It's Mardi Gras weekend in St. Louis, and though the "official" Mardi Gras events in recent years have tended to feature rock cover bands and DJs rather than jazz and blues, there will be plenty of jazz and creative music around town this week, if you know where to look.
For the Funky Butt Brass Band, St. Louis' best known exponents of the New Orleans brass band sound, the next few days are the equivalent of the week before Christmas for Santa Claus' various helpers and stand-ins. The FBBB will kick off the weekend this evening at Blues City Deli's King Cake Party, then team up with NOLA R&B/zydeco tribute band Gumbohead for gigs on Saturday at the Old Rock House and Tuesday at the Broadway Oyster Bar.
Elsewhere around town tonight, singer Marissa Mulder(pictured) makes her St. Louis debut as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, performing her show "The Songs of Tom Waits" at the Gaslight Theater. Mulder will do the show twice more, on Friday and Saturday, while the Gaslight Cabaret Festival continues weekends through April 26. .
Also tonight, singer Denise Thimes performs at the Ethical Society of St. Louis; pianist Ptah Williams' trio will play a free concert featuring the music of Chick Corea for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; and the Tavern of Fine Arts will present their monthly "Experimental Arts Open Improv Night" with live improvised music from keyboardist Jim Hegarty, flute player Fred Tompkins, and others.
Tomorrow night, Jazz St. Louis will hold their annual benefit gala at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Clayton, featuring the legendary funk saxophonist Maceo Parker as the headline entertainment, plus dinner, drinks, a silent auction, and more. As of this writing, there still are some tickets available, starting at $400 per person; call 314-289-4034 for details.
Then on Saturday evening, Roger Ingram, known as lead trumpeter for Harry Connick Jr.'s big band and as as jazz educator much in demand, will be the featured guest performer at this year's Mineral Area College Jazz Festival down in Park Hills.
On Sunday, the St. Louis Record Collector and CD Show will hold their first event of the year - January's show was canceled due to bad weather - at the usual location, the American Czech Hall at 4690 Lansdowne in south St. Louis.
(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.)
(Updated after posting with info on the Russell Gunn show.)