Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jazz this week: Roy Hargrove, "Holiday Brasstravaganza," Ellington's "Nutcracker,"
a big band murder mystery, and more

For this last week before Christmas, the calendar of jazz and creative music performances in and around St. Louis features the long-overdue return of a top touring trumpeter, plus several holiday-themed shows and some other special presentations from local performers. Let's go to the highlights....

Wednesday, December 17
Trumpeter Roy Hargrove returns to Jazz at the Bistro to begin his first St. Louis gig as a leader in more than a decade.

When he last played here, Hargrove (pictured) already had recorded several well-regarded albums of hard-bop-inspired sounds and was tagged as a rising star. Since then, he's gained a good deal of additional recognition for leading groups influenced by Latin-jazz (the Grammy-winning Crisol) and funk (RH Factor), but during his four nights in St. Louis, Hargrove will be fronting a quintet playing in a more straight-ahead style.

For more about what Hargrove's been up to, and some video samples of his quintet performing earlier this year on tour in Europe, see this post from a couple of Saturdays ago.

Also on Wednesday, singer Tony Viviano presents his "Christmas in St. Louis" show at Vito's in the Valley; the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra plays at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company; Cabaret Project St. Louis will hold their monthly "Open Mic Night" at the Tavern of Fine Arts: and Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes will play at The Feasting Fox.

Thursday, December 18
Miss Jubilee plays an early show at the Blues City Deli; guitarist Tom Byrne and singer Erika Johnson will pair up at Evangeline's; and guitarist Dave Black will be joined by a rhythm section and guest vocalist at Nathalie’s.

Friday, December 19
The Funky Butt Brass Band will present the first of two nights of their sixth annual "Holiday Brasstravaganza" at Off Broadway, featuring a long list of guest performers and various seasonal hijinks.

Also on Friday, the St. Louis Big Band adds a theatrical element to their usual program of danceable swing and pop, staging an retro-themed, audience-participation "murder mystery" at Casa Loma Ballroom; and singer and multi-instrumentalist Alan Ox pays tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes with his show "Straight-Up, A Shot of Sinatra" at the Sheldon Concert Hall, backed by pianist  Dave Venn, drummer Miles Vandiver, bassist Dave Troncoso, and Dave Black on guitar.

Saturday, December 20
Trumpeter Jim Manley duets with guitarist Randy Bahr at One 19 North Tapas and Wine Bar.

Sunday, December 21
The Ambassadors of Swing perform at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 10126 E Watson; and BB's Jazz, Blues & Soups has a double bill with singer/guitarist Tommy Halloran playing the matinee, and percussionist Joe Pastor and the Legacy Jazz Band taking the night shift.

Monday, December 22
The Jazz St. Louis Big Band, stocked with many alumni of the jazz program at SIUE, will present Duke Ellington’s famous arrangement of Tchaikovsky's “Nutcracker” along with other selected Ellington favorites at Jazz at the Bistro. The show is one set only, but if you can't make it on Monday, you should know that the program also will be repeated on Tuesday.. The program repeats on Tuesday, and while tickets for the first sets are nearly sold out, there are seats remaining for the second sets on both nights.

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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