Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Jazz this week: John Pizzarelli, Esfoma,
The Cunninghams, a tribute to Charles Mingus, Bad Luck, and more

Autumn is definitely in the air in St. Louis, and it's looking like a fine weekend to get out and hear some live jazz and creative music. Here's a look at some of the most noteworthy performances coming up over the next few days...

Tonight, singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli opens a four-night engagement continuing through Saturday at Jazz at the Bistro. The longtime St. Louis favorite has a new band for this visit, still featuring his brother Martin on bass, but also including two new members, pianist Konrad Paszkudzki and drummer Kevin Kanner. For some samples of Pizzarelli in action, check out this video post, made before his four-night run with his dad, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, last year at the Bistro, and this one from before his 2012 gig at the club. 

Also tonight, Esfoma, an improvising ensemble led by pianist Greg Mills, will perform at Tavern of Fine Arts. Mills played out and recorded frequently from the late 1970s through the 1990s as a solo pianist and with the duo Exiles, but has kept a low public profile of late. He'll be accompanied on this gig by percussionist Henry Claude, cellist Tracy Andreotti, poet Michael Castro, saxophonist Dave Stone, and fellow pianist David Parker.

Tomorrow night, bassist Bob DeBoo leads a group playing the music of Charles Mingus in a free concert for the Jazz at Holmes series at Washington University; singer Denise Thimes will perform in her tenth annual show raising funds for pancreatic cancer research at the Sheldon Concert Hall; and the Gaslight Cabaret Festival resumes with Antonio Rodriguez performing his show "Memories, Mistakes and Moving On" at the Gaslight Theater

On Friday, the Gaslight Cabaret Festival continues with singer and pianist Steve Ross, who will present his show "An Evening with Steve Ross" at the Gaslight Theater. Once called "the suavest of all male cabaret performers" by the New York Times, Ross will repeat the show again on Saturday.

Also on Friday, Second Generation Swing plays for dancers at the Casa Loma Ballroom; singer Joe Mancuso fronts a quartet at Nathalie's; and the The People's Key play the house concert venue KindaBlue, located at 6101 1/2 Idaho on the south side. Elsewhere around town, Miss Jubilee will be swinging at Prasino in St. Charles; guitarist Brian Vaccaro's trio will host a jam session at The Wolf in Ballwin; and Midwest Jazz-tette will play West Coast-style "cool" jazz at the Cigar Inn in Belleville.

On Saturday, the Seattle-based drum and saxophone duo Bad Luck will perform a late-afternoon show at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Regarded as one of the top experimental, improvising pairs in their hometown, drummer Chris Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch use live audio loops and digital effects to augment and enhance their sound.

Then on Saturday evening, vocal duo The Cunninghams will be in town from their home in Las Vegas to play at the Ozark Theater. Former St. Louisan Don Cunningham and his wife Alicia (pictured) have a long and fascinating history in the music business, some of which is detailed in this post from last Saturday and the accompanying linked material. But you don't need a lesson to enjoy their music, which features closely harmonized vocals, in the style of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross or the Manhattan Transfer, with accents of Latin jazz and exotica.

Also on Saturday, singer Erin Bode is at Nathalie's; singers Feyza Eren and Ayse Eren, aka the Eren Sisters, and guitarist Dave Black will be at The Wine Press; the Ann Dueren Trio returns to Il Bel Lago; and the Funky Butt Brass Band will be back at the Broadway Oyster Bar.

On Sunday morning, The Sidemen will be filling in providing music for the jazz brunch this week at Evangeline's, and later on that day, Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play a matinee at BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups.

Looking beyond the weekend, on Monday the jazz faculty of Webster University will present their annual TKT Scholarship Benefit Concert at Winifred Moore Auditorium on campus. The event raises money for music scholarships in the names of Terry Jackson, Kirk Cappello and Tony Saputo, three musicians and Webster alumni who were killed in a 1991 plane crash along with five other members of country singer Reba McEntire's road band. This year's theme is "Jazz Interpretations of the Music of Jule Styne," paying tribute to the composer of songs such as "I Fall In Love Too Easily," "The Party's Over" and "People."

Also on Monday, singer Dean Christopher bring his "Rat Pack and More" show with pianist Chris Swan and trumpeter Jim Manley to One 19 North Tapas and Wine Bar; and "Blind" Willie Dineen and the Broadway Collective will return to BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups.

Then on Tuesday, pianist Jim Hegarty will lead a trio at Tavern of Fine Arts; and the weekly Tuesday jam sessions once held at Robbie's House of Jazz have been resurrected, like much of Robbie's other programming, at the Ozark 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.)

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