This week's menu of jazz and creative music offerings in St. Louis includes a number of special events, most notably the annual Miles Davis Jazz Festival in Alton, plus the long-awaited return of one of the more popular female vocalists in jazz.
That would be singer Jane Monheit, who's back in St. Louis to perform in a four-night engagement beginning this evening and continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro.
It's Monheit's first visit here since 2010 and this time, her show has a theme, "Celebrating the Jazz of Judy Garland." Though Garland wasn't known specifically as a jazz performer, the catalog of songs she recorded, ranging from uptempo numbers like "Get Happy" to ballads like "The Man That Got Away," certainly offers ample opportunities for Monheit and her trio to stretch out and explore emotional and musical nuances.
For more about what else Monheit has been up to since her last visit here, and some video samples from recent performances, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.
On Friday, Chicago's Tammy McCann, an alumna of Ray Charles' Raelettes who's also been working recently with Kurt Elling's former pianist Laurence Hobgood, will perform at Robbie's House of Jazz. Hobgood won't be on this gig, though, as McCann will be backed by a quartet including Tom Vaitsas (piano), John Sutton (bass), Sam Jewel (drums), and St. Louis' own Eric Slaughter on guitar.
On Saturday, the 2014 edition of the annual Miles Davis Jazz Festival takes place at the Jacoby Arts Center in Davis' birthplace of Alton, Illinois. This year's headliner is trumpeter Russell Gunn(pictured), the former East St. Louisan whose variegated catalog of recordings includes one explicitly paying tribute to Davis, as well as several albums of electric music that reflect some of the spirit of Davis' later years. Saxophonist Fred Walker and prog-rock band Locrian Manor are the supporting acts.
Then on Tuesday, Laubrock, Rainey and drummer Tyler Damon will be the visiting performers taking part in NMC's final concert of the season, aka the "New Music Circle Showcase," at the William A Kerr Foundation, 21 O'Fallon St on Laclede's Landing. Also joining in will be St. Louis guitarist Chris Trull and electronic musicians Kevin Harris and NNN Cook. For a look at and listen to the visitors improvising in various situations, check out this video post from last Saturday.
(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.)