Friday, March 21, 2014

So What: Local News, Notes & Links

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

* Multi-instrumentalist and composer Marty Ehrlich was on NPR's "Fresh Air" this week to talk about Trumpet In The Morning, his new album of orchestral music (pictured).

* Drummer Dave Weckl will take off in May to the Great White North, where he'll do a series of daylong drum clinics in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Laval, Quebec; Toronto, Ontario; Edmonton, Alberta; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

* Two local music festivals announced their schedules this week, each with what can only be described as a token presence for jazz. Pianist Peter Martin will kick off the 2014 Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden with a free concert on Wednesday, June 4. However, the rest of the schedule for the series that began years ago as "Jazz in June" is sadly bereft of the genre, unless you count Irish singer-guitarist Nigel Mooney, whose website seems to suggest that he's a blues performer with jazz influences. (With regard to the notion of bringing an Irishman to St. Louis to play the blues, you can insert your own "coals to Newcastle" reference as you see fit.)

* Meanwhile, the Bluesweek festival, subject of much recent controversy stemming from organizers' decision to leave the streets of downtown for the Chesterfield Amphitheater, will take place Saturday, May 24 and Sunday, May 25 with Otis Clay and Ronnie Baker Brooks as headliners, plus a number of ad hoc combinations of St. Louis blues players and singers as support acts. The jazz content for 2014 will be supplied by funk/jazz quartet Good 4 The Soul, who will perform on Saturday afternoon with singer Denise Thimes and saxophonist Jim Stevens as special guests.

* The list of special releases for Record Store Day 2014 is out, and while rock continues to predominate, there will be new and reissued records this year in a variety of genres including jazz, as well as one item of particular local interest: Donny Hathaway Live At The Bitter End 1971, a live show by the singer, songwriter, keyboardist and former St. Louisan that has never been issued before on vinyl.

* Speaking of records, the Miles Davis news this week is all about the promotional push for the release of the trumpeter's latest posthumous box set, Miles Davis at the Fillmore 1970: The Bootleg Series Vol. 3. Fans can listen to an online stream of three of the Fillmore CDs via an app on on Davis' Facebook page, and iTunes has launched a curated Miles Davis artist page, including albums mastered specially for iTunes plus videos, books and more. New articles about Davis in Esquire and SPIN also feature online streams of sample cuts from the box set.

* And speaking of Davis, the latest blog entry from The Bad Plus' Ethan Iverson gets historical to take issue with a biographer who suggests that Miles had a strained relationship with Louis Armstrong.

*Jazz radio update: This Saturday on Radio Arts Foundation-St. Louis' "Somethin' Else," host Calvin Wilson will spin jazz interpretations of the songs of Jimmy Van Heusen by artists including singer-trumpeter Chet Baker, saxophonist Lee Konitz, singer Rickie Lee Jones, and more.

After that, there's a new episode of The Jazz Collective, in which host Jason Church will spin music from Boney James, Nick Colionne, U-Nam, Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, John Klemmer, Bob James, Tim Cunningham, Jesse Gannon, Tommy Halloran and Dawn Weber.

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

Last but not least, though we don't have a playlist for the whole show, singer Joe Mancuso tells StLJN that music from his debut release Cut to the Chase will air on an upcoming episode of "Jazz Unlimited," which can be heard at 9:00 p.m. Sundays on KWMU (90.7 FM) and online at

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