Saturday, September 27, 2014

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Fall 2014 jazz preview, part 5

This week, we finally wrap up StLJN's multi-part video preview of visiting jazz and creative music performers coming to St. Louis this fall. (You can see parts one through four here, here, here and here.)

As the Christmas and New Year's holidays approach, the month of December here in St. Louis usually has relatively few shows from touring jazz musicians, and this year is no exception. Sadly, the number was further reduced earlier this month with the death of pianist Joe Sample, who had been scheduled to play at Jazz at the Bistro the week before Christmas. Jazz St. Louis has not yet named a replacement performer for that week, though some sort of announcement should be coming soon. So, to fill out this week's post, we're going to offer some additional videos related to what should be one of the most noteworthy concerts of the entire season.

First though, up top we get things started with a clip featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco, who will be returning to perform Wednesday, December 3 through Saturday, December 6 at the Bistro. DeFrancesco has been a frequent visitor to the venue in recent years, both as the leader of his own group and in support of David Sanborn. Given that he's releasing his first Christmas album, Home For The Holidays, next month, it seems likely that some of that material will be featured during his St. Louis dates.

Here, though, he's seen playing "At Long Last Love" earlier this year at the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia, assisted by drummer George Fludas and, interestingly, Chicago guitarist Jeff Parker (who's known more for experimental and "post-rock" music with his own band Tortoise and others than as a player in the typical organ-trio style.) Though there's been no mention yet of who will be playing with DeFrancesco here this time around, both Fludas and Parker are featured on the holiday album, too, so perhaps they'll end up being part of the subsequent live dates supporting it.

After the jump, the rest of today's videos are related to the previously-touted-as-noteworthy concert, a duo performance by multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell and keyboardist Craig Taborn that will be presented by New Music Circle on Friday, December 5 at The Stage at KDHX.

As a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell was a key player in the "free jazz" movement of the 1960s, and since then has continued both to refine his craft and expand his musical landscape, drawing on compositional ideas and techniques associated with classical and new music as well as improvisation.

Taborn, who's from Minneapolis, is one of the most critically acclaimed keyboard players of his generation, working with major musicians like Dave Holland and Chris Potter and deploying distinct styles on acoustic piano and Rhodes electric piano.

Taborn has played here a couple of times recently, with Potter and Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker, but Mitchell - a musician of major importance in jazz history - hasn't played publicly here in a very long time. (There was at least one Art Ensemble gig here in the mid-1980s, and more recently, in 1996 Mitchell did some work with the St. Louis Public Schools, though I don't recall any public performances being advertised and an online search turns up nothing.) Suffice it to say, then, that while two top improvisers working together should offer plenty of sonic rewards, the relative rarity of Mitchell gigs here should make the evening even more special. 

Unfortunately, although Mitchell and Taborn have collaborated a few times before, there seems to be no video available available online, so instead we'll take a look at each man playing solo.

You can see Mitchell, first on alto saxophone and then on soprano, in two videos recorded in 2010 at the Nickelsdorf Konfrontationen festival in Austria. That's followed by a video interview with Mitchell, who currently serves as the Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

As for Taborn, you can check him out in two solo piano sets, the first recorded in 2013 at the Jazz Jantar festival in Gdansk, Poland and the second in 2010 at a concert in Spain.

You can see the rest of today's videos after the jump...

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