumpet, Tim Garcia on piano, and Mark Hochberg on bass and violin.

On Sunday, your "jazz brunch" options include guitarist Tom Byrne and reedman Sam Hagardine at Bar Italia, and trumpeter Jim Manley and keyboardist Mark Friedricks at Jimmy's Cafe on the Park. That afternoon, the St. Louis Jazz Club presents a matinee of traditional jazz from drummer Don Schroeder's Happy Go Lucky Jazz Band at Bel-Air Bowl in Belleville.

And looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the Sessions Big Band checks in at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups for their every-other-month gig there.

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, August 07, 2013

Ahleuchatistas headlining "Wrong Division" anniversary on Saturday, September 28 at Schlafly Tap Room

The experimental music duo Ahleuchatistas (pictured) will headline a free, all-ages show celebrating the fifth anniversary of KDHX's "Wrong Division" program at 9:00 p.m. Saturday, September 28 at the Schlafly St. Louis Brewery and Tap Room. Also on the bill will be Yowie, Gnarwhal and Good Luck at the Hog Slaughter.

Described as a "math rock duo that mix influences of jazz, progressive rock, avant-garde, and experimental," Ahleuchatistas - a.k.a. guitarist Shane Perlowin and drummer Ryan Oslance - first came together in 2002 in Asheville, NC. They've released seven albums in total, the last three for the noted avant label Cuneiform Records, including 2012's Heads Full of Poison.

Originally known as "Spazztick Radio" when it debuted in August 2008, "Wrong Division" airs weekly on KDHX (88.1 FM) from 1:00 a.m to 3:00 a.m. Fridays, and features "experimental music, abrasive punk and weirdo hardcore." "Wrong Division" hosts Mabel and Joe also have a blog by the same name that tracks upcoming St. Louis shows in those genres.

Johnny Boyd to swing into Casa Loma Ballroom on Friday, September 20

Retro-swing singer Johnny Boyd is coming to St. Louis to perform at 8:30 p.m. Friday, September 20 at the Casa Loma Ballroom.

The former front man for the band Indigo Swing will be touring the Midwest in support of his third solo album, Never Been Blue. Boyd (pictured) also will be playing material from his old band publicly for the first time in 12 years. St. Louis' own Miss Jubilee will open the show.

Early exponents of the 1990s swing revival, Indigo Swing were formed in San Francisco and at their peak were playing 250 to 300 dates a year as headliners and as opening act for the Brian Setzer Orchestra. After a self-produced debut recording, they released two nationally distributed albums on Time Bomb Recordings before Boyd left to pursue a solo career.

Tickets for Johnny Boyd at the Casa Loma Ballroom are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and are on sale now via Brown Paper Tickets.

Boyd and the Casa Loma also are offering a "Swing Lover VIP" package for $50, which includes a ticket, a t-shirt, stickers, postcards, and an autographed Never Been Blue CD. And there's also an "Ultimate Swing Lover VIP for 2," priced at $225, that includes two "Swing Lover VIP" packages, plus autographed copies of Boyd's back catalog (six CDs) and "a drink with Johnny backstage!!!"

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

William Cepeda to perform Friday, October 18 at Sheldon Concert Hall

Trombonist William Cepeda is coming to St. Louis to perform at 8:00 p.m. Friday, October 18 at the Sheldon Concert Hall.

Born in Puerto Rico, Cepeda (pictured) is a protege of the late Dizzy Gillespie and has toured as part of the trumpeter's United Nations Orchestra.

As a leader, Cepeda has released eight albums and toured internationally, performing at major jazz festivals including Montreux and NorthSea. His sound is described as "an innovative blend of world music, progressive jazz and traditional Afro-Puerto Rican roots and folk music and dance."

Tickets for William Cepeda at the Sheldon Concert Hall are $35 orchestra, $30 balcony, and will go on sale at 10:00 a.m. this Saturday, August 10 via Metrotix and the Sheldon box office.

Jon Wirtz, Roseanna Vitro coming to Robbie's House of Jazz

Two new bookings of touring musicians have been announced by Robbie's House of Jazz.

* Pianist Jon Wirtz and Nuskool will perform at the club at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, August 22.

According to the press release, the Denver-based keyboardist has "shared the stage with artists including Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Robbie Krieger (The Doors), Melissa Etheridge, Joe Bonner, Justin Timberlake, and many others."

Wirtz's groove-conscious trio Nuskool, which incorporates influences from hip-hop, R&B and folk, also includes Daniel Hogans on drums and Tyson Ailshie on bass. Tickets for Jon Wirtz and NuSkool will be $10 for general admission, $5 for students with ID.

* Singer Roseanna Vitro will perform at Robbie's at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 7.

Vitro (pictured) will be backed by pianist Kim Portnoy's trio, and will perform material drawn from her back catalog of 12 solo CDs; her most recent, Grammy nominated 2012 album The Music of Randy Newman; and her upcoming CD Clarity, the Music of Clare Fischer, a tribute to the late pianist and composer.

In addition to recording and touring, Vitro has been chair of the vocal jazz program at New Jersey City University since 1998 and also teaches vocal jazz at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Tickets for Roseanna Vitro at Robbie's House of Jazz are $10 in advance when purchased though Robbie's website; the news release for the show did not disclose a door price.

While Vitro is in St. Louis, she also will perform as part of a tribute concert honoring the late jazz DJ Ross Gentile at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, September 8, at the Meridian Ballroom in SIU Edwardsville's Morris University Center.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Newport Jazz Festival moments

With the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival happening this weekend, this edition of our video showcase pays tribute to one of jazz's longest-lived and best-known events by looking at some choice performances given there by various jazz greats over the years.

The first video is actually a full-length movie: Jazz On A Summer's Day, the film about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival by Bert Stern that generally is considered the first important jazz documentary. It features performances by Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Gerry Mulligan, Dinah Washington, Chico Hamilton, Anita O'Day, George Shearing, Jimmy Giuffre, Chuck Berry, Jack Teagarden, Thelonious Monk, Big Maybelle and numerous others.

Down below, it's Newport Jazz Festival 1962, a less well-known documentary with music from Count Basie, Johnny Hodges, Oscar Peterson, Clara Ward, Pee Wee Russell, Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Roland Kirk, and Duke Ellington.

Below that, there's a clip featuring the Giants of Jazz, an all-star aggregation assembled in the early 1970s for a couple of albums and tours that included Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Thelonious Monk (piano), Sonny Stitt (saxophones), Kai Winding (trombone), Art Blakey (drums) and Al McKibbon (bass). They're seen here playing Monk's "Round Midnight" at the 1971 Newport Jazz Festival.

Next, we find guitarist and singer George Benson teamed with the Count Basie Orchestra at the 1990 festival, performing "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Basie's Bag."

The fifth clip pairs two friends, pianist George Shearing and singer Mel Torme, for a medley of tunes that looks to have been recorded sometime in the early to mid- 90s.

The final video features singer Tony Bennett, who's celebrating his 87th birthday today, and the late pianist Dave Brubeck performing the standard "That Old Black Magic" at the 2010 Newport Jazz Festival.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Mars Williams, Darin Gray and Tyler Damon
to play free concert on Friday, August 23
at St. Louis Art Museum

Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams will team up with St. Louis bassist Darin Gray and drummer Tyler Damon for an concert of improvised music at 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 23 on Art Hill outside the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The event is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by New Music Circle and the museum's Outdoor Music Series.

Gray is one of the St. Louis area's best-known representatives on the national free-improvised music scene, while Williams (pictured) has bridged the gap from new wave and punk to free jazz in a varied career that has include work with the Waitresses and Psychedelic Furs as well as Liquid Soul, the late Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble, Ken Vandermark, and Peter Brotzmann.

Gray calls Damon, who's from Bloomington, IN, "a great listener...capable of responding in subtle and dynamic ways, while still being being able to play with a tremendous energy that pushes the music forward. For me, he is the up-and-coming young drummer in the Midwest."

In the case of bad weather, updates about the concert will be available on SLAM's website, Facebook and Twitter and by calling 314-655-5345.

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* If you missed trumpeter Kermit Ruffins when he was in St. Louis last week to play at The Gramophone, you're in luck.

While Ruffins was here, he made it into the studios of KDHX to do some recording, and you also can see pictures from his Wednesday night gig online at the site of photographer Tim Bottchen.

* From the the "Shows we'd like to see in St. Louis" file, saxophonist and former St. Louisan Oliver Lake, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille - known collectively as Trio 3 - will team up with pianist Vijay Iyer next Wednesday through Saturday for a gig at Birdland in NYC.

* Snarky Puppy's performance Monday night at the Manchester Jazz Festival in England was reviewed by Adrian Pallan of London Jazz News. The band (pictured) will play here in St. Louis next Friday, August 9 at the Old Rock House.

* A post on St. Louis magazine's Look/Listen blog recounts recent progress towards putting up a statue honoring Miles Davis in his birthplace of Alton, IL.

Meanwhile, the folks behind the statue, the Miles Davis Memorial Project, are looking for volunteers to work information booths on August 17 at the Alton Block Party and August 31 at The Alton Farmers' & Artisans' Market. Prospective volunteers can call 618-467-2375 or contact board member Derrick Richardson via email at derrickdrichardson at gmail dot com.

* Drummer and St. Louis native Mark Colenburg, who's currently playing with the Robert Glasper Experiment among others, has signed an endorsement deal with Remo. Glasper's next album Black Radio Volume 2 will be released on October 29.

* The Ozark Theatre in Webster Groves is booking music acts for the fall. For more information and available dates/times, call owner Dan Stevens at 314-962-7000.

* Saxquest is encouraging St. Louis players to enter Keilwerth's "Saxophone Idol" contest, in which saxophonists will compete before a panel of judges including famed tenor man Ernie Watts. The prize package include a Keilwerth sax; mouthpiece and reeds from Van Doren; subscription to Down Beat; and a chance to perform with Watts at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago. The entry deadline is September 30.

* Jazz radio update: This week's episode of Calvin Wilson's "Somethin' Else" will feature blues-influenced music from singer Cassandra Wilson, drummer Joey Baron and saxophonist J.D. Allen. The program can be heard at 8:00 p.m. Saturdays via 107.3 FM, 96.3 HD-2 and online at

Meanwhile, NPR will be broadcasting live this weekend from the Newport Jazz Festival from noon to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4. This year's Newport fest features performances from Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, and more.